The Reluctant Technophobe – Panopticons, Prisms & Xbone.

So. Just this quote, because of the news coming out about the massive surveillance society we have willingly embraced  and the fact that everyone is being watched by everyone at all times and on top of all of that Microsoft want us to have an always on camera in our homes that records everything that we do:

“He thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them. With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking. . . . Facts, at any rate, could not be kept hidden. They could be tracked down by inquiry, they could be squeezed out of you by torture. But if the object was not to stay alive but to stay human, what difference did it ultimately make? They could not alter your feelings; for that matter you could not alter them yourself, even if you wanted to. They could lay bare in the utmost detail everything that you had done or said or thought; but the inner heart, whose workings were mysterious even to yourself, remained impregnable.

George Orwell, 1984

Except with the Xbone the inner heart isn’t impregnable because the new, more sensitive kinect, can measure your heart rate and by extension your stress levels.

We are welcoming awful things into our homes. Let us not do this thing. Especially given what we have already conceded.

I am certainly being paranoid but that does not mean that my warning holds no merit and should not be listened to.

Published by

The Sleepcoat League

Armchair anthropologist, sometime scribe, freelance philosopher, amateur artist, part-time poet, musical maven, alliteration aficionado.

2 thoughts on “The Reluctant Technophobe – Panopticons, Prisms & Xbone.”

  1. You could always stick a piece of tape over it.. but yeah I think these concerns are a bit overstated. What’s the government going to gain by spying on a bunch of 14 year olds aying call of duty? Who are they gonna hire to monitor all of this stuff? Where are they gonna store this massive amount of video information, and how would they begin to go through the millions if not billions of hours of video?


    1. I think you’re probably right but even 14 year olds should have some expectation of privacy whilst playing Call of Duty in their own homes, don’t you think?

      Also the average age of gamers is in the mid-thirties and has been for some years now. The Xbox and kinect are a very family directed piece of hardware, expected to link up all entertainment needs in the family home. To paraphrase Nixon, we’re all gamers now. Yes, I really just did that.

      So how about these for some possible answers to your questions, whether you wanted them or not:

      – They don’t need people to monitor everything simply people to analyse the collected data. This is something they already do with the data that they do collect.
      – As for storing it all storage gets cheaper all the time and they do have a rather fine facility in Utah that has had a couple of mentions on the news in recent days. Storing meta-data which is what the lovely new Xbox would be doing anyway in order to improve user experience does not take up a lot of space and in many ways would be more useful, from a surveillance perspective, than video footage.
      – It would seem the best way to go through all of that information would be in the same way they go through audio and emails now – the use of algorithms that pick up “suspicious” behaviour, which would of course be whatever they deem as suspicious. Then analysts take a deeper look at what the algorithms have focused on.

      Now I’m not saying that any of this is happening or is going to happen but I think these are reasonable answers to your reasonable questions

      I just think that what few freedoms and rights we have are hard won and history, great teacher that it is, shows us can be easily lost by degrees or suddenly in the middle of the night.

      Having said that I think it’s time for one more game of Hip Hip Dance Experience before the jackboots of oppression come and kick down my door… 🙂


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