It seems there may be some benefits to a surveillance society. Global Voices Online (a Harvard-based project to highlight "citizen media" in every region of the world) has linked to a post by Malaysian blogger Sameer Padania, about the use of cell phone cameras to document police corruption.

Given the ubiquity of both cell phones and corruption in so many developing societies, this seems to be a positive and possibly sustainable means of using the first to curtail the latter. Of course, we all remember the Rodney King beating; to work, the approach requires at least some level of official support (kudos to Malaysian police officials).

Still, this presents a tool for citizen oversight that I'm not sure many would have anticipated - at least in the developing world (conventional video is still fairly expensive). Fascinating.

P.S. Neither cell phones nor corruption are limited to the developing world, of course. While this approach might also help us to curtail abuses of power here, we also need to ensure that we are actually empowered to conduct such oversight.

No comments: