Grandstand. Technology has efficiency as its only value. It’s his nature. Therefore, if we expect something else, we must impose it, and therefore, necessarily, restrict it. On any subject, this results in unstable compromises and never far from inconsistency, for States as for citizens.
The latter assume their antagonisms. Tech improves their lives every day and the current period is a superb proof of this, from children's educational monitoring to streaming evenings, via telework and telemedicine. But if they use his tools, they are also wary of them. In five years, the share of Google users who fear spying has gone from a quarter to a third – and a third to a half for Facebook. 75% of French people do not trust their e-mail, merchant sites or social networks. In no European country, more than a quarter of citizens trust the information found on these networks. This distrust is fueled by a stream of revelations about abuse. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has just been condemned for having used customer photos for facial recognition without their consent, while Google has obtained access to personal medical data from a large network of clinics in the United States. United States. And multiple studies have shown that anonymizing data is quite illusory.
These ambivalences are found in the same way in citizens' expectations of the state. On the one hand, they can be very critical of its lack of modernity and efficiency. On the other, they hate the abuse of power, both private and public.
Tech must therefore be controlled, including its use by the state. The “all digital” administration, which empties the territories of their public services, or the excess of surveillance are very badly lived. There is a real French wisdom in this concern for measure and balance.
Seriously liberticidal texts
This quality complicates the task of the state, itself caught in its own contradictions. Indeed, the expectation of citizens as described is that of a very demanding moral contract: the state must do everything necessary and no more, this balance being evolving. It’s a pretty good summary of what most states don’t know how to do. Because they are easily fascinated by the effectiveness of tech, as we have seen in the face of terrorism. Edward Snowden’s revelations seriously damaged the moral credit of democracies, including in Europe, where it turned out that states were doing no less but only having less. Everywhere, seriously liberticidal texts have been voted almost unanimously by the Parliaments with the argument, taken from authoritarian regimes, that this cannot harm “honest people”. Argument supposed to justify also a systematic surveillance of the merchant sites to fight against tax fraud. This attitude does not reveal a totalitarian impulse, but an awareness of the expectation of results on the part of the citizens and a naive confidence that the republican discipline of civil servants is enough to avoid slippage.
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