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07 septembre 2008

Your Cameraphone: a Harbinger of a Massive Social Transformation

WorldChanging Team, September 4, 2008

This article was written by Jamais Cascio in May of 2005. We're republishing it here as part of our month-long editorial retrospective.

This week, I spoke at the first MeshForum conference, held in Chicago. The following is an adaptation of my talk, which adapts some earlier material with some new observations. Fair warning: it's a long piece. I look forward to your comments. (...)

Even if the term sousveillance is recent, the action isn't. An early well-known sousveillance effort -- long pre-dating the term -- is the Witness project. Founded in 1992 by musician Peter Gabriel, Witness has partnered with over 200 human rights groups in 50 countries, supplying video cameras and communication gear to allow people on the scene to document abuses of human rights. Witness attempts to create pressure for change by shining a light on injustice around the world. These are remarkably brave people. If the worst sousveillance supporters in the US may face is being escorted out of a department store, the worst Witness activists might face is torture and death.

But the Witness cameras stand alone; their only connection is via the hand delivery of video tape.

Things change when you can send your exposé over the Internet. Speed and breadth of access are the best allie for transparency, and the Internet has both in abundance. Once damning photos or video have been released onto the web, there's no bringing them back -- efforts to do so are more likely to draw attention to them, in fact. (...)

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