In the popular TV drama “Person of Interest”, Finch, one of the leading roles of this drama, invented a surveillance machine for the government, based on the resources from tens of thousands of cameras, it can locates anyone, moreover, it can think, by analysing those images and videos, it can make prediction and lead our heroes to prevent bad things from happening, it’s as omniscient as god, fortunately, it’s controlled by good guys.
This series is successful not only because the story setting, but also because the ethical approach about surveillance, is it legal or ethical to surveillance the citizens in the name of efficiency and security? It’s not a secret that governments strengthened the surveillance over public after 911, especially after the Snowden leaks, we are exposed to a constant stream of revelation about how governments use technology to spy upon us, actually, we can’t avoid surveillance in the modern world, there are cameras everywhere, offices, schools, shopping malls, even our phones are assembled with GPS, RFID chips, we are nowhere to hide, some people objects current situation, but as we can see, sometimes we need surveillance, videos captured by cameras can be evidence in disputes, and those chips can improve the user experience of our phones, we are willing to be inspected.
How can we find our place under this ubiquitous surveillance? First of all I think, is to strengthen our awareness, next time when you begin an action, think about it, is it related to privacy compromise? If yes, who has the access to it? Am I willing to undertake this risk? Do I have another option? For example, most of the search engines will gather our information when we use them, if you feel uncomfortable about it, you can head to the settings to see if there is an option to close it, or you can just shift to DuckDuckGo, a search engine that dosen’t track you.^^Maybe we can learn more about how to suivive from surveillance in the 4th season of Person of Interest, in which the machine is on the wrong side, and our force for good has to hide from it.