[Update: Looking for a more positive story about ubiquitous cameras?]
David Brin wrote about the coming social revolution at length in his book The Transparent Society. Momus provided some handy tips in his song The Age of Information. Now Dog-Shit-Girl has demonstrated the dangers of not picking up the courtesy cluephone.
We live in a world where increasing numbers of people have digital cameras. In fact, in a few years the majority of people will have a mobile phone with built-in camera and Internet connection. This means that if you are going to be an antisocial ass in public, there’s a good chance that you will be recorded, your antics will be publicized, and you will be mocked. The worse your behavior, the more widespread your infamy. If what you do is bad enough, you might get threats; you might find that people recognize you, point at you in the street and yell at you.
You can whine all you like about privacy and rights; it won’t do any good. The Internet and digital cameras are not going to go away. Legislation won’t stop it, the transparent society is coming. My advice is to learn to live in it. People will be able to publish facts about you to a massive audience, so it’s probably a good idea to make sure the facts on offer are favorable ones.
In a way, it’s a return to the past. When we lived in villages where everyone knew everyone else, the antisocial would become outcasts. Now we’re headed back that way; the only difference is the size of the village.