In the Shade of the Commons. Towards a Culture of Open by Lipika Bansal, Paul Keller, Geert Lovink

By Lipika Bansal, Paul Keller, Geert Lovink

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The assemblage captures and limits flows of phenomena and may do so in ways that fix them at least temporarily in relations of asymmetrical power. If those whom it affects object to its manner of operation, suggest Haggerty and Ericson, it is futile merely to prohibit a technology or limit the work of an institution. The surveillant assemblage exists to capture flows emanating from bodies, bodies that have been fragmented into bits of data. Taken together these form constantly shifting versions of the ‘data double’ that both refers to individuals but simultaneously is only a kind of pragmatics – useful or not to institutions wishing to distinguish between individuals and populations.

40 no. 5 p. 793-812. Castells, Manuel 2001. The Internet Galaxy, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Castells, Manuel 1996. The Rise of the Network Society, Oxford and New York: Blackwell. Cohen, Stanley 1985. Visions of Social Control, Cambridge: Polity Press. Coleman, Roy 2004. Reclaiming the Streets: Surveillance, Social Control and the City, Cullomption UK: Willan. Cole, Simon 2001. Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

Personal information may be collected, then, in order to determine – in these cases – levels of service, access, and speed of passage. Once the data are collected, the system can automatically (without human discretion), continually (24/7) and in real time (with no delay) make determinations about outcomes. 33 The rapidity of one’s Internet access, for example, depends in part on the user profile gleaned from sophisticated surfer-tracking (Winseck, 2003) and the speed with which one may be able to ‘fast-track’ through airport security depends on the use of biometric passes for what Peter Sloterdijk calls the global ‘kinetic elite’ (quoted Graham, 2004: 239).

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