Ring of Gyges, Redux

Lenore Skenazy, president of Let Grow, has some very good thoughts on a recent story in the Washington Post on a new app, “Mom I am OK.”  It uses a platform the company designed for law enforcement to track parolees, and is being marketed to parents as a way to ensure regular check-ins from their kids.

I think it’s hard to overstate how corrosive it would be to our republic if this kind of tracking were to become the norm, not to mention our characters.  Kids who grow up without having experienced privacy can hardly be expected to have internalized the values that the Fourth Amendment instantiates.

China is rolling out a social credit system of total surveillance, a model which, once fully deployed in 2020, will serve as a siren call to technocrats, busy-bodies, and tyrants around the world.  Panopticon is only possible if the citizens don’t have an expectation of privacy, and we are rapidly imposing this future on ourselves.

Let Grow is doing an amazing job of helping parents and schools create cultures where kids can thrive through increased trust and independence.  It’s because of efforts like this one that I’m ultimately very hopeful for a return to a more healthy civil society.



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