masking your identity

newsy reports today how us homeland security is working on and already using a program called “boss” which effectively collects different pictures of all angles of your face, be it from a drivers license, a facebook snapshot or a camera footage anywhere in the world. not only does this news make hollywood movies like bourne seem more and more realistic, but it also rises some concerns about the validity and trustworthiness of the program. as it has been reported as well, the system does still have big flaws with data accuracy to really match any intelligence watch-list.

these obvious concerns apart, the thought can be carried further. it is indeed of of human’s best and worst qualities to always be able to find a new solution to a problem or a situation at hand. knowing about camera surveillance and the way these programs operate makes it, for whoever is actually planning something big/bad, easier to get around them. but let’s consider that the majority is not specialized and trained like the jason bourne character, there is still a mass production of v for vendetta- guy fawkes masks currently on the run and even the smallest criminal can use them – or any other mask as a matter of fact.

and this is exactly the point where my own opinion parts. on the one hand i do understand and agree on the fact that a certain amount of freedom of action should be given to the people, including the right to rebel and act out peacefully or if worse comes to worse even violently (they did not win the french revolution with a smile, did they?) against a government. and if this is not possible due to the easy recognition of an identity, people might just put on a mask to be able to say their opinion out loudly, to protest in a community or to rebel against a government. yet, on the other hand, it is exactly this anonymity of a mask that also inspires people to go further than they might go if they were easily recognized. hiding behind a mask can have a very empowering feeling, making you believe that you are above the law, since your actions cannot be (easily) traced back to your person.

yet, if the mask is this dual sided sword, where can we, the people, the citizens, the heart of democracy, get trained to be another jason bourne?

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