Deep in the misty past I’ve written about the “little risks” of the pervasive surveillance state — it’s not so likely that federal door-kickers are going to come ’round looking for the Jews in your basement, but vastly more likely that your grudge-holding ex will stalk you via government database. Given the right circumstances, most people can be pushed into vicious, vindictive behaviour, and as Leviathan rolls on it hires more and more “most people” and gives them depressing amounts of power, access, and authority.
Eric Crampton highlights another risk of ubiquitous surveillance:
- When a scam comes together (Offsetting Behaviour)
New Zealand’s finest are warning the users of adult websites the scam, which interrupts a users web session, has nothing to do with them.
The message featuring the police logo appears on their computer screen saying they have been fined for using the x-rated site and need to enter banking details and pay an instant fine.
Police have received a handful of calls about the scam from people believing the message is from them.
Leaving aside the psychological dimension of sex-shaming and secrecy that enables this sort of scam, it simply wouldn’t work if the idea of the police monitoring everyone’s web traffic were preposterous. (Which it is, for the nonce, for logistical reasons if nothing else.) But of course Serious People have been discussing sweeping and secret state surveillance powers for years now.