Monday, November 26, 2007

Mass Surveillance in Prison America®

The Panopticon is defined as a prison so constructed that the inspector can see each of the prisoners at all times, without being seen. This is an accurate description of the accelerating movement by western governments to erect giant, powerful, all-pervading mass surveillance, tracking and control grids that will keep all populations firmly under the baleful and watchful gaze of Big Brother.

We are still debating the NSA listening to foreign calls from the US when the NSA admitted twenty years ago that they were listening to domestic US calls under the Echelon program. This is de-classified and public but the media acts like they don't know about it.

Why is there even a debate about if they are tracking and tracing us when RFID transponders are going in cars nationwide to follow our every movement?

This system has already been partly implemented in Britain with barely a whimper of dissent.

You can call your cell phone company, ask them where you are and they will tell you down to a few feet. That is a federal operation that's hooked into the NSA right at this moment and about to be hooked into every major police department and squad car. Your name, everything about you, what you're doing, where you're going and the cop can punch in a few keys and use your phone as an audio sensor.

Major cities such as Austin, Texas installed gunshot detection microphones. The government assured us that they respect our privacy but the very companies installing them bragged about how they can listen to a kid on the street talking to his friend two hundred yards away.

And now, from Rochester New York to Austin Texas to Chicago, the government has announced that they are being used as microphones and they will be used to listen to us.

Big Neighbor is Watching

He's a friendly guy and you let him into your house because he is delivering
an air conditioner on a sweltering day in August. And he makes some amiable
conversation, the guy loves your house and when you show him around,
he's blown away by all those old 60's posters on the wall.
"Must have been a great time" he declares.

The delivery guy leaves and you forget him and concentrate on the air conditioner
and getting cool. But the guy doesn't forget about you, on the contrary, he makes
a full report about your posters to Homeland Security. It seems he has another job,
that runs parallel to his deliveries and installations. The friendly man who loves
your house is an informant volunteer for the Justice Department's new agency and
its nationwide program of participatory dictatorship called TIPS.

All over America postmen, parcel deliverers and all kinds of repair people and truck
drivers are being recruited and trained in the paranoiac practice of reporting on the
suspicious or unusual behavior of their fellow citizens. It is perhaps the most terrifying of the various tyrannical measures that have been employed by George Bush since September 11 in order to insure the preservation of American freedom.

Getting citizens to spy on their neighbors in large numbers, and FEMA plans to beat
East Germany's record, involves the destruction of our civil society and the
replacement of communal sensibility with chilling paranoia.

When Big Neighbor is watching, the necessary distance beteen society and state
is pushed aside and we are left with massive mistrust, fear and a sense that
1984 wasn't just a scary book.

Usually repression does not base itself on the mass recruiting of prolitarians.
But in this lazy consumerist age when so many people have their objects of desire
delivered to their door and a multitude of workers get to see where you live, it
makes sense that at least the most mobile members of the working class would be
eagerly sought out for snooping and betrayals of trust and the good neighbor policy.

Some American workers will be taught how to parley a friendly smile into amateur
espionage. To keep things fair, everyone in the country, even rich people, will be
encouraged to spy on their neighbors. The TIPS informants will have stickers prominently displayed on their vehicles offering phone numbers where the stray snoop and gossip can call in information about any observed offbeat behavior and eccentric happenings.


annie said...

"Section 880. Prohibition of the Terrorism Information and Prevention System—Any and all activities of the Federal Government to implement the proposed component program of the Citizen Corps known as Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System) are hereby prohibited."

i don't think TIPS ever made it off the ground. although.. you never know..

i like your blog.

chlamor said...

Thanks annie. Here's an interview on the subject that might be of interest to you. Hopefully the link will work, if not the title can be googled.

Surveillance in America
An Interview With Christian Parenti

This is an interview with Christian Parenti hosted by Christopher Sprinkle for Flashpoints, a daily news magazine show heard on KPFA 94.1 FM, Berkeley, California, and other Pacifica Radio stations including affiliates, and produced by Dennis Bernstein, which aired on October 29, 2003. The subject of the interview is Parenti’s (2003) book, The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America From Slavery to the War on Terror. In his book, Parenti applied sociological analysis to the history of surveillance and the industry of dataveillance. He traced the history of surveillance in America back to its early use in monitoring slaves through World War II when the Nazis used IBM computers to help implement the final solution. In this interview, Parenti concisely described key aspects of his book while applying traditional sociological theoretical analysis to his findings. This compact and insightful interview neatly and sociologically extends traditional debates beyond public collective memory issues into a discussion about how private intelligence industries, which own, "mine," and sell collected "commodity memory," are affecting American society.

I'm guessing that TIPS has been absorbed into different intelligence apparatus after the bad publicity it received. These don't ever seem to die. Neither do the various characters. Ashcroft just received a multi-million dollar contract from The Justice Dept. (I believe that's who it was) and no doubt the invaluable Admiral Poindexter is using his talents to create more surveillance networks for The Homeland.

annie said...

thanks chlamor, i will check your link. i thought of your today when i read this article

Firefighters asked to report people who express discontent with the government

now that paints an awfully broad stroke don't it!

Unlike law enforcement officials, firemen can go onto private property without a warrant, not only while fighting fires but also for inspections. "It's the evolution of the fire service," said a Phoenix, AZ fire chief of his information-sharing arrangement with law enforcement.

an evolution? that's one way of looking at way of looking at it i suppose.

Anonymous said...

new and improved DHS ready to be cut loose for a new form of Security for the glorious Homeland...

...all hail the National Applications Office, a very vaguely named entity that will be worse than J Edgar Hoover's obsessive pursuit of dirt on every living American.