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Page history last edited by ar.fisk@... 14 years, 11 months ago

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Crust: "Watching, all the time watching...goggle-eyed geeks. Soon as I get out, I'm going to Patagonia, buy it?

...And not so many barrel spoilers... rotten old apples that sit an' stink ... and stare atcha!"

"Freon!" Crat cursed. "Just once I'd like to catch some goggle geek alone, with fritzed sensors and no come-go record, then I'd teach 'em it's not polite to stare!"

... "Oh it started as a way to fight street crime - retired people staking out the streets with video cameras and crude beepers. And the seniors' posse really worked...But after the crime rate plummetted, did that stop the paranoia?


Status: Confirmed

George Bernard Shaw once remarked that youth is wasted on the young. It is a 'mature age' perspective that suggests both jealousy for those who still have their vitality, and a fear the frail have for the robust, and angsty. Brin is suggesting that, with the back up of an unknown number of electronic witnesses, senior age citizens with nothing better to do will one day monitor the excesses of gangs of youth and may, in turn, abuse this technology to harass and intimidate.



Neighbourhood Watch programs provide the seed of this idea.

This has been extended as a trial using CCTV in Shoreditch, London(1).


More recently, come reports of youths being discouraged from gathering in certain areas by placing a device that produces an excruciating noise at a frequency only perceived by young ears(2) (who have since used the same technique to warn their fellows (3)!)

The Stanford experiment(4) demonstrated how normal people, placed in control of others and in the absence of other checks, will quickly begin systematically abusing their authority. While this is not directly applicable to 'crotchety elders', it does demonstrate what can happen if one group of people have some sort of advantage over another.


  1. Asbo TV helps (Shoreditch) residents watch out
  2. 'Dog whistle' to control youths
  3. ...and the counterstrike: a Ringtone that Adults Cannot Hear
  4. The Stanford Prison Experiment


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