INESS podcast s riaditeľom britskej Libertarian Alliance Dr. Seanom Gabbom na tému štátne špehovanie/ INESS podcast episode on state surveillance with Dr. Sean Gabb of Libertarian Alliance (United Kingdom)
Roger C. Hereford reviews this talk as follows:
Another illuminating speech from “Dr. Seanom Gabbom”!
You are correct that the modern threat of a police state is a different one from the classic stereotypes of the mid-20th century. The First World authoritarianism of the early 21st century is less about a conscious imitation of Stalinist regimes and more about the freeing of governments from traditional restraints or accountability. In the information age, they want all the sensitive information they can get, to use as they please.
An especially worrying point you make is the effect that the knowledge of surveillance is likely to have on the national character. As you say, “to be watched is to be controlled”. If people know that their actions are being recorded and are therefore not private, they will naturally modify their behaviour accordingly. The prospect of the free Western European nations becoming populated by obedient conformists, who view individuality of thought and behaviour as a social embarrassment is a thoroughly depressing one.
For that reason, I hope you are right in your essentially optimistic appraisal of the situation we face. When you suggest that ordinary people are able to “watch the watchers” and hold them and their words to account in ways that were impossible even twenty years ago, you highlight an important point. The Internet allows us to fact-check the statements of our rulers, and also to communicate and receive news and information that they would rather we couldn’t. We can film agents of the state in their public duties and post the video on the web.
In a dark and darkening world, the Internet and growing ease of popular communications and information are rays of sunshine that may yet prove to be the saviour of liberty and any kind of civilisation worth having.