Nils Reichert on Thu, 5 Oct 2017 05:58:56 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> China’s dystopian push to revolutionize surveillance

Hi Molly,

thank you!
And sorry for the late reply.

I'm specifically interested in the history of (admittedly mainly
western, even european) subjectivity.
There have been a lot of instances of the police-state in the 20th
century and prejudicial profiling has been a thing since the end of
segregation with e.g. use of phrenology in criminal investigations going
back to the 19th century.

The aim to know beforehand the behaviour of a certain stereotyped group
or shall we say clientel also easily goes hand in hand with capitalism.
Therefore it can be seen as mainly a modern phenomenom. My current
understandig coming from literary studies implicates that for example
in autobiographic writing, a change took place in the relation between
the subject and the ruler (also: god) during the advent of modernity.
It changed from the former trying to justify its life as part of the
plan of the latter to the subject presenting to its sucessors how its
life could be steered through a greater plan (and prediction!) of its
more global sourroundings.
Now giving the power of prediction back to some higher, not
semantically but structurally esoteric instance, could indicate a
return for bourgeoise culture to the former relation, as indicated
in another threads headline «return to feudalism».

Deleuze is obviously the right direction for me to look into for an
update on Foucaultian themes. Somehow I wasn't aware of the
Postscript on the Societies of Control.
But it (and of course the further discussiones you linked to) are just
what I was looking for.

Thanks again

Am Wed, 27 Sep 2017 14:33:35 -0700
schrieb Molly Hankwitz <>:

> Hi Nils,
> Maybe this helps...with big data, social types can be formed as
> "likely" to misbehave from cross-referencing and aggregating the data
> from facial recognition, for instance - if suppositions about social
> types (are men of color more likely to commit crime? - obviously
> not,  but without any broader social understanding of crime, this
> idea gains traction, and their statistical likelihood becomes the
> dominant metric for assuming - based on "collected data" -- this
> "social type" will commit crime or misbehave...Policing
> regimes/systems will track, locate and increase widespread
> surveillance not only upon that "type" but, also, upon individuals
> who fit that description, regardless of their criminal records. Of
> course, this is highly problematic because it means blanket
> surveillance of a social group based in prejudicial data sets to
> begin with...and probably the unjust arrest and punishment of men of
> color. US system already works this way without high-technology. Look
> at American jails. Cookies and spyware and other tracking tools such
> as motion capture cameras which collect motion and facial and
> thumbprint data ensconce users and bystanders in mechanization of
> social control. To me a function of the growing police state, and no
> amount of safety is worth this pernicious separation of 'state' from
> 'citizen'.
> But, for readings, I'm thinking of the useful Deleuze  presenting us
> with an ideal type for the society of control - the "man in debt" for
> instance... as the
> perfect inhabitant.  (great essay by him, Postscripts on the
> Societies of Control.
> and the direction here - in Trump's anti-immigrant police-state -
> regardingplanned collection of social media data by DHS from
> immigrants, naturalized citizens, and others in US.
> or  background on business data mining -
> or here: rules for data collection from social media on specific
> groups:
> molly
> On Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 2:00 PM, Nils Reichert <
>> wrote:  
> > Am Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:54:30 +0200
> > schrieb Felix Stalder <>:
> >  
> > > As part of a new multimillion-dollar project in Xinjiang, the
> > > Chinese government is attempting to “build a fortress city with
> > > technologies.” If this sounds Orwellian, that’s because it is.
> > > According to the Sina online news portal, the project is supposed
> > > to strengthen the authorities’ hands against unexpected social
> > > unrest. Using “big data” from various sources, including the
> > > railway system and visitors’ systems in private residential
> > > compounds, its ultimate aim is to “predict … individuals and
> > > vehicles posing heightened risks” to public safety.  
> >
> > This may be a cultural thing but I'm struck by the casualness of
> > this “ultimate aim”. While a lot of discussions about surveillance
> > still follow the idea of a panopticon, big data could be (once
> > again) a step from avoidance of misbehaviour through predictable
> > punishment to predictable misbehaviour leading to avoidance and
> > self-punishment. The difference is most eminent when it comes to
> > the position of knowledge:
> > I know that I will be seen and I will be punished (but despite all
> > coercion could still decide to misbehave)
> > vs.
> > The system knows I might misbehave and is going to intervene before
> > I make up my mind. (Disobedience is only possible through a loss of
> > self-determination.)
> >
> >
> > Maybe this is nonsense or just common sense but anyway I'd be
> > thankful for any greater outlooks on this perspective, reading
> > suggestions etc…
> >
> >
> > nr
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