Show Less
Restricted access

Surveillance | Society | Culture


Edited By Florian Zappe and Andrew S. Gross

What only a few decades ago would have been considered a totalitarian nightmare seems to have become reality: Surveillance practices and technologies have infiltrated all aspects of our lives, forcing us to reconsider established notions of privacy, subjectivity, and the status of the individual in society. The United States is central to contemporary concerns about surveillance. American companies are at the forefront of developing surveillance technologies; and government agencies, in the name of security and law and order, are monitoring our words and actions more than ever before. This book brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore the implications of what many consider to be a far-reaching social, political, and cultural transformation.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Surveillance – A Complex Relationship


“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” — Benjamin Franklin

Abstract: This essay attempts to draw conclusions from different types of surveillance. It begins with ancient surveillance in one fragment of Critias the Sophist. Considerations on Shakespeare’s Hamlet and on the film Alphaville from Godard will follow. The conclusions may seem to be disastrous: The non-symmetrical power relations implicit in surveillance create structures that are vulnerable to blackmail. (1) Intelligence-based surveillance needs Internet insecurity to monitor populations in order to protect them from evil elements. (2) Knowledge of Internet insecurity can be and has been leaked. (3) Evil elements profit from Internet insecurity in order to attack the private economy and public infrastructure.

Keywords: Symmetric, asymmetric and non-symmetric surveillance; Sophism; Critias; Shakespeare’s Hamlet; Godard’s Alphaville; systemic consequences of surveillance; social security

Surveillance is generally practiced and regarded as an asymmetrical relationship. Asymmetrical controls are structures of strict order which cannot be altered. The parent-child relation, for instance, is a traditional type of that kind. Children are children of parents and parents are parents of children in all possible contexts. Children can wish not to be children of their parents and parents may wish not to be parents of their children. None of them, however, can avoid this relationship.

Love (or even hate or envy) constitutes a different kind of relationship which appears to be symmetrical: Romeo loves Juliet and Juliet loves Romeo. But...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.