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<nettime> spying, surveillance and the everyday
allan siegel on Thu, 4 Jul 2013 15:02:33 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> spying, surveillance and the everyday

Greetings All,
Of course one can expect boiling outrage at the copious amounts of hoovering of data, eavesdropping and classical snooping that characterises the numerous Snowden/NSA revelations. What a good part of the discussions focus on is the notion of the 'invasion of privacy' either on an individual level or on the state level. But, in the post 9/11 world (in actuality much before) spying and surveillance have almost effortlessly crossed the borders of state and corporate territories into the realm of the private - whether in the virtual world or the physical; our everyday realities are subject to observation and tracking on numerous levels: in airports or on the street both named and anonymous forces can alter or thwart everyday mobility. Thus, the NSA revelations only represent one aspect of the surveillance tree in which 'stop and frisk laws', racial profiling and other criteria for identifying social miscreants are in play. It is quite necessary to add to this dystopic scenario perhaps a 
 more troubling and deep-rooted aspect of the surveillance landscape: the neoliberal economic paradigm(s) upon which post-industrial societies rest is in itself dependent on the hoovering and collecting of individual data; in this sense the border between the avowedly political target of surveillance and the potential consumer becomes is naturally blurred; similar tools (employed on vastly different scales) are employed to identify the markers of the 'potential terrorist' or someone looking for a book at Amazon, tools for the garden, or food for the evening meal. It seems that across the various digital nodes that fill our contemporary landscapes there has been an ineluctable blurring of boundaries between the territories of the individual, the state or the corporate world. 

The public space of the internet is a very fragile reality, indeed, in the same manner that the public spaces of our cities are subject to the most insidious forms of privatisation. Time for a paradigm shift?


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