Monday, September 3, 2012

The little things : different levels of trust

There are several little things that my partner and I have noticed over the last few weeks that my partner is expressing as different levels of trust in different countries*. For instance, in his town, near University E, to get a shopping cart, one inserts a coin to unlock a shopping cart. The coin is returned when the cart is returned and locked. This gets rid of the need for the poor souls that roam the parking lots of grocery stores in the US, collecting shopping carts left by people bringing things to their cars. But it demands that the shopper have the correct coin in his/her wallet. I don't know if this practice means that people walk off with fewer shopping carts.

No one wants to take our US credit cards in either his town or my city, because US credit cards don't have a built in security chip. Every ATM we visit has a screen reminding the user to shield our pin from possibly prying eyes when we type it in. Getting a rail card bus pass, or entering Epsilon into daycare requires a series of passport photos. For the first time, I need to pass a background check to hold a university job (not that they can get their hands on any US criminal record I may have.)

While the left talks about surveillance state in the US, everywhere I go in his town, I see signs telling me that I am being videoed.

None of these are big things, and I will probably forget that they are different in a few months, but this level of extra scrutiny does strike my American eyes as odd.

*Perhaps some would call what I am perceiving a heightened sense of security. I am writing this post with the premise that unless there is a clear threat, the flip side of imposing extra security is an implicit lack of trust in the average person.

No comments:

Post a Comment