Last week I downloaded “See Say,” the app the MBTA introduced in May to allow riders to alert transit police of suspicious activity on the T.
Really shitty things happen on the T every day. People take advantage of close quarters, with anything from petty theft to the casual jizz-on-the-shoulder deal. The T is an unpleasant enough experience without having to contend with my jacket becoming someone’s cum rag.
I don’t particularly like cops, and if I see something sketchy, I’m much more likely to try to step in as a mediator than to just call for help, but it would be nice to know that someone is waiting to back me up at the next stop.
So this might work for the T, which is small and enclosed, and where escape is not always an easy option, but what about outside?
Boston City Hall’s similar app called Citizens Connect allows you to snap a picture of a problem and send it straight to City Hall. Right now the app pertains only to cosmetic issues–graffiti, potholes–but what happens when the City asks us for reports of public drinking or marijuana use? When will they start asking us to take photos of and identify protesters?
There’s a lot of discussion about privacy and the Internet, about how corporations and the government are using our social media information; but we’re making it easy because we’re giving it up for free. It’s not just my information, it’s my friends’ and it’s yours–and you don’t even know me!
Are we our own Big Brother?