Insights · March 8th, 2007

Apparently there is a custom followed by some French youths to incite violence, often involving innocent strangers, film the violent acts, and publish the resulting video on the web. The term for this is “Happy Slapping.”

French authorities, understandably, want to stop this.

They’ve picked the wrong method: a law against any posting of violent videos by a person who is not a professional journalist. Think Rodney King. Think about the fact that we need, as a people, to be able to record violent acts by police or armed forces or other people in power against those who have less power, and we may need to be able to distribute the information. In these days of government cameras, surveillance, large databases, etc., it’s critical that the transparency goes both ways – that governments can hold their people accountable and people can hold their governments equally accountable. Two-way accountability is how we can avoid the future of Orwell’s 1984 (yes, I know that’s a little retro now, but it was a good illustration of what can happen if government holds all the power).

A better choice might be to use the actual videos to capture the “happy slapping” perpetrators and hold them accountable to the actual other laws they’ve broken.

Brenda Cooper

Category
Environment & Energy Uncategorized
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Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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