Two Pieces on Surveillance

Surveillance // Panopticon // Security Culture // Paranoia Why hammer out concepts--be it speculative, critical, or pragmatist--if there is a meta-authority overseeing it all? Why conspire in the light?....We need to develop dissident knowledge of how to bring down drones, detect sensors, hack servers, distort GPS signals, and disrupt Google by fooling its algorithms. Forget the next innovation cycle. If the common hacker’s paranoia informs us correctly, we lost the war years ago and are surrounded. Soon we will be called to surrender, one by one. --Geert Lovink "Hermes on the Hudson: Notes on Media Theory after Snowden., April 4, 2014. A culture of security is one which enhances an organization's capacity to determine its interests and act on them in spite of another organization's opposed interests. Corporate workforces and law enforcement agencies both cultivate cultures of security, as do management teams, investment rings, smugglers, unions, militia men, and academic researchers. All of these cultures are supposed to control flows of information (trade secrets, exclusive suppliers, price indexes, strategic plans, etc.) and restrict communication in furtherance of an organization's interests. Among dissident circles, the term Security Culture has been popularized as a response to the absence of organization and shared organizational interests. Security Culture carries a few hard and fast rules (don't talk to cops, need-to-know basis, interrupt gossip, etc.) which have established a rough outline of best practices when daily life and sensitive operations overlap or are indistinguishable. Best practices are fundamental to the Insurgent, who frequently operates without clear structures of command and communication, enjoys limited operational awareness, and can hardly imagine an everyday life divorced from sensitive operations. The Insurgent, however, should not be confused with a dissident or “common hacker,” as Lovink puts it, and the conflation of Security Culture with Operations Security carries heavy tolls.

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