We all know the concerns about ubiquitous surveillance:

Ubiquitous surveillance essentially creates an electronic panopticon. This has an unstated corollary that the people must accept a lower probability of success for any revolution against the state. To accept this taking, the people need to be compensated somehow.

Back in 2004, Arnold Kling wrote about needing a Constitution Amendment for Surveillance. I.e. compensating for the taking by increasing public safety and burdening the government with dual oversight (creating a new Security Agency and an independent Audit Agency). Unfortunately, he doesn't emphasize the danger of the default option. We only have to do nothing for the Department of Homeland Security to end up controlling surveillance.

I would further take from the Executive branch the power to pardon surveillance offenses. In our brief 200 years, we have seen criminals pardoned for politically-motivated offenses that average citizens would do hard time for.

What would you ask for in return for accepting Ubiquitous Surveillance? And no snarky acronym remarks, please. ;)

Honestly, I am not interested in such a deal. No increased surveillance. That is what I am interested in. Being in danger is the price we pay for freedom, any compromise of that unacceptable in my view. - Nathan
We necessarily give away some freedoms to participate in a governed society. Not sure I like the idea of pervasive surveillance either, but framing the argument as all or nothing is a little misleading imo (referring to Nathan's comment). - David W
First off, the animations in that video are genius. Secondly -- I think the intuitive (and idealistic) pre-condition for increased surveillance is reciprocal transparency. It's tit-for-tat: if the state gets to monitor us more, we get to monitor the state more. What we're seeing now is the antithesis of that -- the state gets to monitor us more, *and* it gets to classify not only the information that it finds, but the means by which it finds it. A citizen-run independent auditing agency would be the right idea in spirit, but I don't know how you would work it in practice. It couldn't derive either its funding or leadership from the executive branch of government without obvious conflicts of interest. Its function would be to reciprocate the panopticon somehow -- we don't know when the state is looking, and so we behave; the state doesn't know when we're looking, and so it behaves. If that can't (or shouldn't) be realized in practice -- and I'm doubtful that it can (or should) -- or if the state refuses such transparency in the name of "national security", then I agree with Nathan. No deal.
David...Sure, I said no _increased_ surveillance. I was taking your point as a given. - Nathan
Given that the cost of large-scale/global destruction will probably continue to fall, at some point it will not require government-sized finances, but corporate-sized, and then group-sized finances. Restricting and monitoring access to these technologies seems the only solution.... To me, Ubiquitous Surveillance looks like a forgone conclusion, and each of us must know *exactly* what we require in return. -- Patrick
Nathan, my bad, I think I just took your comment to have a stronger meaning than you intended. Personally I'm going with the conclusion that surveillance is inevitable and I'm saving up to buy a scramble suit ;) - David W
Foo -- I forgot to sign my long-ish comment above. My comment wasn't so directed at large-scale destruction (which is getting cheaper) than at large-scale management -- i.e., the type of oversight that you would need to exercise in order to monitor something as huge as "Ubiquitous Surveillance" in the U.S. If we're talking about centrally-managed Ubiquitous Surveillance (e.g., by the executive branch of the federal government), then I think you would need a state-scale citizen group to keep an eye on it, but one that didn't get its funding or power from the executive branch. While it may not be impossible to build such a thing, I'm not sure what it would look like. Para-government agencies like the National Academies of Science might provide a model, except that they don't have quite the same conflict-of-interest concerns. I would hope that reciprocal transparency wouldn't be based on "mutually assured destruction" in the military sense, but a reciprocal right to manage and revoke the privilege of surveillance if abused by either party. -- Liam
I hate to say it, but I agree with David and Patrick. Surveillance is inevitable and we're only going to get more of it. Not, mind you, that I *want* it it that way, but when I talk to people, they see CCTV (for example) as a small price to pay for reduced crime. But I think that "Knowing what we require in return" means nothing, really. I don't have a choice and I cannot mandate what the government will have to do to compensate me. Too, I doubt that there are enough people willing to push back against surveillance to do much of anything. But I'm willing to be surprised. Who is successfully working on a political or legal front to fight this?
"Who is successfully working on a political or legal front to fight this?" Any of us who bother to post comments about it on a web log, I should hope. Write to your representative (on paper, not e-mail) -- that's what they're for. And if you can't be bothered, send a check to the ACLU and let them do it for you . And if you can't be bothered to do that either, then you're probably one of the people not willing to push back. Smile pretty for the camera! -- Liam
Both the EFF and ACLU have done good work (Hepting v. AT&T, ACLU v. NSA, etc.). Successful? I don't know and I don't think we'll know for a bit.... Which leaves us time to influence how this unfolds (all of Liam's ideas look good to me, but you can do what you want, it's a free country. for now...). -- Patrick
Liam's idea of Symmetric Ubiquitous Surveillance works without huge bureaucracy. 1/6 Americans watches C-SPAN, according to http://www.c-span.org/about/pewfindings.asp Add a digg interface to recorded events and we'll get cops farting, but I think we'll catch everything like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g7zlJx9u2E -- Patrick