Contrary to common belief, the killer digital app for authoritarianism isn’t listening in on people through increased surveillance, but listening to them as they express their honest opinions, especially complaints. An Orwellian surveillance-based system would be overwhelming and repressive, as it is now in China, but it would also be similar to losing sensation in parts of one’s body due to nerve injuries. Without the pain to warn the brain, the hand stays on the hot stove, unaware of the damage to the flesh until it’s too late.
China’s use of surveillance and censorship makes it harder for Xi Jinping to know what’s going on in his own country.
Zeynep Tufekci discusses the culture of coverups that created the initial spread of the Coronavirus.