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Profiling is not the preserve of the state. Information gathering capabilities are desired both by those looking to control and to empower. In the surveillance marketplace who is buying and for what?


The cost of silence: mass surveillance & self-censorship

The true impact of mass surveillance on media freedom can be felt in the moments when writers hesitate to conduct internet searches. With every pause, there will be something missed, something underreported, an opportunity to question lost.

Mass surveillance: wrong in practice as well as principle

The paradox of mass state surveillance, as the answer to non-state violence, is that it can overlook the intelligence targeted law enforcement finds and render critical infrastructures vulnerable—never mind threatening fundamental freedoms.

How Israeli high-tech firms are outfitting the US-Mexico border

American academic and corporate knowhow and Mexican low-wage manufacturing are to fuse with Israel’s border and homeland security companies.

Behind the rise of the private surveillance industry in Central Asia

Multinational companies–including two listed on the NASDAQ–have been quietly providing Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with increasingly sophisticated surveillance technology to aid state repression.

How Bahrain spies on British soil

The Bahraini government has been using sophisticated malwarecomplete with technical support from its manufacturerto remotely conduct surveillance operations on its political dissidents living in the UK. 

Failure is success: how American intelligence works in the 21st century

 Is repeated failure actually the key to the success and endless expansion of the US intelligence community?  

Challenging the era of mass surveillance

Protecting our fundamental rights against the destructive effect of mass surveillance is an essential task that should engage us all.

The Fourth Branch: the rise of the national security state

Though the US may be finally addressing some of the fictions propping up its security policies, the question remains: who rules Washington? 

The UN privacy report: Five Eyes remains

Will Navi Pillay's defiant stand on privacy be the first step to dismantling the dubious legal frameworks propping up the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing arrangement? 

A clear-eyed look at mass surveillance

The Snowden revelations on mass surveillance practices, especially by the US and UK, have triggered a global struggle over the right to privacy—and a report by the outgoing UN human-rights commissioner has set the terrain for the next phase.

Mass surveillance post-Snowden: an unbalanced debate

People are entitled to privacy on the Internet just as they have a right to privacy in all other areas of their lives. Why has there been no debate about this?

Surveillance: justice, freedom and security in the EU

A discussion of European surveillance programmes cannot be reduced to the question of a balance between data protection versus national security. It has to be framed in terms of collective freedoms and democracy.

UK surveillance: justice, freedom and security in the EU

The UK government is engaged in the most extensive surveillance activities out of all EU countries - by far.

The creation of a border security state

Americans may increasingly wonder whether NSA agents are scouring their meta-data, reading their personal emails, and the like. On the US-Mexican border no imagination is necessary.

Big Brother is cashing in on you

The internet’s cookie monsters are harvesting your secrets. A £90bn industry is going unregulated and unchecked, gathering seemingly unrelated information for trade and profit. 

Invasion of the data snatchers

How Big Data and the Internet of Things means the surveillance of everything. There’s simply no way to forecast how these immense powers - disproportionately accumulating in the hands of corporations seeking financial advantage and governments craving ever more control - will be used.

Diagonal mass surveillance: Gulliver versus the Lilliputians

Mass surveillance does not follow the vertical logic of pure state surveillance as imagined by Orwell. Rather, it is diagonal – building on the information we voluntarily disclose to engage in our own "surveillance" of online friends. This makes it much more perverse.

Designed conflict territories

As the traditional role of the commons is lost to proprietary, securitised technology and authoritarian control, could designed conflict territories provide a radically different social platform where agonistic conflict could play out?

Saving privacy from deformed democracy

With focus on the government's grip over surveillance, the public debate over privacy has ignored citizen-led data initiatives to regain power in the digital age - and the war being waged against them. 

Turkey’s new internet law: policing the online mall

Since the protests in Gezi Park eight months ago freedom of expression has coming under increasing attack, both on and offline. A new law now threatens digital civil society further, handing the government excessive and arbitrary power to monitor the web.   

Surveillance: finding the culprit

We scrutinize the state for its Orwellian ambitions, but not the structures that render them feasible. Privacy debates have engaged with issues of political power and sensationalist culture, with little attention paid to the third factor  – the economic context. 

Big democracy, big surveillance: India's surveillance state

In India, surveillance is on the rise by the state to tackle crime and terrorism, and private companies are eager to meet the demand. 

The wild west of surveillance

Here we have an anatomy of a surveillance world that grows more, not less, powerful and full of itself with every passing moment and technological advance, a national security world whose global ambitions know no bounds.

Selling dictatorship

Liberal opinion has been outraged by the disclosures about US and UK electronic surveillance. Yet the most unpalatable revelation is that, in an unregulated capitalist economy, liberal democracy is always threatened with authoritarian regression.

Extending a hand or raising a fist to the state?

From mobile phones to crowdsourced election monitoring, an in-depth look at how communication technologies are transforming citizen engagement and societal accountability in Southeast Asia.

Local surveillance since 2001

The almost exclusive focus on the NSA obscures the degree to which surveillance has become integrated into almost every level of government. For most of us, the first point of contact with the surveillance state isn’t the NSA – it’s the local police department. 

America's black-ops blackout

The Pentagon has divided the whole globe like a giant pie into six slices through U.S. Special Operations Command. And in the post-9/11 era, this secretive military's reach and ambition has only grown. 

From utopia to dystopia: technology, society and what we can do about it

The superficial post-war dream that technology would solve the world’s social problems has transformed into a nightmare of electronically enabled global surveillance and suppression. Yet with consumer-oriented industries replacing the military as the main driver of innovation, citizens are acquiring tools through which they can co-ordinate their emancipation.

After Snowden: UN takes first small step to curb global surveillance

The debate on international electronic spying, blown open by the US National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden, moves this week to the United Nations General Assembly. It begins what is set to be a long battle to affirm the privacy rights of global citizens

The new German surveillance state - Merkel, Snowden and the Euro Hawk drone

In principle, Germany is a state committed to democracy and international peace. This is why three recent political scandals, which exposed the vulnerability of German citizens to the surveillance institutions of their state as well as the development of drones, came as a surprise to many. 

Snowden and state surveillance in Spain

Like most Europeans, Spaniards were shocked by revelations of extensive US spying on European citizens. Yet, there has been little or no public debate on state surveillance in Spain since then. Why not? (from our new Joining the dots series)

Rebuilding Nahr el Bared

After its destruction in the 2007 conflict, how did residents and architects go about rebuilding one of Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camps?

Cybercriminals find wonderland in developing countries

With increased Internet access and smartphone use across Latin America, Asia and Africa, organized crime networks are exploiting vulnerabilities to extend their reach - sometimes with violent results. What's the impact inside and outside cyberspace? 

New technologies cannot substitute political will

New technologies have the capacity to both emancipate and control individuals and their choices. Our pre-occupation should then concern the intrinsic moral values of users and their commitment to democratic citizenship and human rights.

Drones over the world

US drones are often thought of as focused entirely on action against Al-Qaeda and associates, particularly in Pakistan. But the CIA's expanding global net extends into the Pacific, linked to the surveillance operations of the National Security Agency.

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