Company town + Internet of Things + Drones = total surveillance of remote mine workers


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/09/company-town-internet-of-thi.html


#2

ALL contracts are negotiable.

I think it is unlikely to put the cheap surveillance genie back in the bottle. The best hope is to democratize the technology. But on the street level, people are really reluctant to do so even as they themselves are increasingly being subjected to it. Why not bug your own law enforcement? Or have drones track your boss? The reason that it is such a horrible game is because a shadowy faux-elite use it to exploit the masses. But the tech is cheap enough that many people could use similar means against them.


#3

There is an excellent Radiolab story about this very thing, applied to warfare and then crime fighting. It was only a matter of time. Rio Tinto may as well say “If you don’t like the drones, please use these tracking implants.”


#4

The trouble is that sciencia potestatis est only interdum.

Your employer, or the state, or similar is almost certain to be in a better position to do unto you than you are to do unto them; and (as we have seen all too frequently with police shootings, egregious fraud, etc.) even incontrovertible evidence is converted into penalties at markedly different exchange rates for different people.

If The Man is up to something so egregious as to be totally impossible to placate even the loyalists, then your sousveillance capabilities might actually ruin their day. Unfortunately, that level of egregious tends to be pretty damn high. The standards will not be so high when it comes to rightsizing the human resources.

This isn’t to say that evidence isn’t better than invisibility; but unless you have a commendably low-impunity environment, even perfectly symmetric surveillance capabilities will weigh heavier on the lower rungs of the totem pole than on the higher ups.


#5

If we continue to trend toward these digital Pottersvilles, in 20 years “privacy” will be a product in the Williams-Sonoma catalogue.


#6

Their “position” is only that of being organized, which people who greatly outnumber them stubbornly refuse to even attempt to do. Anybody is in a better position than those who refuse to even try.

You seem to be putting forth the notion of evidence as an appeal to some authority in a hierarchical society. But I mean using it as directly actionable data.

Asymmetrical data is how the power hierarchies you point out are created and maintained. The data coupled with social organization IS the crude totem pole you are referring to. I am more likely to agree with you when/if I see people try and fail to track their employers, or storm their police department. Meanwhile one side plans and acts, and the other merely complains.


#7

Nobel Peace Prize winner lyrics:

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more Well, he puts his cigar Out in your face just for kicks His bedroom window It is made out of bricks The National Guard stands around his door Ah, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more

#8

I agree. And I can see this total surveillance plus robotics/AI removing the administrative and management people completely offsite and in another city or country. Then there will be no higher ups in the area to watch.

The idea of a company town always gave me the creeps. Is it just a modernized feudalism? I’ve not studied it, clearly . . .


#9

I agree with the second part there…but the first is complicated: Rebellions tend to get butchered, after all; and as we’ve seen, protests and petitions achieve very little in the face of widespread, popular corruption.

So of course people are wary of organizing resistance against injustice. I think in the end, people just have to know they have a chance.

That might very well be the first step, I think.


#10

Apropos of that; guess who still provides “Proactive protection against the ever-changing threat landscape”?

The Pinkertons!


#11

The pinkertons are an interesting company: villainous, in both deed and purpose; that is to say, they tried to corporatize policing.
Besides the whole “goons for hire” thing.

I’ve also read that the pinkertons were also the first group to really pursue serial killers, and map out their behavior, which greatly assisted the formation of the early FBI, back when the FBI gave a shit about the citizenry.


#12

Sod keeping an eye on them when they’re working, imagine what a bunch of aussie miners are like when they finish a three month shift and make it back to somewhere that has alcohol.


#13

People have more than “a chance”, but only if they are pro-active. It seems more likely that they are simply conditioned to accept that others are in charge of them, and that’s an educational problem. Does anybody really believe that the management of the average company would prevail if the workers were organized against them?

I don’t despair over knowing that a small population strive to oppress the others for their own perceived gain. I hate that but I can understand it. I despair because the 99% are somehow always too gullible or intimidated to do anything about it. I think it again comes back to organization, as if they imagine themselves as a lone person against oppressors instead of with the other oppressed - who usually greatly outnumber those who would prefer to be in charge.


#14

That was a long time ago, and possibly mythical.

As you seem to already know, what we think of as the FBI started with J. Edgar Hoover’s shoe boxes with 6,000 of index cards of personal intelligence about possible “Reds”


The FBI wants you to think they started in 1908,

which is true in a way, but most see the modern FBI as the product of Hoover.


#15

It’ll be just like in the old days when America was “great.”

(I realize this isn’t actually taking place in America, but there’s a song for that too):


#16

Not just alcohol.

The Fly-In/Fly-Out (FIFO) mining towns have major issues with drug use. The employees are almost all young men, they get paid relatively high wages, and there’s fuck-all else to do in the mining camps.


#17

Yeah, it’s sad that a bunch of these steady, boring jobs for young people (though usually guys) just draws in the meth. An in-law dated someone who got hooked on it/heroin/what have you when he was working as a flagger.


#18

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