While traveling on the train recently I sat across a lady who was pretty happy about herself. She looked like she was right wing, conservative. She was fiddling with an Iphone taking pictures and could have taken a picture of me. We started to talk and somehow I got the feeling she knew more about me than could be expected or deduced from my appearance.
1 billion indians iris scanned, now subjected to whomever gains power.
We live in an age where your phone can understand what you are saying, where a picture can be analized on the fly and matched across a global database. She could have taken my picture, used some face recognition app, linked that to a database she was subscribed to which would have gotten her my CV and perhaps other data that employers may share and tell nobody else about. This sounds like an example of unmentioned cooperation, but social networks exist exactly to make sure one can know more about the people one is dealing with than without such network. This knowledge can be used for good or for bad. What if it is used for politics?
Automatic systems can keep intimate details about your person and make it available based on face recognition
It is easy to imagine an app that on the one hand recognizes certain individuals, ideally those wich are political opponents, and which has a collection of topics to engage a person, either to support them or to discourage them. This is not a new thing, CRM systems are used in every company and they don’t just register the email and phone numbers of clients (at least not if they are any good). The bigger the network the harder it becomes to keep track of every individuals preferences, the more usefull an automated system becomes.
What if google adds data is used to indstruct people you meet in gatherings, who you think are random people you have a random conversation with. If you have your location data switched on and there is some data available on you then it is easy to organize a chance encounter, say with someone that drives a Volvo and talks about it. The payoff of this type of persuation can be significant and worth it. Commercially the salesforce can be moveing outside the companies, not even be allied or employed by one. Of course we have seen this with celebrities tweeting stuff, or with soccer players like David Beckham which will now make us all wear the same boring and cheap to manufacture black jacket.
In the political arena this development takes on a different feel, because when it is about power knowledge of the opponent is all one needs to defeat him or her. The power of politics lies in the distribution of intent over large groups of people. You may be able to tackle one, but the others will still keep pushing. In fact the whole reason why there are political parties is to preserve intent and to ensure its force is concentrated in the right place at the right time (that this also means politics is easily bribed and hijacked may also add to the desire to have a ‘party line’). But what if every member of the party can know you and your affiliation and be instructed to behave such that you are discouraged from persuing your desire to change society?
Keeping data about private lives becomes an act of terrorism
The internet and artificial intelligence combined with mobile platforms makes it possible to create social environments for specific individuals that might devestate them. In this game the side with the best data and funds to create it’s ‘agents’ wins. Clearly that is the liberal, fossil-banking side. The Trump side so to say. The game is one of attrition, and the less real resistance there is the better. How can we protect our society against such determined and easy to realize political strife? The one thing that becomes of paramount importance is privacy. The right to know who knows about you and who keeps what records about you. Privacy invasion can become the new terrorism, because keeping records on a person can be viewed as preparation of any type of attack, just like taking photo’s or video of a building.
Ultimately, as the environment deteriorates further and we are forced to become more local oriented to sustain ourselves, this problem will become moot. Before that happens though the fossil/banking system will be the main perpetrator of private data abuse and ‘augmented’ politics because it has the means to fund and bribe its army (with fossil fuel based wealth/money). It does so as we speak in the campaings of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, it does so as it pays $40 million to reduce EU climate targets etc. etc. So how much for a motivated party loyal to remind you of something that makes you unhappy at a place and time you least expect it?
Encryption will make it harder to hunt down private and intimate data that can be abused because one can build an app that has the key to otherwise highly encrypted data stored f.i. in images online. The app gets the image, decrypts it and has all the data on a person, but nobody can detect by looking at the image what data it contains.