Writing about the proliferation of camera phones and security cameras, Washington Post columnist Sebastian Mallaby, in Looking Back at Big Brother, says the technology may not be making us much safer but it is creating new forms of checks and balances:
In the future, when a government accuses someone of wrongdoing on the basis of footage from surveillance cameras, that government better get it right. Chances are the same incident will have been captured by private citizens on camera phones, whose manufacturers expect to sell 186 million units this year.
The proliferation of electronic eyes is probably inevitable, but that's no reason to despair. Governments will watch citizens, but citizens will watch back. More likely than not, the balance of power will shift in favor of the citizens, the inverse of Orwell's prophecy.
Link props: The Open Society Paradox