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Ubiquitous Surveillance versus Journalism

These days walls have ears and eyes. You may have approved an app on your smartphone that takes pictures and listens to you when you don’t know about it. Anyway cell tower info can track your moves even if you have not approved it. Face recognition on street cams can identify you and public transport, Uber and airlines, keep track of you. There seems to be no way to move around unnoticed.

This moving around may or may not have attention of potential political adversaries. Our governments are not homegenous but consists of a group of loosely cooperating institutions all trying to abide by the laws. Companies and interest groups meanwhile are trying to change laws so that they can make more money or protect their members.  Many things go unnoticed simply because there’s nobody to detect them, for example the EPA was stripped under Bush so a lot of environmental crime went unnoticed. Many regulatory institutions are either owned by the industry or completely bought.

In this environment Journalists are under threat. Journalists are no longer independent researchers of the truth, in most cases they play a political role of exposing wrongdoings in a context where desperation is causing all sides to commit crimes. Smearing however is a powerfull tool to herd people to one direction or another, find a good opportunity to smear and you can win a war (and certainly start one). Free journalism is fought from Holland to Turkey, where in Holland you’re not supposed to talk to green, in Turkey you should not insult Erdogan. The issue of insulting Erdogan is used to distract us from more important news.

So on thee one hand your most intimate moments are now recorded and stored, and you have no idea how they can be used against you. For example, you can be invited to talk about new ways to organize society, an organization can be created around you which allows a certain interpretation of your moves and soon enough you can be convicted as a terrorist, if you in fact only had the desire to reduce suffering and create a society more free and just. you on the other hand are supposed to guard privacy and not make photos in public. If you organize to do so and create a counter surveillance organization you will be branded a terrorist sooner or later.

The mistake is that we consider journaism important. It can be, but only politically impacting journalism is, and then the question is how effective is it. First order of business of journaists should be to get a grip on surveillance of themselves and others. In reality a journalist has to write pieces for publication online or elsewhere and follow the current narrative, which is designed to seda and herd the public into a certain mentality. “Putin shows off new weapons” was the news yesterday, but Putin did not show off new weapons at all. What is the problem with Putin wanting to keep the resources he has to himself. What is the problem of the US it wants the EU to excalate a new arms race (which makes no sense at all).

Putin believes in a multipolar world and sadly one powered by fossil fuels, and this is correct and desirable as we transition to renewables (outside Russia). The US meanwhile wants to retina a monopolar system to enrich its banks and secure its own supply of fuels. The current fires in Canada are a major threat to US stability if they result in shutting down tar sands operations. Imagine that happens and at the same time oil from Venzuela and the Middle East stops flowing.

A group of reporters, writing pieces that will expose problems that can be fixed while suggesting a way forward with more renewables to solve tension inducing fossil fuel dependency, more examples of how things could work or news about initiatives of people getting over their desperate state inplementing solutions that server their physical needs, so they don’t sink into some ideological justification to deny others theirs. A state of journalism that is unlicenced, that is not gratefull to be allowed to be first class state propagandist in chief. A transparent view of information, from surveillance by video, wifi, cellphone, payemnt, public transport, and a shut down of it when it serves no public purpose.

We may be to late, our society may have reached a tipping point of inexperience due to the virtula nature of media, people may not be able to care enough in large numbers anymore to see they have an existential interest in keeping things simple, transparent and real. We are certainly driven to more desperation and lack of interest by right wing pro fossil fuels (no solution) politics. Maybe journalisms task is to inspire us towards choosing broadening our experience because it demonstrates to us that what we thought was true was in fact propaganda.



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