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[liberationtech] Sociological studies of covert mass-surveillance organisations

Michael Rogers michael at briarproject.org
Sun Sep 1 13:49:28 PDT 2013


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On 01/09/13 10:00, Caspar Bowden (lists) wrote:
> AFAIK Deleuze, Foucault et al. did not say anything specifically
> about covert (mass-)surveillance, or analyse how the inherently
> secret nature of such organizations might be a causal element in
> theories of social control. Secret surveillance organizations are
> NOT Panoptic in a technical sense - they normally don't want you to
> know or fear they are watching (with tactical exceptions).

Is there anyone who's aware of overt surveillance and who doesn't at
least suspect that some form of covert surveillance also exists? And
isn't that suspicion enough to create a panoptic effect?

The prisoners don't know whether they're being watched at any moment,
or whether the watchtower is even occupied; the secret surveillance
organisation, the existence of which cannot be confirmed, corresponds
to the warden who may or may not be in the watchtower.

Wasn't the NSA closer to the panoptic ideal when it was No Such Agency
than now, when we know we're being watched?

Cheers,
Michael

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