Surveillant Architectures

Developing paradigms in media culture. This blog is collaboratively edited by the Surveillant Architectures Group.

Transmediale: real life and media art, as seen by the press


Und dann waren da die Medienkünstler, ihrerseits verblüffend unerschütterlich in ihrem Glauben, dass es menschenfreundlichere Algorithmen schon richten werden, ein bisschen Open-Source-Software, etwas Netz-Dezentralisierung und ein paar ganz clevere technologische Subversiongesten. Sie nennen es “Gaming the System”. Warum nicht mal das Smartphone mit all den fiesen Tracking- und Fitness-Apps ein paar Tage lang auf eine Spielzeug-Drohne kleben oder an der Hauskatze festschnallen und so die Daten verzerren? Und warum nicht mal, wie die Künstlerin Jennifer Lynn Morone, sich selbst als Firma eintragen und so zum Gründer, CEO und Produkt seiner eigenen Daten machen, um sich aus der Ohnmacht gegenüber den Datensammlern zu befreien? Smarte Gesten waren das, und in ihrer kritischen Zuversichtlichkeit doch so erschreckend wie symptomatisch hilflos.

Und das ist noch eine wohlmeinende Kritik.


Around the World Conference 2014 on Privacy and Surveillance in the Digital Age


http://aroundtheworld.ualberta.ca/the-archives/

2014 Privacy and Surveillance in the Digital Age

The Around the World Conference is an experiment that brings together a research dialogue without the environmental cost of traditional conferences. Institutes and researchers are invited to participate either through presenting or by joining in the discussion. The conference is live-streamed world-wide and archived after the event.

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Gendered surveillance


Main-Spying

When teacher Catharine Higginson, 45, discovered by accident that her husband James, 42, had installed an app on her phone which allows him to track her movements, read her texts and even listen to her conversations she didn’t plan to divorce him as her friends urged, for being creepy and intrusive.
Instead, the mum of three from Dorking, Surrey, says it makes her feel loved and safe

This is beyond creepy (via) . Make sure you get the undertones about the power structures at play here. It reads like an advert for personal tracking apps.

It also completely ignores the huge problem of women being utterly exposed to stalkers through spyware just like the one celebrated in that article. Women (it’s always women) seeking shelter from stalkers now routinely have to go through a digital quarantine, to make sure they’re really safe. See Surveillance Begins at Home and Digital Detox At The Shelter.

Another example why the NSA’s undermining of security standards is so harmful. Everyone’s mobile phones are unsafe by design. All of them have backdoors for law enforcement built in, but it’s impossible to restrict the use of those to only the ‘good guys’. As a result, creeps and criminals exploit them, too. This isn’t just about privacy, it’s about being safe from physical harm. People get killed because of this.


Drug-Buying Robot Artwork Seized By Swiss Authorities


http://animalnewyork.com/2015/drug-buying-robot-artwork-seized-swiss-authorities/

random_darknet_shopper_lead

 

We’re hoping to welcome the artists of this piece, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, as speakers at our upcoming Chaos Cologne conference in May.


Learn crypto while it’s still legal


The 1990s crypto-wars seem to get started again. Under the new proposed measures it will be illegal to use secure end-to-end crypto like GPG, or even iMessage and Whatsapp. It’s even more important to learn how to use it then. We’re going to have another Cryptoparty at the upcoming Chaos.Cologne conference here at the KHM in May. Or just talk to us and we’ll show you how. It’s not hard to get started.

The news:
http://www.sueddeutsche.de/digital/fnord-1.2314768

http://boingboing.net/2015/01/13/what-david-cameron-just-propos.html

What you can do:
Surveillance Self-Defense (in English) https://ssd.eff.org/
Digitale Selbstverteidigung (auf deutsch) https://digitalcourage.de/support/digitale-selbstverteidigung


in the words of our video analysis provider,


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All Cameras Are Police Cameras


All Cameras Are Police Cameras
Great essay by James Bridle, about the advances in locking down public space.

Surveillance images are all “before” images, in the sense of “before and after”. The “after” might be anything: an earthquake, a riot, a protest, a war. Any system reliant on flow, which is all networks from vehicle traffic to commercial supply to video feeds to the internet itself, view disruptions within the same negative moral context. Surveillance images attain the status of evidence for unknown crimes the moment they are created, and merely await the identification of the moment they were created for. Automated imagery criminalises its subject.

Read on for what happened just walking down the streets of London documenting security cameras.

http://shorttermmemoryloss.com/nor/

I wonder what happened to the imagery here? Strangely drained of colour and, presumably, all meta data.


“Citizen Four” next week


As we’re going to go to Dortmund to see “Citizen Four” next week, here are some hand picked articles about the background to the film and its making.

Laura Poitras on Filming Edward Snowden and Her New Documentary About Him, Citizenfour – in Vogue Magazine! A reminder of how far this story has infected everyone’s minds now http://www.vogue.com/2865709/laura-poitras-edward-snowden-documentary-citzenfour

Berlin’s digital exiles: where tech activists go to escape the NSA http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/09/berlins-digital-exiles-tech-activists-escape-nsa I sent this to some British friends to try and explain why I’m so upset.

Plus an older interview with Constanze Kurz, about the Berlin exile scene. By Jörg Heiser. http://frieze-magazin.de/archiv/kolumnen/spurlos-verbunden/?lang=en (also available auf deutsch http://frieze-magazin.de/archiv/kolumnen/spurlos-verbunden/ )

 


FBI’s “Suicide Letter” to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


This is nasty.

FBI’s “Suicide Letter” to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Dangers of Unchecked Surveillance

mlkletters

BoingBoing gives some context:

We’ve known for years that the FBI spied on Martin Luther King’s personal life and sent him an anonymous letter in 1964 threatening to out him for his sexual indiscretions unless he killed himself in 34 days. Now we have an unredacted version of the notorious letter.

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out, the practice of spying on the personal lives of activists and blackmailing them in order to disrupt political movements is alive and well — for example, there’s the UK spy agency GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group (JTRIG), whose mission (documented in a Snowden leak) is to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt enemies by discrediting them.”

The implications of these types of strategies in the digital age are chilling. Imagine Facebook chats, porn viewing history, emails, and more made public to discredit a leader who threatens the status quo, or used to blackmail a reluctant target into becoming an FBI informant. These are not far-fetched ideas. They are the reality of what happens when the surveillance state is allowed to grow out of control, and the full King letter, as well as current intelligence community practices illustrate that reality richly.

mlkletters-large


Christa Pfafferoth’s “Another World”


Thank you again Christa for presenting your film in our seminar! http://www.christa-pfafferott.de/works/andere-welt/

Christa Pfafferoth andere welt 1