NZ Mass Surveillance - My Take On People's Reactions

The news has been quite something this election with the major focus being on "are we under mass surveillance". My take on whether we are, we aren't and what it means to being a Kiwi in today's New Zealand isn't the focus of this post but rather the interesting stances people take when the conversation is brought up.


It seems there are 4 broad responses ...

1: It's evil!

"Our government is being evil, the men in black are everywhere and they should be stopped!"
Ok, it's certainly an unambiguous response and you know where you stand when this is expressed. There are nuances to how this feeling comes out ranging from the "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE A REVOLUTION WITH ME!", through, "Did you know XKeyscore uses packet sniffing to catch not just metadata but IP content' to the, "Hmm, this isn't how I'd expect NZ to behave".

The shouty people do tend to put me off, the technical people are my people and I get it but the majority are the 3rd type - thoughtful but almost always non-action orientated ... unless pushed.

2: Show me the evidence!

"I hear what you're saying but I've just not seen the evidence yet"
I believe this is probably the majority of responses I've heard. It borders on, "Hmm, no what I expect" and "Of course they do". Unfortunately this is also the most insidious of responses as it delays having to think about what it might mean. It's the lazy response because it implies a level of, "Well, it's beyond me" together with energetic approach to making it an SEP ("Someone Elses Problem") which is the quickest way, as Douglas Adams taught us, to make something invisible.


3: Of course!

"Yeah, well that's just to be expected and it's what they've always done!"
This is the second layer of SEP as the implications of mass surveillance are pushed away. Combined with, "If you've nothing to hide then what's the problem" you have an implied OK with it happening but a get-out-clause of, "Oh, well, I never knew it meant THAT!". It is also the apathetic approach to the subject but it's interesting to see how quickly people who say this dive back up through '2' and even '1' when you mention it's real-life application to their children's lives.


4: I'm glad!

"If they didn't look after us then we'd be fucked mate!"
Well at least, like '1' we're in solid ground of knowing where you stand. Every monstrous act around the world is held up as evidence, each successful bust of a terrorist action is used as justification and, "If you're not bad then what's ya fucking issue" is rolled out all the time. These people are equally shouty, technical and sometimes thoughtful.



So there ya go, a broad brush across the responses I have heard when the subject is broached
The best fun is to ensure a type '1' response is reacted to by a type '4' (and vice versa) ... very little understanding, change or learning ever occurs from wither party but it is such fun, such fun.

The most despondent and yet common is either '2' or '3' - and that worries me the most. The level of trust placed in people never met is depressing (seriously, are you a mate of John Key, do you have regular emails correspondence with Edward Snowden?).

As someone I know is wont to say, "People are mostly ghost walking through their lives" and that makes it so so easy for others to manipulate them into believing what anything. This isn't right.

Comments