The attack on the Capitol forces us to confront an existential question about privacy.
- The insurrection attempt at the Capitol was captured by thousands of cell phones and security cameras.
- Many protestors have been arrested after their identity was reported to the FBI.
- Surveillance experts warn about the dangers of using facial recognition to monitor protests.
Brad Templeton: Today's Surveillance Society is Beyond Orwellian<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="06eb4a2ab19b644f5a3c0bf35ac2f42b"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/awFrWxfDA30?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>There's the <a href="https://www.thecut.com/2021/01/capitol-rioter-larry-rendall-brock-identified-to-fbi-by-ex.html" target="_blank">ex-wife of a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel</a> whose neck gaiter was pulled down; the <a href="https://www.inquirer.com/news/nation-world/capitol-insurrectionists-losing-jobs-social-media-identification-20210108.html" target="_blank">patriotic cohort of Internet detectives</a> crowd-sourcing information for the FBI; the director of the infamous pseudoscience film, "Plandemic," <a href="https://conspirituality.net/transmissions/plandemics-mikki-willis-joins-praises-violent-capitol-mob/" target="_blank">praising the "patriots" that breached the building</a> moments after he left the siege himself; and that unemployed actor who regularly attended QAnon events leaving the most public trail imaginable, and who is <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55606044" target="_blank">currently in custody</a> facing serious charges.</p><p>Fish in barrels, all of them. What of the remaining thousands? </p><p>This privacy discussion is not new. Arthur Holland Michel, founder and co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College, <a href="https://bigthink.com/technology-innovation/gorgon-stare-surveillance" target="_self">warned Big Think in 2019</a> about the dangers of surveillance technology—specifically, in this case, a camera known as Gorgon Stare. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Say there is a big public protest. With this camera, you can follow thousands of protesters back to their homes. Now you have a list of the home addresses of all the people involved in a political movement. If on their way home you witness them committing some crime—breaking a traffic regulation or frequenting a location that is known to be involved in the drug trade—you can use that surveillance data against them to essentially shut them up. That's why we have laws that prevent the use of surveillance technologies because it is human instinct to abuse them. That's why we need controls."</p><p>Late last year, University of Miami students <a href="https://bigthink.com/technology-innovation/facial-recognition-software" target="_self">pushed back against school administrators</a> using facial recognition software for potentially insidious means—a protest not limited to that campus. Can you place students refusing to attend classes during a pandemic with armed insurrectionists attempting to change the results of a democratic election? Not even close. More to the point, however, we should leave political leanings out of the equation when deciding who we think should be monitored. </p>
Protesters enter the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump.
Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images<p>Shortly after the siege, the New Yorker's Ronan Farrow <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/an-air-force-combat-veteran-breached-the-senate" target="_blank">helped reveal the identity</a> of the aforementioned lieutenant colonel while conservatives <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/01/07/antifa-capitol-gaetz-trump-riot/" target="_blank">claim the riots were actually antifa</a>—a conspiracy theory that's <a href="https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-race-and-ethnicity-suburbs-health-racial-injustice-7edf9027af1878283f3818d96c54f748" target="_blank">been peddled before</a>. Politics simply can't be avoided in this age. Still, Albert Fox Cahn, founder of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, doesn't believe the insurrection attempt <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/opinion-the-capitol-attack-doesnt-justify-expanding-surveillance/" target="_blank">justifies an uptick in facial recognition technology</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"We don't need a cutting-edge surveillance dragnet to find the perpetrators of this attack: They tracked themselves. They livestreamed their felonies from the halls of Congress, recording each crime in full HD. We don't need facial recognition, geofences, and cell tower data to find those responsible, we need police officers willing to do their job."</p><p>The New Orleans City Council recently <a href="https://thelensnola.org/2020/12/18/new-orleans-city-council-approves-ban-on-facial-recognition-predictive-policing-and-other-surveillance-tech/" target="_blank">banned similar surveillance technologies</a> due to fears that it would unfairly target minorities. San Francisco was the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/14/us/facial-recognition-ban-san-francisco.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">first city to outright ban facial recognition</a> nearly two years ago. Cahn's point is that the FBI shouldn't be using AI to cover for the government's failure to protect the Capitol. Besides, the insurrectionists outed themselves on their own social media feeds. </p><p>When Pandora's box cracks open, it's hard to push the monster back in. Naomi Klein detailed the corporate takeover of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in "The Shock Doctrine." Real estate brokers, charter school companies, and government agencies didn't cause the flood, but they certainly profited from it. The fear is that companies like Clearview AI, which saw a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/technology/facial-recognition-clearview-capitol.html" target="_blank">26 percent spike in usage of its facial recognition service</a> following the attack, will be incentivized, as will police departments to use such technology for any means they choose.</p><p>Cahn comes to a similar conclusion: don't expose American citizens to the "anti-democratic technology" known as facial recognition. New Yorkers had to endure subway backpack checks for nearly a decade after 9/11; this slope is even slipperier. </p>As the US braces for <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/11/politics/fbi-bulletin-armed-protests-state-us-capitol/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">further "armed protests"</a> in all 50 states over the coming week, phones need to keep capturing footage. Bystanders need to remain safe, of course. But if last week was any indication, the insurrectionists have difficulty deciphering between social media and real life. Their feeds should reveal enough.<p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His most recent book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
'Critical Tourist Map of Oslo' offers uniquely dark perspective on Norway's capital.
- Your standard tourist map is irrepressibly positive about its location—but not this one.
- Norwegian activist/artist Markus Moestue reveals the dark and shameful sides of Oslo.
- He hopes his 'Critical Tourist Map' will inspire others to reveal the dark side of their cities.
"Only negative stuff about Oslo"<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="afa824839d1b396332eec13dde629cf1"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HI1paJLc9Bo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Tourism is a conspiracy of euphemisms. Visitors only want to see the best parts of the places they visit. And the places they visit only want to show them their nicest bits. But now, Norwegian activist/artist Markus Moestue is completely reversing that premise. His 'Critical Tourist Map' of Oslo shows the worst, most shameful parts of the Norwegian capital. "It's just like a normal tourist map," he says, "but everything is negative."</p><p><span></span>In a clip on his website, he's seen wheeling a self-made kiosk across Oslo to distribute his work to passersby: "You guys want a free tourist map? It's a critical one: only negative things. So, nothing about sweaters or lasagna, only negative stuff about Oslo and Norway." Some hesitantly accept the map. Most walk by, nonplussed.</p><p><span></span>In the same clip, Moestue muses: "If you feel like you live in the best country in the world, take a moment to consider: Is that really a fact? Or is that just the result of a very successful national propaganda?"</p><p><span></span>One thing is for sure: Norway does have a very positive opinion of itself, and successfully projects that image to the rest of the world. Like its neighboring countries in Scandinavia, it regularly tops global rankings of happiness, equality, eco-awareness and other positive social indicators. </p><p><span></span>But Moestue argues that there <em>is</em> something rotten in the state of Norway, and he uses the otherwise irrepressibly positive medium of the tourist map to make his point. </p><p><span></span>"The Critical Tourist Map of Oslo might help you shatter a few myths about the greatness of Norway. Among the topics you'll learn about is Norway's aggressive foreign policy, our involvement in colonial slavery, the unfair asylum system and why Amnesty International has their eyes on our prisons."</p><p>A short overview of the places and issues he singles out (see map for full text) follows.<br></p>
"Cleverly constructed doublethink"<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc2NDA0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzE2Njg2OH0.f-P7CZ6HWXngFmGcYH9GCgTkD9zSIk8XdG3u6wUu8W4/img.jpg?width=980" id="a836f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d0fb7e033d4121b4400670417eefcf61" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="The Royal Palace in Oslo was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of Norwegian and Swedish king Charles III (Carl Johan, Charles XIV of Sweden) and is used as the official residence of the present Norwegian Monarch. The crown-prince couple resides at Skaugum in Asker Municipality outside Oslo." data-width="3706" data-height="2720" />
The Royal Palace in Oslo. "The Royal Myth was created by King Olav in 1973, when he arranged a photo of himself pretending to pay for a tram ticket," says Moestue.
Credit: Palickap, CC BY-SA 4.0<p><strong></strong><strong>1. Monarchy</strong></p><p><em>Det Kongelige Slott (the Royal Palace) – Slottsplassen 1</em></p><p>"The Royal Myth was created by King Olav in 1973, when he arranged a photo of himself pretending to pay for a tram ticket. That iconic image showed the king being just like us. But of course, it was such a big deal because he's not one of us. This is very cleverly constructed doublethink."<br></p><p><strong>2. Parliament</strong></p><p><em>Stortinget (Parliament) – Karl Johanns gate 22</em></p><p><em></em>"In 2011, these people voted to bomb Libya. 588 Norwegian bombs helped reduce that country from one of the most stable states in Africa into one of civil war with extreme suffering for its people." </p><p><strong>3. Slavery</strong></p><p><em>Tordenskioldstatuen (statue of Tordenskiold) – Rådhusplassen (east side)</em></p><p>"Our national hero Tordenskiold operated as a slave-trader during the colonial era. Norway actively downplays this part of our history and has not provided any apologies or paid any reparations."</p><p><strong>4. Oslo Prison</strong></p><p><em>Oslo fengsel (Oslo Prison) - Åkebergveien 11</em></p><p><em></em>"Amnesty International has complained that this prison in Oslo keeps prisoners in isolation for up to 23 hours a day. This equals torture and may have long-term implications for the prisoners' mental health." </p><p><strong>5. Lesbian bench</strong></p><p><em>Karl Johanns gate (?)</em></p><p><em></em>"This bench is a memorial for all in Norway who have been discriminated against—and still are—because of their sexual orientation. Still today you can find discrimination, and some religious sects are still trying to 'heal' young people from homosexuality." </p><p><strong>6. Indigenous peoples</strong></p><p><em>Samisk Hus (Sami House) - Dronningens gate 8B</em></p><p><em></em>"Many efforts have been made to assimilate the indigenous people of Norway. Sami and Kven have had their cultures diminished. Use of their languages and symbols was discouraged, sometimes outlawed. Today, these languages are under threat of extinction."<br></p>
The gap between history and reality<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc2NDA1Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzOTg5NTQ1NH0.BINAtAOzGyUMfBdjCUuBI4jcE-JGF5NJMM4cL4SeMe4/img.jpg?width=980" id="0bad8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d468a23fd5d94b61348f94c4779ff48f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200b"In most countries, what we are taught about our own nation in school does not correspond much to reality," says Mr Moestue. This map sets about correcting that shortcoming, at least for his own country: "Is Norway the most happy place, the most environmentally conscious, the most peace-loving or the most ethical (country on earth)? Hardly!"" data-width="3508" data-height="4961" />
"In most countries, what we are taught about our own nation in school does not correspond much to reality," says Moestue. This map sets about correcting that shortcoming, at least for Oslo and Norway.
17th-century sugar<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc2NDA2Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NTAxMjkxMX0.gznqzdg6ts4Ao3tZnJSpg93nCj0YUBi8ycrYKcBg1bU/img.jpg?width=980" id="a18ce" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="51d624d1e603cdae225ef8fca66a9764" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Seagull resting in Tordenskiold's hat. "We had fortresses in Africa and colonies in the Caribbean. Norway actively downplays this part of our history and has not provided any apologies or paid any reparations," says Mr Moestue. "It sometimes feels like Norway has no colonial history and nobody ate any sugar in the 17th century."" data-width="2486" data-height="2109" />
Seagull resting in Tordenskiold's hat. "It sometimes feels like Norway has no colonial history and nobody ate any sugar in the 17th century."
Credit: Michal Klajban, CC BY-SA 3.0<p>Perhaps somewhat too convinced of the malleability of public opinion, Mr Moestue muses: "People don't want to just come to Oslo, look around, go back home and say: <em>Hey, I've been to Oslo, to have the best kebab or to have some mediocre Chinese food there</em>. No. People want to go to Oslo and then they want to go back home, and they want to say: <em>I've been to Oslo. I've seen Oslo. And it's really, really bad</em>."</p><p>Most foreigners - and a good deal of Norwegians - will probably not know that the country has a colonial past, for example. "We had fortresses in Africa and colonies in the Caribbean. Norway actively downplays this part of our history and has not provided any apologies or paid any reparations," says Moestue. But "it sometimes feels like Norway has no colonial history and nobody ate any sugar in the 17th century."</p><p><span></span>However, don't mistake Mr Moestue's negativism for nihilism. Ultimately, his map has a positive point to make: "I feel that Norway is using too much resources <em>appearing</em> to be good, and too little effort actually <em>doing</em> good!"</p><p>And there's another thing the artist hopes is map will achieve: "I'm hoping others will make their own tourist maps about their own cities. If they look hard enough I'm sure it's also pretty bad!" </p><p><br><br><em>Learn more about Mr Moestue's map on his <a href="https://markusmoestue.no/" target="_blank">website</a>.</em></p><p><em></em><strong>Strange Maps #1056</strong></p><p><strong></strong><em>Got a strange map? Let me know via </em><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a><em>.</em><br></p>
If its claims are true, Clearview AI has quietly blown right past privacy norms to become the nightmare many have been fearing.
- Recent reporting has revealed the existence of a company that has probably scraped your personal data for its facial recognition database.
- Though social platforms forbid it, the company has nonetheless collected personal data from everywhere it can.
- The company's claims of accuracy and popularity with law enforcement agencies is a bit murky.
Is this legal? And does it matter?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjY0NTY5OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMzg5ODg2M30.DMdhtKuBNY4_ZOJA7_kNumGSHavaG4CHT47KX2-k51M/img.jpg?width=980" id="75d49" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0b3a34d5ed3f4971dd26579ee9277c5e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Anton Watman/Shutterstock<p>In terms of Federal law protecting one's personal data, the regulations are way behind today's digital realities. The controlling legislation appears to be the anti-hacking <a href="https://www.wired.com/2014/11/hacker-lexicon-computer-fraud-abuse-act/" target="_blank">Computer Fraud and Abuse Act</a> (CFAA) enacted in 1984, well before the internet we know today. Prior to a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last year, the law had been used to fight automated data-scraping. However, that ruling determined that this type of scraping doesn't violate the CFAA.</p><p>Social media sites generally include anti-scraping stipulations in their user agreements, but these are hard — and perhaps impossible given programmers' ingenuity — to enforce. Twitter, whose policies explicitly forbid automated scraping for the purposes of constructing a database, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/technology/clearview-ai-twitter-letter.html" target="_blank">recently ordered</a> Clearview AI to knock it off. Given last year's CFAA ruling, though, sites have little legal recourse when their policies are violated. In any event, tech is a troublingly incestuous industry — for example, a Facebook board member, <a href="https://bigthink.com/robby-berman/hulk-hogans-suit-against-gawker-justice-or-a-billionaires-revenge" target="_self">Peter Thiel</a>, is one of Clearview AI's primary investors, so how motivated would such people really be to block mining of their data?</p>
Is Clearview AI legit?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjY0NTczNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMDk1NjI0MX0._f15F1S9pw6yLmXnVXVFODHLeFypl_L8RYJi474yrLA/img.jpg?width=980" id="a6e08" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9f6e33faf37a61164bec61e0f497a5cb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Clearview AI, through Atlanta public-records request by New York Times<p>Clearview has taken pains to remain off the public's radar, at least until the <em>New York Times</em> article appeared. It<u></u>s co-founders long ago scrubbed their own social identities from the web, though one of them, Hoan Ton-That, has since reemerged online.</p><p>In efforts to remain publicly invisible while simultaneously courting law enforcement as customers for Clearview's services, the company has been quietly publishing an array of targeted promotional materials (The <em>Times</em>, BuzzFeed, and <em>WIRED</em> have acquired a number of these materials via Freedom of Information requests and through private individuals). The ads make some extraordinary and questionable claims regarding Clearview's accuracy, successes, and the number of law enforcement agencies with which it has contracts. Not least, of course, among questions about the company's integrity must be their extensive scraping of data from sites whose user agreements forbid it.</p><p>According to Clearview, over 600 law enforcement parties have used their product in the last year, though the company won't supply a list of them. There <em>are</em> a handful of confirmed clients, however, including the Indiana State Police. According to the department's then-captain, the police were able to identify the perpetrator in a shooting case in just 20 minutes thanks to Clearview's ability to find a video the man had posted of himself on social media. The department itself has officially declined to comment on the case for T<em>he </em><em>New York Times</em>. Police departments in Gainesville, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia are also among their confirmed customers.</p><p>Clearview has tried to impress potential customers with case histories that apparently aren't true. For example, they sent an email to prospective clients with the title, "How a Terrorism Suspect Was Instantly Identified With Clearview," describing how their software cracked a New York subway terrorism case. The NYPD says Clearview had nothing to do with it and that they used their own facial recognition system. Clearview even posted a video on Vimeo telling the story, which has since been removed. Clearview has also claimed several other successes that have been denied by the police departments involved. </p><p>There is skepticism regarding Clearview's claims of accuracy, a critical concern given that in this context a false positive can send an innocent person to jail. Clare Garvie, of Georgetown University's Center on Privacy and Technology, <a href="https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ryanmac/clearview-ai-nypd-facial-recognition" target="_blank">tells BuzzFeed</a>, "We have no data to suggest this tool is accurate. The larger the database, the larger the risk of misidentification because of the doppelgänger effect. They're talking about a massive database of random people they've found on the internet."</p><p>Clearview has not submitted their results for independent verification, though a FAQ on their site claims that an "independent panel of experts rated Clearview 100% accurate across all demographic groups according to the ACLU's facial recognition accuracy methodology." In addition, the accuracy rating of facial recognition is usually derived from a combination of variables, including its ability to detect a face in an image, its correct-match rate, reject rate, non-match rate, and the false-match rate. As far as the FAQ claim, Garvie notes that "whenever a company just lists one accuracy metric, that is necessarily an incomplete view of the accuracy of their system."</p>
Image source: Andre_Popov/Shutterstock<p>It may or may not be that Clearview is doing what they claim to be doing, and that their technology is really accurate and seeing increasing use by police departments. Regardless, there can be little doubt that the company and likely others are working toward the goal of making reliable facial recognition available to law enforcement and other government agencies (Clearview also reportedly pitches its product to private detectives).</p><p>This has many people concerned, as it represents a major blow to personal privacy. A bipartisan effort in the U.S. Senate has seemingly failed. In November 2019, Democrats introduced their own privacy bill of rights in the <a href="https://www.cantwell.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/COPRA%20Bill%20Text.pdf" target="_blank">Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act</a> (COPRA) while Republicans introduced their <a href="https://aboutblaw.com/NaZ" target="_blank">United States Consumer Data Privacy Act of 2019</a> (CDPA). States have also enacted or are in the process of considering new privacy legislation. Preserving personal privacy without unnecessarily constraining acceptable uses of data collection is complicated, and the law is likely to continue lagging behind technological reality.</p><p>In any event, the exposure of Clearview AI's system is pretty chilling, setting off alarms for anyone hoping to hold onto what's left of their personal privacy, at least for as long as it's possible to do so.<br><br><strong>UPDATE</strong>: The ACLU announced on Thursday that it is suing Clearview in the state of Illinois. <a href="https://www.cnet.com/news/clearview-ai-faces-lawsuit-over-gathering-peoples-images-without-consent/" target="_blank">CNET reports</a> that Illinois is the only state with a biometric privacy law, the Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires "informed written consent" before companies can use someone's biometrics. "Clearview's practices are exactly the threat to privacy that the legislature intended to address, and demonstrate why states across the country should adopt legal protections like the ones in Illinois," the ACLU said in a statement. <br><br>For more on the suit, head over to the <a href="https://www.aclu.org/news/privacy-technology/were-taking-clearview-ai-to-court-to-end-its-privacy-destroying-face-surveillance-activities/" target="_blank">ACLU website</a>.</p>
Does the President get to decide when to ignore the law?
- During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln decided to suspend habeas corpus, a protection in the Constitution that prohibited imprisonment without a trial.
- From Lincoln's point of view, following the law to the letter during that unprecedented and pivotal moment in history (i.e. the threat of war and secession from the Union) would put lawfulness itself at risk, so some restrictions of civil liberties were necessary.
- The war and the president's actions changed how the founding document is interpreted and sometimes challenged by the rule of men.
A review of the global "wall" that divides rich from poor.
- Trump's border wall is only one puzzle piece of a global picture.
- Similar anxieties are raising similar border defenses elsewhere.
- This map shows how, as a result, "the West" is in fact one large gated community.
World-wide fence<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTk5NTczMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NTI0NDUxMX0.k52YL3Wh-5-PUYkH7cCzaBRv8zZl4EMO1rLwM5TOtsU/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C11%2C0%2C12&height=700" id="59fde" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bc96a05ab38ddd887e4b0fcbb8758182" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The western terminus of the US-Mexico land border at Tijuana.
Image source: © Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0<p>This map is a decade old, but it feels increasingly topical with every passing year. More than ever, we live in a Walled World.</p><p>Even though the stats on the map may have changed somewhat, its shocking main point still stands: the rich countries of the world are, in fact, the world's biggest gated community. </p><p>This world-wide fence is rarely presented to us in its totality; we catch glimpses of its various bits whenever they're in the news. Those separate pieces don't necessarily seem to belong to the same puzzle. <br></p><p>The US-Mexico border is far away from "Fortress Europe," and both are different from Israel's security wall. Other, similar barriers have their own peculiarities. But in the end, they all do the same thing: keep the poor, huddled masses from the shantytowns off the manicured lawns of the First World. </p>
The Berlin Window<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTk5NTc2OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMTE4NDU3OH0.ZcwaxEM2GGfjka5EGLHK64EQeKkiWFexo9NnJ4s_e0Q/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C45%2C0%2C81&height=700" id="b8dc4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4d742b2b29f6ebe1533c49c5e396e764" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
East and West Berliners on top of the recently opened Berlin Wall, early November 1989.
Image: Lear21, CC BY-SA 3.0<p>For a brief window of time, opened 30 years ago next month, it seemed history would go the other way. In November 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. Its joyous demolition predicted the end of hard borders everywhere. <br></p><p>That window soon flew shut. The idea of a globalized world with frictionless borders fell out of fashion faster than the bleached jeans and mullet hair of the East Berliners marveling at their first banana in 1989. </p><p>Two events stand out: 9/11, and the refugee crisis of 2015. Both increased the fear and suspicion of "others" and remedied it by shoring up the entrance barriers into what is still sometimes — incongruously — called "the West" (1).</p><p>At the end of the Cold War, there were just 15 walls separating countries from each other. Now there are at least 70 walled borders worldwide. Since the fall of the Wall, <em>thousands</em> of miles of steel and concrete walls have gone up on international borders. <br></p>
A global wall<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTk5MDU5My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjE5MDc2OH0.U4xDS12lsL7SRPCGjce3Vgeq_xNQOg-NNptaUwziecU/img.jpg?width=980" id="051fa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f75555ed62d03501e002e1bda6335f81" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="The rich world, developed world, first world or Western world by another name: the walled world." />
The rich world, developed world, first world or Western world by another name: the walled world.
Image: TD Architects<p>As this map shows, the Walled World consists of the U.S. and Canada (in North America); Japan and South Korea, plus Australia and New Zealand (in the Asia-Pacific region); plus basically the entire European Union (2); and also Israel. In 2009, that club of nations represented just 14 percent of the world's population but earned 73 percent of its income. Conversely, the "gray areas" outside the walls were home to 86 percent of humanity, who scraped together just 27 percent of the world's income. <br></p><p>The average monthly income inside the wall is around €2,500. Outside, it's just €150. Money may or may not buy happiness, but it does buy quality of life. The yellow dots, which represent the world's top 50 cities in terms of quality of life, are almost all inside the wall — only Singapore is outside, and <a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/singapore-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">that relatively wealthy city-state should arguably be included inside the wall anyway</a>. </p><p>In other words: the poor are many, the rich are few. That's not a new phenomenon of course, nor are the migratory pressures it causes. That's where those barriers come in. The map lists some examples, the locations and the circumstances of which are all different — but which are all pieces of the same puzzle shown on this map. <br></p>
Technically still at war<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTk5NTc4OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxODAxODI5MH0.NJDXkLspXY_M7kQ2iGLkMimUqoFaaJDNpGxLQm4piXI/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C106%2C0%2C0&height=700" id="b89f0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="04e8de99cfd0a17b8a17e1e8f15a4658" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea.
Image source: Korean Culture and Information Service (Jeon Han), CC BY 2.0<p><strong>A. The DMZ between North and South Korea</strong><br></p><p>The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which came into being in the ceasefire on July 27, 1953, cuts the Korean peninsula about in half. It's 155 miles (248 km) long and around 2 miles (3 km) wide. The two sides are technically still at war. Skirmishes at the DMZ have cost the lives of hundreds of Koreans, and at least 50 U.S. service personnel. The border is so heavily fortified that North Korean defectors rather try their luck going north into China than attempting to cross the DMZ. </p><p><strong>B. The Australian Defense Force (ADF)</strong></p><p>The ADF — charged with the defense of Australia — patrols the waters north of Australia, where incursions by boat refugees are most likely. </p><p><strong>C. The US-Mexico barrier<br></strong></p><p>Although Trump got elected by promising to "build that wall," the systematic erection of physical barriers on the 1,954-mile (3,145-km) US-Mexico border already began under the Clinton Administration. At first, it was concentrated on urban crossing points. After 9/11, fencing occurred in more rural/isolated areas as well — both under presidents Bush Jr. and Obama. Over the decades, thousands of migrants have died crossing the border. </p>
Tourist attractions<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTk5NTc5NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMDM5MjE4Mn0.86WA094D1hRCgqpss7SPPd4MAxZ9UslIVWgw9_FOafA/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C149%2C0%2C90&height=700" id="944cb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="240c408cac098df3647d7776bc9ae362" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The 'Valla' in Melilla, where Europe touches Africa.
Image: Ángel Gutiérrez Rubio, CC BY 2.0<p><strong>D. The Ceuta and Melilla border fences<br></strong></p><p>Ceuta and Melilla, the two Spanish exclave cities in Morocco, are where Fortress Europe meets North Africa. Built from 1993 with EU funding, a hard border consisting of tall barbed-wire fences equipped with motion sensors tries (and often fails) to keep out the flow of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Before making the attempt, many hide in the Gurugu Mountains outside Melilla. Called "La Valla," the fences have become one of the cities' major tourist attractions. </p><p><strong>E. The EU's Schengen Border</strong></p><p>The map legend reads: "It took the European Union only six years (after the fall of the Berlin Wall) to create, with the Schengen Agreement in 1995, a new division only 80 km offset to the east of Berlin." The 26 Schengen Area members (3) have abolished all "internal" passport and border controls and have strengthened border controls and a common visa policy for non-Schengen countries. </p><p><strong>F. The West Bank Barrier</strong></p><p>In 2002, Israel started work on a concrete barrier separating Israelis from Palestinians. Israel says this is to stop the incursion of terrorists into Israel proper. The placing of the wall, largely beyond the Green Line which constitutes the "official" border between Israel and the Palestinian territories, means 9.4 percent of West Bank and East Jerusalem territory is now included on the Israeli side. Palestinians contend the wall is a land grab and constitutes a de facto border. Almost 90 percent of Israeli settlers in the occupied territories live between the Green Line and the Wall. <br></p>
Another brick in the wall<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTk5MDU5Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMDcwNDkyOH0.NEteoE3ddyguc1CmyYsHOfFzdBkjjiyj1cn_eQCr7AE/img.jpg?width=980" id="e57f6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b0023574b71dc95ff3d259ccf5ca5f55" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="One of the 99 'Peace Walls' in Belfast, Northern Ireland." />
One of the 99 "Peace Walls" in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Image source: Duke Human Rights Center, CC BY 2.0<p>Of course, there are many more border walls than these.<br></p><ul> <li>Take for instance the Evros Wall. Built in 2012 along the eponymous border river between Greece and Turkey, its purpose is to stop illegal migrants crossing the only land border between both countries into the EU. </li></ul><p>Not all border walls are between the First World and the Rest of the World.</p><ul> <li>India is building a 2,500-mile barbed-wire fence around Bangladesh, the overcrowded neighbour squeezed in entirely between India and the sea. India says the "Bengal Wall" will keep out smugglers and terrorists — but it will mostly keep out people fleeing poverty and climate change. </li></ul><p>Some of the border walls aren't even between countries, but between neighborhoods.</p><ul><li>Belfast counts 99 "Peace Walls" separating Catholic/nationalist communities from Protestant/loyalist ones. The largest one, dividing Protestant Springmartin Estate from Catholic Springfield Park, consists of no less than a million bricks.</li><li>Brazil's rich cordon themselves off from the nation's poor in gated communities such as Alphaville in São Paulo.</li><li>A decades-old wall divides Nicosia on Cyprus in Greek and Turkish halves — after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nicosia is now the only European capital still divided by a wall.</li></ul>
Feel the Berm<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTk5MDU5Ny9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODE2MjU3OH0.7OvuhyZRUb_PYE6P5zjSkQ19Ik5qmCnUMZhTskzhCW0/img.gif?width=980" id="73de0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6bc5605dab25e876c434fb4929f6f711" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="The expansion of Morocco's Berm, in six phases from 1982 to 1987." />
The expansion of Morocco's Berm, in six phases from 1982 to 1987.
Image source: Cedric31, GFDL<p>Border walls are both old and new.<br></p><ul><li>In 1975, Morocco took over the Western Sahara from Spain without granting the locals a referendum on independence. An armed rebellion ensued. Morocco responded by building the "Berm." The world's longest and oldest security barrier divides the Western Sahara in a large, ocean-facing swathe controlled by Morocco, and a thin strip of desert on the border with Mauritania, left to the Sahrawi rebels.</li><li>In recent years, "security walls" have gone up in Kabul, Baghdad, Cairo, and Syria. So many in fact, that none of them merit the notoriety of the Berlin Wall or even Belfast's Peace Walls. </li></ul><p>An updated map of the Walled World would contain many more red lines crisscrossing the planet. It feels like it'll be a while before there'll be another Berlin Moment, and any of these walls will start coming down again. <br></p>