Thursday, June 20, 2013

Baudrillard and PRISM

What would Jean Baudrillard say about PRISM?

He observed how we are blending into the digital world. If PRISM, in the most extreme (mis)characterization, were storing all our digital expressions (phone calls, emails, chats, private files stored in the cloud, ...), what would this mean?

Some people fear that a government agency might use PRISM data against them: a criminal investigation or an IRS audit based based on someone in the government's dislike of what's in there. Fines or prison time could await them.

Some see PRISM as a valuable tool in preventing attacks like 9-11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. PRISM saves lives.

Ironically, it is only the government through laws that can protect us from the use of data by private companies to harm us. In the Tea Party, Republican nirvana of limited government, the most powerful corporations (insurance companies, for example) would be the masters of our data and the controllers of our lives.

All good points.

I think Baudrillard would have taken PRISM in stride. A love-hate reaction: We need PRISM, and we need to both trust and mistrust the government at the same time. But keep PRISM in perspective together with what private corporations do with our data. He would see through PRISM clearly and evenly.