Daily Post 1452


The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman published in 2005 brought this new concept to the world, that digital technology facilitated by internet provides the same knowledge resources across the globe. This connotes that people from all regions, given all the disparities, have access to growth using these resources. Conversely, nobody anywhere is put to any disadvantage. Sometimes it is also celebrated by stating that Geography has become History. World that flattened then has gone into a different mode now with COVID-19, where nearly all regular human activity has converged in the home on a laptop. In the meantime surveillance got into the Cyber lingo and continues to make waves.

World is an ever moving goal post of concepts. Concepts which are brought to reality and that is what all of us live. However much we talk of free will, it is very difficult to really quantify free will. Hyper connectivity and social media changed the rules of the game completely. A dopamined world has its own issues. With the smart phone, its apps and e-commerce, all merged into one with every keystroke / data being stored and processed, the world got completely transformed. The data being generated would be even unimaginable for even Stasi, the infamous surveillance police of the East German era. Surveillance in different form has now slowly covered nearly everybody, who has been using social media, smart phones and normal mobiles to different degrees.

This is what is called the Surveillance Capitalism of our times. The social media and e-commerce behemoth’s meticulous handling of data in all its forms and stages has transformed their understanding of the user and customer. They have also developed a capability to predict and also immense capability to manipulate. Immersion became the name of the game. The enterprise knows the man better than he knows himself. The tools used made him a puppet in their hands, while advertisers keep filling the coffers, as eyeballs were being dictated. Governments were not to be left behind, all forms of surveillance and enforcement came on to this mode. Elint and sigint gained prominence.

In general civilian governance surveillance started playing a role the world over, the humungous data bases and on it big data analytics and AI did the trick. Why should surveillance not become flat? The user / customer / citizen is at the receiving end of it all. Flat surveillance is the digital capability to have same level of surveillance over the business enterprises and the govt. Why crash commercialisation and surveillance only from one side. Without this tool citizen activism and right to information remains at a very superficial level. Flat surveillance can make IT / social media / e-commerce enterprises and governments way more accountable. Transparency would perforce bring fairness and that would automatically usher accountability. Rule of law does not allow for different rules of the game.


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