Practice Op-Ed — morra2024

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” are enduring words that could not be seemingly truer in today’s developing Facial Recognition Software-based surveillance mass states; except that the emotionally appealing quotation of Benjamin Franklin’s words is taken out of context and unfairly used in anti-tracking technologies arguments. Facial Recognition Software is an insignificant threat; a mere symptom of another bigger underlying disease. If properly articulated, the actual fear of the public is an omniscient calcified totalitarian government.

Due to its improperly defined nature, the fear of emerging tracking software causes  chaotic fearful public overreactions, proving that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Attempts to oppose said software/technologies, caused by “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror,” by a general population of hedonistic novelty-seeking screen-addicts are all but hypocritical. We divulge more information than we are aware of, with our consumerist culture only aggravating this problem. At least half of Americans do not know which data exactly privacy policies of primitive applications get to keep; and the more sophisticated the software, e.g. FRS , the deeper it can understand us, oftentimes knowing is better than we know ourselves.

Theoretically, even a mass-surveillance state is of no major significance, provided there is no misuse of this power. Anti-totalitarianism preventive measures ought to be taken, lest we suffer the fate of the fabled boiling frog and end up with Orwell’s “Big Brother” watching us. Hence, necessary steps in controlling chaotic fear are effectively ensuring public technological literacy, as well as preventing the government’s rule from calcifying by answering the question, “Who will guard the guards?”

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