A citizenry that’s constantly on guard for secret, unaccountable surveillance is one that’s constantly being remade along the lines the state would prefer. Foucault illustrated this point by reference to a hypothetical prison called the Panopticon. Designed by utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, the Panopticon is a prison where all cells can be seen from a central tower shielded such that the guards can see out but the prisoners can’t see in.
- Legal Protections & Promises
- Monkey Business
- Operators of Communication Systems
- Backbone Beacon
- Self censorship?
The prisoners in the Panopticon could thus never know whether they were being surveilled, meaning that they have to, if they want to avoid running the risk of severe punishment, assume that they were being watched at all times. Thus, the Panopticon functioned as an effective tool of social control even when it wasn’t being staffed by a single guard.[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Panopticon”]
The logic of this system is, in a limited sense, highly logical: past elites were unable to maintain control due to human mistakes and unpredictabilities. The thinking behind a technocracy is that machines make no mistakes. The large tech companies have all discussed this openly at large conferences. Money is a symbol of energy, and the erection of the mass surveillance grid is not for the purpose of security or preventing “terrorism”.[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Technocracy”]
Due to the transmission technology of cellphone systems and the internet, there is not likely to be a means to prevent geolocation and user data from being accessed by unauthorised parties. Every communication system is a spying system. Digital systems are far easier to penetrate than analogue systems and thus much easier to use for spying.
The Snowden leaks revealed a massive surveillance program including interception of email and other internet communications and phone call tapping. Some of it appears illegal, while other documents show the US spying on friendly nations during various international summits.
This did not make people happy.
Although the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court oversees such surveillance activities, it operates in secrecy through one-sided procedures that favor the government. It appears mainstream US media are not too worried about that because something important has happened: surveillance by NSA has included American citizens. Big headlines.
People in the rest of the world somersaulted around, making faces like anonymous and pseudonymous avatars in twitter and on other social media. Well, some people did. People living in areas being robbed, pillaged and plundered for resources to keep the war-work-machine going were too busy fo that.[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Dragnets”]
Legal Protections & Promises
Not only that, several laws and treaties are in the making that protect proprietary money-making interests. Courtesy for the Powerful, Not the Public.[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Legal Protection”]
The mass surveillance industry is a multi-billion dollar economic sector that has experienced phenomenal growth rates since 2001. According to data provided by The Wall Street Journal, the retail market for surveillance tools has sprung up from “nearly zero” in 2001 to about US$5 billion in 2011. The size of the video surveillance market rose to US$13.5 billion in 2012, and is expected to reach US$39 billion by 2020.
Many of the world’s largest corporations and their trade associations — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Walmart, Monsanto, Bank of America, Dow Chemical, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Chevron, Burger King, McDonald’s, Shell, BP, BAE, Sasol, Brown & Williamson and E.ON – have been linked to espionage or planned espionage against nonprofit organizations, activists and whistleblowers.[linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Surveillance”]
In an increasingly networked world, data about us, as individuals (from our age and sex to our buying habits and more) have increasing monetary value. The information can be used to make money. It’s Big Business. BB![linkview show_cat_name=”0″ cat_name=”Monkey Business”]
Operators are aware of the impossibility of technological protection to fulfill legal requirements but join in the deception in order to falsely assure customers, officials and watchdogs that protection is possible.
Growth of the military-industrial-complex, violations of human rights, undermining of trust, net neutrality out the door (as if that empty promise ever meant anything), function creep of surveillance (as if it isn’t already totally out of control), more targeted advertising (and more adblock), surveillance (and counter-surveillance), censorship (and censorship workarounds), prosecution and incarceration of file sharers (to serve the prison-industrial-complex), political repression and social discrimination … and an increasing number of dissenters getting creative.
Governments, commerce, orgs, experts cooperate to foster crises under guise of opposition to get us to hop on their bandwagons using shock doctrine. We are in an ongoing struggle to protect ourselves from existing threats as well as from that attempt. GNU free software is not in the role of “rescuer”, but we can use it to put our freedom (to act), our power, back into our own hands on the internet.