The Surveillance Industrial Complex: The Reports

The advantages of privatized surveillance
Besides allowing the government to overcome the practical limits on its resources (what political scientists call “state administrative capacity”),the technique of folding private individuals and organizations into a government’s surveillancenetwork has several advantages for the government:

It gives the government access to private-sector databases. Most of the interactions and transactions in Americans’ lives are not conducted with the government, but with corporations and other private entities, who therefore hold most of the details of Americans’ lives – including much of what is private and important to them.

It lets the government create a system of “distributed surveillance” or “swarm intelligence” in which scattered, individual, independent sources of information are brought together to create a big picture that the government could never construct directly.

It shifts costs from government to the pri-vate sector by forcing companies to take expensive steps such as hiring additional staff to meet information collection and analysis mandates – in effect, imposing a hidden“surveillance tax” on those companies.

It creates constant uncertainty whenever people are in a situation where an inform-ant might be present, enormously amplifying the effect of government surveillance on individual behavior and psychology.

It offers what is often a path of least resist-ance to working around privacy laws. Our laws have historically protected information held by an individual, while informationheld by third parties was either assumed to be innocuous or protected by professional codes of confidentiality. But today, third- party information has become far more comprehensive and significant.

It allows the government to carry out privacy-invading practices at “arm’s length” by piggy-backing on or actually cultivating data collection in the private sector that it could not carry out itself without serious legal or political repercussions.In this report, we look at many aspects of this trend – drawing together and setting in context many stories that in isolation might seem far less significant. The elements we examine are:

Recruitment and exhortation of individuals toserve as eyes and ears for the authorities.

Government recruitment of corporations and other private-sector organizations by forcingthem either to turn over their customer data- bases, gather and store information in way suseful to the government or join regularized systems for reporting on individuals.

Growing government partnerships with private-sector companies that specialize in building dossiers about individuals.

Lobbying by companies in favor of increased surveillance.The privatization of government functions has always been a popular way of doing business in
2
THE SURVEILLANCE-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
The privatization of government functions has always been a popular way of doing business in the United States,and surveillance is no exception.

 

 

Advertisements

About irmedeaca


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s