Today’s ‘surveillance society’ emerged from a complex of military and corporate priorities that were nourished through the active and ‘cold’ wars that marked the twentieth century. Two massive configurations of power – state and corporate – have become the dominant players. Mass targeted surveillance deep within corporate, governmental and social structures is now both normal and legitimate.
The Surveillance-Industrial Complex examines the intersections of capital and the neo-liberal state in promoting the emergence and growth of the surveillance society. The chapters in this volume, written by internationally-known surveillance scholars from a number of disciplines, trace the connections between the massive multinational conglomerates that manufacture, distribute and promote technologies of ‘surveillance’, and the institutions of social control and civil society..
SURVEILLANCE INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
A POLITICAL ECONOMY OF SURVEILLANC
National Public Radio’s All Things Considered ran a series on “The End of Privacy” all last week that’s worth a listen. They’re primarily concerned with the ways private companies have access to vast quantities of information about individuals in the digital age—something that civil libertarians have traditionally been less concerned about than government access, for many perfectly valid reasons. But it’s worth noting how porous that distinction can be. A 2006 survey by the Government Accountability Office found that just four government agencies—the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and Social Security Administration—spent at least $30 million annually on contracts with information resellers like Choicepoint. The vast majority of that data (91%) was used for law enforcement or counterterror purposes. And GAO found that the resellers weren’t always in full compliance with the privacy practices that the agencies themselves are supposed to follow.
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