surveillance

The logic of capital online

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Shoshana Zuboff’s new book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, explores the world of the giant tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon. We all know they collect our data for profitable uses; how deeply does this affect capitalist relations, asks Joseph Choonara.

I was part of the last generation in Britain to experience childhood before the Internet. It still seemed miraculous when, in the mid-1990s, it became possible to browse the Web, using search engines such as Altavista and Lycos — Google being as yet neither a search engine nor a verb.

The Internet had none of the pervasiveness it has today. Mobile phones, for those who had them, were mostly used for phone calls. Beyond my university computer room, going online meant using a dial-up modem with speeds one thousandth of my current connection.

Age of Terror: Art since 9/11

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This exhibition of artists’ responses to conflict since the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001 ranges from sculpture to video installations.

It includes well known pieces such as Ai Weiwei’s marble surveillance camera on a plinth, Ivan Navarro’s “inverted columns” effect created with mirrors, as well as the vase Grayson Perry was working on as the terror attacks happened, which he proceeded to embellish with possible figures and comments possibly made by those caught up in the bombing of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Taking the pics

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The average Londoner is captured some 300 times a day on CCTV cameras.

But the Metropolitan Police have stepped in to clarify who may, and may not, take photographs. Its latest advertising encourages Londoners to look out for suspicious looking photographers, as they might be "making notes about security measures, like the location of CCTV cameras". (Note to Al Qaida: they are located everywhere.)

Personality Disorder: The Home Office's pre-emptive injustice programme

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Our world is one of security cameras, personal information databases and, of course, the potentially ever increasing 28 days of detention without charge under the Terrorism Act. One wonders what the next level is.

The Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD) programme set up by the Home Office (now part of the Ministry of Justice) to "protect" the public may just be that next level. It includes four units so far, totalling about 300 places, at Broadmoor and Rampton hospitals, and Frankland and Whitemoor prisons, with the prospect of expansion.

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