Posted by: coloradokiwi | May 9, 2008

An exercise in empathetic spying (or, Foucault would laugh his ass off — sardonically, of course)

This is simply brilliant.

It also underscores the whole point of protecting privacy, particularly given the actions of the DHS, DOJ, and EOP:  it doesn’t matter whether people have “nothing to hide,” the point is that our lives are our own, and people of authority have repeatedly abused their power to see terrorists where there are none, make connections that aren’t significant or in some cases even real, and utilize this information to either (A) directly trample on the rights of individuals or (B) plant within the culture at large the mentality of the panopticon, whereby if we believe someone’s watching at all times, we will discipline ourselves to fall into line.  This goes beyond merely being “not a terrorist,” to avoiding any activities that would even begin to raise suspicion, which in this environment (which is to say, currently a right-leaning quasi-fascist environment in which at the moment we have no right to habeas corpus, and the President has the authority to detain any American citizen at his discretion) doing anything which does not adhere to a very particular ideological notion of what is “patriotic” or what might be “suspicious,” including most kinds of dissent.  

This is not to protect us from terrorists, this is to protect the government (and/or the corporate oligarchy) from the people.  



  1. Love it. Nicely executed on Hunter’s part. I’ve thought similar things for a long time, but usually just spit and kick a can and send a rude email they can pick up in the next data sweep.

    I thought, though, that you were going to link us to Hasan Elahi, who was on Colbert this week. Check it out.

    Colbert interview:

    Web site:

    WaPo article:

    Truly brilliant.

  2. Dude, check again: I did link to Elahi (albeit via wikipedia). His personal site is also bril, btw.

    Incidentally: I’m wondering whether at this stage sousveillance is a snarky but ultimately limited means of protest. Surely there’s a way to make it really, really hilariously awesome and politically useful beyond its normal scope? Elahi claims that providing information for free puts the intel folks out of business in a sense, but that doesn’t quite wash. This thing needs to be pushed much further.

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