Is Israel’s surveillance technology blind?

As recently as August I wrote: Without a basis for popular decision-making, democracies will perish!

The war in Ukraine would not have been possible if democratic states had transferred their pre-digital achievements to digital democracy. The war in Israel could also have been prevented!

So far, the world’s intelligence services have agreed that only total digital surveillance can guarantee the security of society. But how do they explain that Israel, one of the world’s largest arms exporters and a leader in the surveillance industry, failed to notice Hamas‘ preparations for more than two years?

This attack is the bankruptcy of a centralised surveillance IT that thinks it can control everything. On the other hand, there are many lawless spaces, such as the dark web, that largely escape surveillance.

For years I have been calling for a Trusted WEB 4.0, in which no warrantless surveillance is possible on an infrastructure provided by the state for all citizens, but extensive forensic traces can be secured in individual cases and after a court order.

Israel ranks 29th on the 2022 Democracy Index, ahead of the United States. The future of democracies is being decided right now. This is not just about the privacy of citizens, but also about the systematic establishment of social controls and incentives for all citizens to contribute objectively and constructively to society and to prevent abuse. Such an understanding of democracy would destabilise autocracies from within. For the Internet knows no geographical boundaries. As surveillance states, however, democracies can only become second-best digital autocracies.

It’s quite simple: if in the pre-digital age we didn’t believe that strangers would intervene if we were attacked, then we would need a policeman on every street corner. But while policemen cost the state a lot of money, total digital surveillance is not only almost free, but a few monopolists like Google, Facebook and X are making a lot of money worldwide with today’s advertising and excitement driven ’social‘ media systems in a virtual boxing ring. Everyone is pitted against everyone else. All objectivity falls by the wayside. Students today are no longer able to learn due to constant sensory overload. Populism is increasingly replacing factual debate in politics.

Governments are withdrawing from a meaningful democratic infrastructure for all. Yes, the press even avoids reporting on technologies that preserve democracy. I have just submitted a request to the EU Commission to introduce an obligation for the media to report on democracy-enhancing technologies! If my manuscript, which was not published by SWR, had been filmed in 2014, citizens would have been able to lobby for appropriate measures. The war in Ukraine is not being fought here with democracy-preserving digital technology! But no publisher is likely to be found for fear of the gatekeepers.

Historically speaking, the constitutional order is disintegrating in our decade because politicians are actionistically sticking plasters on more and more crises instead of proactively taking care of a functioning concept of digital democracy.

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