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Freedom of Speech and Segmenting the Citizens
Unformatted Document Text:  ICA-10-10582 20 One of the most important characteristics of the contemporary surveillance is the fact that it often goes unnoticed by people. As Gavison (1980) suggests, people may know when they are physically injured but it is very unlikely that they will know when their communication is being intercepted or when their daily transactions are being captured and used to create profiles (p.371). At the same time, there are segments that are aware of the threats posed by the surveillance and segmentation practices of corporations. Members of such segments are likely to have higher education and income; and as a result they are likely to be among the segments of the population that has been identified as a valuable target of communication. The question then becomes one of discovering how this awareness of the threats affects this segment. It could be hypothesized that members of this group will tend to have lower trust of issue advocates and hence be less receptive to targeted messages and political campaigns. More importantly, their decreased trust may also be reflected in their being more careful in their selection of groups to associate with. This pattern can be called the Awareness Paradox. In order to indicate how the concept of Awareness Paradox also implicates an eventual decrease in thin trust, it is necessary to refer back to the concept group polarization and explicate its relationship to this concept. As previously noted, one of the likely consequences of awareness of the segmentation practices of corporations is an increased tendency to associate with individuals (and groups) who are similarly aware. This kind of elite group formation, while emerging as a critical response to rather than as a result of the manipulation by marketers, will, nevertheless, produce results similar to those shaped by group polarization. That is to say, by refraining from interacting with members of other groups, the high awareness group members will most probably become even more homogeneous; they will be less likely to gain access to a diversity of views; and they will be less likely to develop a common understanding of the problems that are facing the society as a whole.

Authors: Popescu, Mihaela. and Baruh, Lemi.
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ICA-10-10582
20
One of the most important characteristics of the contemporary surveillance is the fact
that it often goes unnoticed by people. As Gavison (1980) suggests, people may know when
they are physically injured but it is very unlikely that they will know when their
communication is being intercepted or when their daily transactions are being captured and
used to create profiles (p.371). At the same time, there are segments that are aware of the
threats posed by the surveillance and segmentation practices of corporations. Members of
such segments are likely to have higher education and income; and as a result they are likely
to be among the segments of the population that has been identified as a valuable target of
communication. The question then becomes one of discovering how this awareness of the
threats affects this segment. It could be hypothesized that members of this group will tend to
have lower trust of issue advocates and hence be less receptive to targeted messages and
political campaigns. More importantly, their decreased trust may also be reflected in their
being more careful in their selection of groups to associate with. This pattern can be called
the Awareness Paradox.
In order to indicate how the concept of Awareness Paradox also implicates an eventual
decrease in thin trust, it is necessary to refer back to the concept group polarization and
explicate its relationship to this concept. As previously noted, one of the likely consequences
of awareness of the segmentation practices of corporations is an increased tendency to
associate with individuals (and groups) who are similarly aware. This kind of elite group
formation, while emerging as a critical response to rather than as a result of the manipulation
by marketers, will, nevertheless, produce results similar to those shaped by group
polarization. That is to say, by refraining from interacting with members of other groups, the
high awareness group members will most probably become even more homogeneous; they
will be less likely to gain access to a diversity of views; and they will be less likely to
develop a common understanding of the problems that are facing the society as a whole.


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