‘Chilling Effect’ of Mass Surveillance Is Silencing Dissent Online, Study Says

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I have to say that our readers do a good job of dissenting. Pretty much on all sides. I am very pleased that that is the case. Keep at it.

(From Motherboard)

Although more nuanced than a blanket silencing, the study still concluded that “knowing one’s online activities are subject to government interception and believing these surveillance practices are necessary for national security play important roles in influencing conformist behavior.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most significant conformist effect was from people who supported surveillance. They turned out to be more likely to conceal other dissenting opinions, which they felt strayed from the majority view.

When such individuals “perceive they are being monitored, they readily conform their behavior—expressing opinions when they are in the majority, and suppressing them when they’re not,” the paper concluded. These findings suggest that a person’s “fear of isolation from authority or government” adds new “chilling effects” to public discourse.

That last paragraph deserves particular attention. The “go along to get along” people were annoying in high school and even more so in real life. At least that’s my take.

Click here for the article.