A growing collection of apps are allowing us to record and report on each other for every perceived slight and petty offense. It's a departure from the surveillance state long promised by dystopian fiction; smartphone apps that crowdsource parking violations, noise complaints, or "suspicious activity" are encouraging us to build surveillance communities.
Where We're Seeing It
The Unsettling Rise of the Urban Narc App
"'There’s been this cultural shift of normalizing that it’s OK to be taking photos and videos of other people in public,' said Rachel Thomas, the founding director of the Center for Applied Data Ethics at the University of San Francisco’s Data Institute."
CityLab, August 2019
The Rise of Fear-Based Social Media Like Nextdoor, Citizen, and Now Amazon’s Neighbors
"Of course, unjustified fear, nosy neighbors, and the neighborhood watch are nothing new. But the proliferation of smart homes and smart devices is putting tools like cameras and sensors in doorbells, porches, and hallways across America."
Vox, May 2019
The Porch Pirate of Potrero Hill
"Currently, 17 percent of American homeowners have a smart video surveillance device, and unit sales are expected to double by 2023. The popularity of these devices has led to the 'porch pirate gotcha' film genre, a sort of America’s Funniest Home Videos of petty crime."
The Atlantic, November 2019
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