The Phaserl


Perfecting The Surveillance Society – One Payment At A Time

by Wolf Richter, Testosterone

Governments, corporations, even that genius app developer in Russia have one thing in common: they want to know everything. Data is power. And money. As the Snowden debacle has shown, they’re getting there. Technologies for gathering information, then hording it, mining it, and using it are becoming phenomenally effective and cheap.

But it’s not perfect. Video surveillance with facial-recognition isn’t everywhere just yet. Not everyone is using a smartphone. Not everyone posts the details of life on Facebook. Some recalcitrant people still pay with cash. To the greatest consternation of governments and corporations, stuff still happens that isn’t captured and stored in digital format.

But there is one place in the world where their wildest dreams are coming true, one place that is getting closer to the ideal where every purchase is tracked … by a single device. That place isn’t a well-organized dictatorship or an overly paternalistic state where everyone is required to possess a national ID. In fact, it’s barely a state at all, dysfunctional in many aspects, catastrophic in others, decades behind in many ways, with people who are often desperately poor and illiterate: Somaliland.

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