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“In our age of digital connection and constantly online life, you might say that two political regimes are evolving, one Chinese and one Western, which offer two kinds of relationships between the privacy of ordinary citizens and the newfound power of central authorities to track, to supervise, to expose and to surveil.
The first regime is one in which your every transaction can be fed into a system of ratings and rankings, in which what seem like merely personal mistakes can cost you your livelihood and reputation, even your ability to hail a car or book a reservation. It’s one in which notionally private companies cooperate with the government to track dissidents and radicals and censor speech; one in which your fellow citizens act as enforcers of the ideological consensus, making an example of you for comments you intended only for your friends; one in which even the wealth and power of your overlords can’t buy privacy.
The second regime is the one they’re building in the People’s Republic of China.
This is a dark joke; it isn’t meant to minimize the horrors of China’s march into information-age totalitarianism. Beginning with its successful taming of the internet, Beijing has treated the darkest episodes of “Black Mirror” as a how-to guide for social control and subjugation — with “social credit” scores and official public shamings for people whose daily conduct disappoints, official Communist Party apps that you’d better use if you know what’s good for you, surveillance technologies and facial recognition software as boots on the back of nonapproved religions, and compulsory internet as part of the brutal, tech-enabled replay of the Cultural Revolution imposed in China’s Muslim west.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
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"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."
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"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."
"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."
"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."