Originally posted in Teknokultura
The truth suspected by many has been corroborated through the documents leaked by Edward Snowden in June 2013. These documents are evidence of the existence of a massive surveillance plan designed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), in collaboration with other national agencies and private companies.
The first document leaked to the media showed the agreement between the NSA and the communications company Verizon, which grants access to the metadata of all calls made inside the US. It was further announced that the fiber optic cables that transport the network and telephone information are tapped, and their data copied and stored. It then became known that there are governmental agreements with technological corporations, such as Facebook, Google, Skype, Yahoo and Hotmail, to warrant the NSA complete access to the users’ data. There is also proof that presidents, ministers and high level politicians worldwide have been intensively spied upon. In short, any citizen can be easily monitored.
The NSA has admitted that they monitor 1.6% of the world’s Internet data flow. However, digital technologies evolve exponentially in their capacity of storage, management and analysis. So the question is, what is the actual information processing capacity? In this sense, governmental surveillance converges with marketing and entertainment industries in the development of more sophisticated techniques of data analysis and social profiling. The “information revolution,” known as Big Data, tests these techniques to improve commercial success, however they can easily be transferred to systems of public management and social control.
The capacity for control from digital technologies was already known, but the leak of original documents was necessary to open up a public debate. Now, it is also necessary that we do not settle this debate in conformist terms, such as the expressed ideas: “what I say or do is not relevant”, “I don’t have anything to hide”, etc. In Teknokultura, we want to make a call to critical intellectuals and activists to improve the analysis of the situation and to visualize joint lines of action. To such an end, we are looking for texts that answer any of the following questions or related ideas:
Analysis and diagnosis of the situation
- What is the structure and what are the techniques used to capture and exploit the data? What technical details are important to know?
- What are the relations and roles of the different entities and social agents involved: secret agencies (NSA, CIA, etc), technological corporations (Google, Facebook, Apple, IBM), and Data Mining companies, etc.?
- What is the relationship between global surveillance and other dimensions of analysis, such as geopolitics, social movements, the global economy and/or the financial crisis?
Forms of resistance
- What are some of the options for global resistance, collectively and individually? What are the projects in development?
- How can we counteract the inertia of the conformist attitudes that suggest that we accept the ongoing global control processes?
- What technical knowledge and social attitudes are necessary to become a resistant citizen against surveillance?
We invite you to answer any of these questions or make other make other suggestions that will question the hegemonic interpretations of the actual situation.
You can submit a long article (7000 words max) for the <<Karpeta>> section (main section), preferably with research data and/or in an academic style. You can also submit a short text (2500 words max) for the <<Dis/regarding of>> section, in which we encourage a more dynamic style in presenting ideas, data and new perspectives.
Inquiries: March 31, 2014
Articles: May 15, 2014
Publication date: July 15, 2014.
Sources and related documents:
NSA Files Decoded. What the revelations mean to you. The Guardian
Timeline of Edward Snowden’s revelations. Aljazeera
Interactive Graphics: The NSA’s Spy Catalog
Jacob Appelbaum Speech at Chaos Computer Conference 2013
The Real Privacy Problem. Evgeny Morozov. MIT Technology Press