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[liberationtech] Sociological studies of covert mass-surveillance organisations

Guido Witmond guido at
Sun Sep 1 14:21:04 PDT 2013

On 09/01/13 22:49, Michael Rogers wrote:
> 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?

The one 'good' thing about the original Panopticon design is that you
*know it* when you are inside one.

Inside a panopticon, you don't have the luxury of denial. The fact that
this opportunity of denial has been taken away makes so many *watched*
people upset.

Before the revelations and the subsequent confirmations, many people
would rather believe the old truth (having nothing to hide) than to live
with the new truth that they've been misled.

Truth hurts. That's the reason why so many people claim they have
nothing to hide. It's emotional.


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