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robertogreco : bigbrother   8

Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power by Byung-Chul Han – review | Books | The Guardian
"The new surveillance society that has arisen since 1984, argues Han, works differently yet is more elegantly totalitarian and oppressive than anything described by Orwell or Jeremy Bentham. “Confession obtained by force has been replaced by voluntary disclosure,” he writes. “Smartphones have been substituted for torture chambers.” Well, not quite. Torture chambers still exist, it’s just that we in the neoliberal west have outsourced them (thanks, rendition flights) so that that obscenity called polite society can pretend they don’t exist.

Nonetheless, what capitalism realised in the neoliberal era, Han argues, is that it didn’t need to be tough, but seductive. This is what he calls smartpolitics. Instead of saying no, it says yes: instead of denying us with commandments, discipline and shortages, it seems to allow us to buy what we want when we want, become what we want and realise our dream of freedom. “Instead of forbidding and depriving it works through pleasing and fulfilling. Instead of making people compliant, it seeks to make them dependent.”

Your smartphone, for Han, is crucial in this respect, the multifunctional tool of our auto-exploitation. We are all Big Brother now. It is in part Catholicism with better technology, a modern rosary that is handheld confessional and effective surveillance apparatus in one. “Both the rosary and the smartphone serve the purpose of self-monitoring and control,” he explains. “Power operates more effectively when it delegates surveillance to discrete individuals.” And we queue overnight to get the latest model: we desire our own domination. No wonder the motto for Han’s book is US video artist Jenny Holzer’s slogan: “Protect me from what I want.”

Han considers that the old form of oppressive capitalism that found its personification in Big Brother has found its most resonant expression in Bentham’s notion of a panopticon, whereby all inmates of an institution could be observed by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they were being watched. Bentham’s invention in turn catalysed French theorist Michel Foucault’s reflections on the disciplinary, punishing power that arose with industrial capitalism, leading him to coin the term biopolitics. Because the body was the central force in industrial production, Han argues, then a politics of disciplining, punishing and perfecting the body was understandably central to Foucault’s notion of how power worked.

But in the west’s deindustrialised, neoliberal era, such biopolitics is obsolete. Instead, by means of deploying “big data”, neoliberalism has tapped into the psychic realm and exploited it, with the result that, as Han colourfully puts it, “individuals degrade into the genital organs of capital”. Consider that the next time you’re reviewing your Argos purchase, streaming porn or retweeting Paul Mason. Instead of watching over human behaviour, big data’s digital panopticon subjects it to psychopolitical steering."



"At least in Nineteen Eighty-Four, nobody felt free. In 2017, for Han, everybody feels free, which is the problem. “Of our own free will, we put any and all conceivable information about ourselves on the internet, without having the slightest idea who knows what, when or in what occasion. This lack of control represents a crisis of freedom to be taken seriously.”"



"No matter. How might we resist psychopolitics? In this respect, Han cuts an intriguing figure. He rarely makes public appearances or gives interviews (and when he does he requires journalists turn off their recorders ), his Facebook page seems to have been set up by Spanish admirers, and only recently did he set up an email address which he scarcely uses. He isn’t ungooglable nor yet off the grid, but rather professor at Berlin’s University of the Arts and has written 16 mostly lovely, slender volumes of elegant cultural critique (I particularly recommend The Burnout Society, The Scent of Time, Saving Beauty and The Expulsion of the Other – all available in English) and is often heralded, along with Markus Gabriel and Richard David Precht, as a wunderkind of a newly resurgent and unprecedentedly readable German philosophy.

For all that, and I mean this as a compliment, Byung-Chul Han is an idiot. He writes: “Thoroughgoing digital networking and communication have massively amplified the compulsion to conform. The attendant violence of consensus is suppressing idiotisms.”

Indeed, the book’s last chapter is called “Idiotism”, and traces philosophy’s rich history of counter-cultural idiocy. Socrates knew only one thing, namely that he knew nothing. Descartes doubted everything in his “I think therefore I am”. Han seeks to reclaim this idiotic tradition. In an age of compulsory self-expression, he cultivates the twin heresies of secrets and silence.

Perhaps similarly, for our own well being, in our age of overspeak and underthink, we should learn the virtue of shutting up."
capitalism  latecapitalism  technology  politics  2017  biopolitics  byung-chulhan  stuartjeffries  1984  freedom  control  data  mobile  phones  facebook  twitter  conformity  conformism  amazon  internet  web  online  markusgabriel  richarddavidprecht  philosophy  idiocy  overspeak  underthink  thinking  communication  neoliberalism  foucault  power  smartphones  bigbrother  catholicsm  jennyholzer  desire  michelfoucault 
january 2018 by robertogreco
The Drone as Privacy Catalyst - Stanford Law Review
"Daniel Solove has argued that the proper metaphor for contemporary privacy violations is not the Big Brother of Orwell’s 1984, but the inscrutable courts of Franz Kafka’s The Trial.[11] I agree, and believe that the lack of a coherent mental model of privacy harm helps account for the lag between the advancement of technology and privacy law. There is no story, no vivid and specific instance of a paradigmatic privacy violation in a digital universe, upon which citizens and lawmakers can premise their concern.

Drones and other robots have the potential to restore that mental model. They represent the cold, technological embodiment of observation. Unlike, say, NSA network surveillance or commercial data brokerage, government or industry surveillance of the populace with drones would be visible and highly salient. People would feel observed, regardless of how or whether the information was actually used. The resulting backlash could force us to reexamine not merely the use of drones to observe, but the doctrines that today permit this use."
drones  privacy  law  legal  robots  danielsolove  mryancalo  nsa  technology  surveillance  bigbrother  1984  georgeorwell  government  industry  data 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Matt Hern » On enterprise
"I often wonder how we reached situation when honorable words like ‘enterprise’, ‘initiative’ & ‘self-help’ are automatically associated w/ political right & defense of capitalism, while it is assumed that political left stands for big brother state w/ responsibility to provide pauper’s income for all & inflation-proof income for its own functionaries.

90 years ago people’s mental image of a socialist was a radical self-employed cobbler, sitting in his shop w/ a copy of William Morris’ Useful Work vs Useless Toil on the workbench, his hammer in his hand & his lips full of brass tacks. His mind was full of notions of liberating his fellow workers from industrial serfdom in a dark satanic mill. No doubt the current mental picture is of a university lecturer w/ a copy of The Inevitable Crisis of Capitalism in one hand & a banner labelled ‘Fight the Cuts’ in the other, while his mind is full of strategies for unseating the sitting Labour candidate in the local pocket borough."
matthern  colinward  capitalism  socialism  history  left  right  work  labor  change  bigbrother  1985  self-help  initiative  enterprise 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Big Brother in Japan? University tracks students via free iPhones
"The catch is that the iPhone will basically be used as a tracking device with which the university can control if its students are physically on campus or not (the main goal is to prevent cheating during roll calls).
hownottodoit  mobile  phones  bigbrother  surveillance  japan  learning  education  universities  colleges 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Schneier on Security: Security vs. Privacy
"The debate isn't security versus privacy. It's liberty versus control...If you set up the false dichotomy, of course people will choose security over privacy -- especially if you scare them first. But it's still a false dichotomy."
government  economics  privacy  rights  security  society  bruceschneier  politics  us  policy  cryptography  control  democracy  liberty  freedom  paranoia  fascism  terrorism  surveillance  censorship  anonymity  bigbrother  identity  law  datamining  fear 
january 2008 by robertogreco
With friends like these ... Tom Hodgkinson on the politics of the people behind Facebook | Technology | The Guardian
"We are seeing the commodification of human relationships, the extraction of capitalistic value from friendships." "Thiel is more than just a clever and avaricious capitalist. He is a futurist philosopher and neocon activist."
facebook  security  privacy  gamechanging  technology  democracy  capitalism  politics  advertising  ads  bigbrother  beacon  criticism  critique  culture  data  identity  freedom  future  fascism  economics  socialmedia  socialnetworking  socialnetworks  socialsoftware  society  surveillance  social  trust  trends  online  internet  information  community 
january 2008 by robertogreco
MobHappy » Blog Archive » New Google Maps for Mobile Shows Your Location, Even Without GPS
"Google has released another upgrade to Google Maps for Mobile, which in addition to GPS support, can now show users without GPS their location."
googlemaps  gps  bigbrother  google  maps  mobile  phones  location  location-based  locative 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Big Brother State - - An animated short about public surveillance by David Scharf
"an animated educational film designed in an infographic style about what politicians claim to be protection of freedom, but what is here referred to as "repressive legislation". - via infosthetics.com
surveillance  terrorism  trust  video  politics  privacy  media  freedom  activism  bigbrother  computers  travel  security 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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