Human Extinction and Farsighted Universal Surveillance

Human Extinction and Farsighted Universal Surveillance

Mark Walker (Department of Philosophy, New Mexico State University, La Cruces, NM, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/jte.2012100102
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Abstract

This paper bridges the dilemma created by intrusive surveillance technologies needed to safeguard people’s security, and the potential negative consequences such technologies might have on individual privacy. The author begins with a brief review of the increasing threat to human life posed by emerging technologies, e.g., genetic engineering and nanotechnology. Next, they canvass a potential technological means to mitigate some of this threat, namely, ubiquitous microscopic sensors. The author then notes that a consequence of the deployment of such technology appears to be an erosion of personal privacy on a scale hitherto unimaginable. It is then argued that many details of an individual’s private life are actually irrelevant for security purposes, and that it may be possible to develop technology to mask these details in the data gleaned from surveillance devices. Such a development could meet some, perhaps many, of the concerns about privacy. It is also argued that if it is possible to use technology to mask personal information this may actually promote the goal of security, since it is conjectured that the public is likely to be more willing to accept such invasive technology if it is designed to mask such details. Finally, some applications to Society’s current uses of surveillance technology are drawn.

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