security vs privacy

its-lily-briscoe  asked:

You know I am very frustrated with Carter's non-reaction to TM's existence, but I came to think that it is just another symptom of the ideological blind spots of POI wrt the surveillance state. I really love this show, especially because it did not take the simplistic "man vs machine" approach on AI, but I have to say that it was not as critical about the "national security vs privacy" issue. Even in POI's own Snowden episode, Peck was urged to look at the "mysteries of human heart", instead of-

-trying to expose the violation of the individual rights of citizens by this surveillance apparatus. Or the whole Vigilance storyline, while being sympathetic towards Collier’s motives, ended up making him Decima’s puppet. And during the entire run of the show, the only time the relevant operations were really criticized was Ctrl-Alt-Del, which ultimately laid the blame on SAM, not on Control or the ISA operatives. So, I cannot imagine a scenario where there is an ideological battle between-

- Carter and Finch on surveillance, and that is a shame because in my opinion, that sort of clash is the only logical consequence of Carter’s characterization. Root criticized Finch for selling TM to “the most laughably corrupt people imaginable”, but it is not a political criticism, because Root’s characterization does not lend itself to the political questions as easily as it does to the challenging of ethical conventions. That sort of political challenge could be brought about only -

- with someone like Carter, and since the show was not interested in this political challenge on the surveillance state, it ended up being a lost opportunity.

Ah I love this ask so much! I completely agree that the show glosses over the ramifications of the govt owning a machine that spies on people everywhere and collects all sorts of confidential data about them, and hence misses some great opportunities to have debates of a different flavour than what we got. There are two different issues that Harold faced while building TM – the first had to do with the state of TM itself and its identity as a being, and the second is the question of whether such a machine should exist in the first place. 

Root takes care of the first aspect of course, but the issue of the right to privacy is only tangentially tackled on the show. We had Nathan kinda handwave in a line about how TM had to be a black box because if no one saw what it saw then technically no one’s fourth amendment rights would be violated (Super, 1x11), Harold briefly mentioned that the public wanted to be protected but didn’t want to know how (Pilot, 1x01), and then the most we delved into the issues of privacy was with Collier in s3, but like you said, Collier was ultimately set up as a patsy for Decima, which muddied their legitimate concerns a little. Vigilance was also a third party that didn’t fully get the time to actually debate this issue with Harold, and they devolved into an extremist group towards the end. 

Now Shaw and Reese don’t care much about either the ethics of TM as a being or the whole invasion of privacy thing, Root is firmly attached to the former and has no credibility or motivation whatsoever when it comes to arguing about the latter, but Carter is the personification of how the average American citizen might’ve reacted to TM. She also has a much more personal connection to both us and Harold as compared to Collier, her word holds more weight, and above all it makes sense for her as a character to react this way when she figured out that something like TM existed in the world and what it was doing. 

So yes, Carter would’ve been the perfect vehicle through which they could’ve explored TM and the invasion of rights it represents. And of course, it would also have helped lend credibility to Collier’s argument against Control and the ISA during the court scenes in Deus Ex Machina, because I do feel like they weren’t strict/interested enough in casting Control and the ISA’s role in the surveillance state in a negative light. And sure Harold was hauled up to the stand to be questioned about his part in helping create the surveillance state, but by that time it was clear that Vigilance wasn’t going to allow this to be a reasonable debate between the two sides. If they had really wanted to explore this issue, then they needed someone like Carter to seriously express a POV in an extended arc about it. 

Also, it would’ve been marvelous to see her personality and beliefs clashing with Harold’s, because Carter is someone who genuinely believes in the law and in the system, whereas Harold has the utmost contempt for all forms of authority. Imagine Carter’s horror when she discovers that her own govt – the govt that she works for and has devoted her life to – has been involved in this massive breach of citizen’s rights. And then we have Carter’s “you can’t just play god” (Get Carter, 1x09) contrasting with Harold’s “I was talking about my rules” (The Day The World Went Away, 5x10). All of this would lend itself beautifully to actually exploring the idea of TM in relation to the surveillance state through debates between Carter and Harold, with Carter being outraged at her rights being violated and Harold essentially being all *shruggie guy*.

I’m just so mad that they had Carter guess (GUESS) about TM and then, to add insult to injury, had her be all *shruggie guy* like NO. That is most definitely not how she would’ve reacted to an omniscient AI watching over her every move. I’d much rather she not have know about TM at all, than had the completely unearned and OOC reaction they gave her in The Crossing. 

anonymous asked:

couldn't civil war inverse Tony and Steve's roles, w/ the whole !!Need To Control Everything mindset? i mean, ideally the point of the shra is that the state = the population can control superheroes, so they can't use their own necessity (to fight aliens and whatnot) to blackmail the population. like, technically Nat IS an assassin but her avenger status let her escape prison… and idk how i'd feel about Steve refusing to abide to a law that the public approves of?


the laws that the public approve of are not always laws that you want instituted, and like, yes, definitely there is an issue of accountability here that REALLY needs to be addressed stat if the avengers want to keep any amount of moral legitimacy re: the damage they were responsible for causing in every goddamned movie, the fact that natasha - although you know she was indoctrinated at a young age - DID in fact use her status to escape punishment that p much anyone else would have faced, the fact that TONY AND BRUCE BUILT ULTRON AND THEN THE REST OF THE AVENGERS COVERED IT UP

(like??? this is the Big Thing for me now that i stop to think about aou. do people know. do people know. that tony. built. ultron. that the avengers covered it up. that they did it again. or do people just suddenly see robots flying around this imaginary country in eastern europe. TONY BUILT ULTRON AND THE AVENGERS COVERED IT UP. that is so…..)

so yes, that needs to be addressed

but looking at the latest rumours coming out of civil war - you know, that tony is using the registration to try and track down bucky, that the prince of wakanda wants bucky, etc etc - and given how cleverly the russos handled that security vs privacy thing in cap 2, i have a feeling that it’s gonna be a lot more serious a situation than Steve Thinks Registration Is Shit

like, let me explain. this could really be Reaching, but throughout history governments have used a major tragedy - in this case, the big international incident w/crossbones that kicks off the action - in order to institute martial law that would give the government huge executive blanket power. think patriot act. think gulf of tonkin. so like, just putting the factors together:

  • huge international tragedy, which leads to 
  • a call for accountability in curtailing a growing group of people that the governments of the world have been trying to control since like iron man 2
  • a registration
  • the rumor that stark, who has strong ties in the past to the government and who in aou was funding shield, a private vigilante system which is now off the ground again,
  • is trying to find bucky who killed his parents.

like, it’s kind of easy to see that as a pattern of behaviour? like this all depends on whether or not marvel has the balls - they don’t. they don’t. but a girl can dream - to make tony stark the antagonist and really give in to that moral ambiguity he’s been nursing EVERY SINGLE FILM AND JUST GO ALL THE WAY ALREADY

so the way it’s going the whole registration thing sounds very very similar to some kind of overarching big brother esque thing that individuals with connections can use to track down other individuals, and we know how steve has a problem with mass surveillance like this. personally, i’m not that worried, but that’s also because i know that i have cap 2 on my laptop and i can watch it any time i choose.