Policing the Convergence of Virtual and Material Worlds

"The True Object of Police is Man."


In the late 17th Century, German political theorists developed a meta-notion of policing and gave it a name: Polizeiwissenschaft. The term embraces broad policy and policing functions. In The Foucault Effect, Colin Gordon assembled a pastiche of snipped citations and paraphrases to convey the ambitious sweep of the object and the practices of Polizeiwissenschaft. I've reshuffled this mini-mosaic (below):

Life is the object of police: the indispensable, the useful, and the superfluous ... Police 'sees to living;' 'the objects which it embraces are in some sense indefinite ... [The task of] calculating detailed action appropriate to an infinity of unforeseeable and contingent circumstances is met by [the desire to create] an exhaustive detailed knowledge of reality... [that extends from cataloging the behavior of masses to the micro-details of an individual's life]. . Police is a science of endless lists and classifications ... a knowledge of inexhaustibly detailed and continuous control ... a kind of economic pastorate of men and things ... where the population is likened to a herd and flock ... [1]

Compare the vision of these Polizeiwissenschaft theorists, as described by Foucault and Gordon, to this description of the near-future, as portrayed by Albrecht and McIntyre:

Imagine a world where your every purchase is monitored and recorded and your every belonging is numbered ... [Imagine] someone ... in another country has a record of everything that you have ever bought or owned ... every item of clothing... What's more, these items can be tracked remotely... [and] you can also be tracked and monitored remotely through the things you wear, carry and interact with every day. [This is the vision of] the world that Wal-Mart, Target, Gillette, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, IBM, and [various entities of] the U.S. government want to usher in [by 2015, through the use of cheap, ubiquitous and nearly invisible Radio Frequency Identification technologies]. [2]

More than three centuries later, the actual, possible and probable use for "an Internet of Things" has met the knowledge production requirements and governance agenda of 18th Century Polizeiwissenschaft theorists. In Postscript on the Societies of Control, Deleuze explained the key change that has reanimated the neo-Polizeiwissenschaft project:

In disciplinary societies, the individual passes from one closed environment to another: the family; the school; the barracks, the factory ... Now, societies of control, operating with computers, are replacing disciplinary societies ...

Enclosures are molds ... but controls are a modulation ... that continuously change... perpetual training replaces the school, and continuous control replaces the examination.

The numerical language of control is made of codes that [allow or disallow] access to information. We no longer deal with the mass/individual pair. Individuals have become "dividuals," samples, data, markets, or "banks."

The operation of markets is now the instrument of social control ... short-term and rapid, but also continuous and without limit, while discipline was of long duration, infinite and discontinuous ... [3]

One center for these new modulations of social control is the emerging "Internet of Things," where data collection and analysis devices are ubiquitous, interactive, hyper-intensive, decentralized, cheap and mobile. [4] Freed from the need for permanent enclosures (to observe, record, shape and discipline) by iterating generations of smaller, cheaper, faster and more powerful RFID and GPS chips, the capacity for continuous observation, judgment and control of "men and things" becomes broader, and deeper. As a constituent feature of this moment, these ubiquitous and mobile technologies de facto shred "taken-for-granted" categories of late modernity, such as the once-conventional distinctions between public and private.

The competing raisons d'être for these new forms of social control are many. For Gordon (citing Bentham), the core raison d'être remains security:

[Ideas and practices of] security embrace the future; subsistence, abundance, equality may be regarded only for a moment only; but security implies an extension in point of time with respect to all the benefits to which it is applied. Security is therefore the principal object. [5]

The rapid diffusion, installation and maintenance of security systems are a signature feature of contemporary social reality throughout the developed world. These systems are diverse and profuse assemblages. They include (but are not limited to) the following: The 9/11 intensification of digital/visual surveillance across metropolises in North America and Western Europe; the wholesale algorithmic perusal of phone and email traces in the dataminer's quest to detect "non-obvious" terrorist networks; the rampant corporatist drive to "lock down" the circulation of cultural products, through restrictive technological delivery formats such as Digital Rights Management (DRM), reinforced by anti-circumvention/decryption penalties, in the 1998 U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and so forth. Conversely, these technologies have spun off other complex effects, borne from a not-always-welcomed (and often contingent) transparency into events and the continuum of motivations expressed by previously shrouded actors. Digital trails reveal public malfeasance, corporate greed, the inventiveness of identity thieves and scammers, the cruelty of war, the arrogance, ignorance and stupidity of some governmental and corporate regulators, all while promoting a myriad of productive alliances across societies, or segments of a society, that may have been imagined, but were never before possible.

Taken as a whole, these "surveillant assemblages" of governance are a constituent element of an "economic pastorate of men and things," where the objects of policing have again become fixated on "the cheapness of commodities, public security and cleanliness," as they were for Polizeiwissenschaft practitioners (the Cameralists) and Adam Smith. [6] At the end of the modern and its trailing iterations, this Polizeiwissenschaft trinity of desired effects uncannily embodies key tenets of contemporary security and economic practices, as well as political philosophy. [7] A key point of confluence between the Cameralist/Polizeiwissenschaft project of the mid-18th Century and our digital present is explored, in the section below. (As the three tables in the Appendix demonstrate, there are broad, significant, multiple and even uncanny parallels between the problematics and practices of mid-18th Century Cameralism, as a mode of governance, and the problematics and practices of early 21st Century Imperial neo-liberalism).

For the purposes of the proximate exposition, the most salient point of confluence consists of a historical discussion of what Polizeiwissenschaft theorists meant by this notion of an "economic pastorate of men and things," and how their formulation is relevant in the current moment. That section is followed by an examination of competing claims made about the imminent and ubiquitous deployment of a contemporary technological surveillance artifact (RFID chips). After this exposition, the essay relocates the relevance of the notion of "an economic pastorate," in the context of the impending diffusion and implementation of cheap micro-surveillance devices, such as RFID chips, and the militant expansion of intellectual property claims and enforcement mechanisms, in the early 21st Century.

Iteration One: An Economic Pastorate of "Men and Things"

Polizeiwissenschaft theorists fixated on the administration of populations. As Markus Dirk Dubber points out, for these theorists, the management of humans was indistinguishable (in conceptual and practical forms) from managing objects. [8] And, the ¸ber analogy for Polizeiwissenschaft theorists and practitioners was this: The principles for the proper supervision of a domestic household were functionally identical with the principles of effective statecraft, practiced properly:

There were human resources, and natural resources. The mode of the resource [was irrelevant] ... all resources were to be utilized by the householder so as to maximize the welfare of the state-household ... police consists of "the good order and constitution of a state's persons and things ... arranged so as to lead to a convenient end"... Even in the [proto-] statistical world of population management [that defined 18th Century Polizeiwissenschaft, as prescription and practice] police remained rooted in [effective and correct practices of] private [and meticulous] householding [of individuals, goods and finances] [9]

As Dubber notes, these claims are consistent with the etymology of economy. The word is derived from the Greek oikos (house) and nomos (laws). As such, economy initially meant the effective (micro-managerial) patriarchal oversight of a family. [10]

In her article on the striking similarities between the policies of Meiji Japan and Cameralism, Katalin Ferber echoes this observation:

This concept found its counterpart in the original concept of ... Oekonomie, which offered Cameralists a unified concept of household and state finances ... [Cameralism] treated social actors as active contributors to the state wealth but, at the same time, as passive recipients of state orders. [11]

And those state orders went far beyond fiscal and foreign policy, David Burchell notes:

[The goals of] police administration in Germany [were also] ... aimed at [producing] a concerted ethical and spiritual reformation of the population, as well as of its manners and outward demeanor. Social discipline aimed to instill a new "attitude", a new style of ethical comportment ...'"by a closer connection between the moral realm and the life-style of the population" ... inculcat[ing] social virtues. [12]

All of this is recognizable in the prescriptions of the Cameralist Polizeiwissenschaft theorists, who fused patriarchy, militarism, due obedience, economic micro-management, and moral suasion. It's equally recognizable in current neo-liberal regimes, albeit in different formats and forms. These new communication and commodity formats and content forms reflect new types of property, and mobility. "Old" and "new" discourses, practices and materialities mix in competing discourses (below) about a common material artifact, the shoe, embedded in these new relationships.

"Just Do What?" Fitting the Future into the Political Semiotics of a Shoe

Political claims about which benefits (and conveniences) are worth extending through time, and how such benefits can be extended, are dependent on framing and "selling" a dominant "definition of the situation." [13] Problems must be urgently and convincingly defined and the desired social, cultural, legal and technological responses have to be prioritized, usually within a narrative of imminent or actual threat and/or danger. Usually, narratives become highly crafted in rhetorical and graphical shorthand, as a particular event or artifact becomes a synecdoche for a major social problem. At times, the same concrete example, event, or artifact may become over-coded with multiple narratives, serving as contested terrain for competing Weltanschauungs. Examining competing Weltanschauungs (and the unstated meta-assumptions that buttress such worldviews) in concert with the concrete and condensed artifact, can be heuristic. Immediately below, we look at the following nexus: 1. Competing claims about the desirability of a contested meta-artifact (installation and use of a seeming infinite number of RFID tags, cataloged and tracked in a ubiquitous "Internet-of-Things"); 2. How a specific artifact (shoes) becomes a common "tag" for these competing world view and; 3. How these competing narratives interact with pre-existing cultural narratives that take a "shoe" as a cultural synecdoche.

Iteration Two: Bruce Sterling's "Better Living Through Arphids" [14]

On March 23, 2006, Bruce Sterling sat down for an apparently scripted five minute, fifty four second v-blog interview, inside a dark, spare 1960-esque Minneapolis eatery. The conversation briskly moved to the contemplation of the probable, possible and desirable fates of an old boot. Interviewer Chuck Olsen pulls out the item and says:

Chuck Olsen: This shoe ... should be thrown away. But then it will be rotting ... someplace or burned and kinda do bad things for the planet (sighing) ...

Bruce Sterling : What do you do with shoes? ... You wear them for awhile, you wear them out and throw them away ... The life of that shoe mostly consists of what it does after you throw it away. It might be [good] if we had electronic [RFID] tags on objects because then it would be easier to get rid of them. If you say, "This shoe in particular needs to be gotten rid of," there might be a record of what was in... . this heel, and exactly what kind of leather is this, exactly what kind of metal [and] cotton fiber. If ... these things ... were embedded in the [RFID] tag ... [the shoe] would actually be worth a little bit of money ... [as] raw material ...

Chuck Olsen: It would say "I'm made of this and this and this, and I'm over here ..."

Bruce Sterling : Why does anything have a use? It's because you know what it's good for. And this [lifting the boot up] is good for something. But we don't know what it's made of, so we can't reuse it for that purpose. If we had a [RFID] tag on it, if we could sort of "google" it ... even if it's good for nothing [with emphasis], it's bad for something and if we had a [RFID] tag on it, at least we could measure its "badness" ...

Chuck Olsen: You can track these things and if I'm wearing that shoe, then someone could figure out where ...I am. What happens when the "top down" people want to ... use it?

Bruce Sterling : This is the perennial argument. [For example, they said that] "You can't get people computers because ... it's a method to ... learn too much about us and oppress us."... Yes, Yes, flat out Yes. Computers are great control systems... And [RFID] spimes have fantastic abuse potential. It would be a fabulous way to run a concentration camp or prison [because administrators] would [RFID] label [and track] everything... Let's say [that] at the same time, the government shows up with relief helicopters because your house just washed away ... and they suddenly say, "You can have this and this and that ... immediately..." If you're in a [democracy], and you hand a greater awareness of the physical environment to people, it makes no sense ... to keep them ignorant because of [probable abuses] ...

The human lifespan is pretty brief. [What] concerns me is the lifespan of that discarded shoe, OK? That thing could be sitting in a landfill gently oozing its constituents for ... millennia. [15]

For Sterling, Deleuze's charge to craft "new weapons" to resist novel, intensive, mobile and continuously updating forms of social control in a world of "ubicomp" and "everyware" are of lesser import than an imminent global ecological crisis. [16] In his 2005 book, "Shaping Things," Sterling vigorously argues for technological solutions to contemporary political and ecological crises:

[It's] about created objects and the environment ... Production methods currently in use are not sustainable. They are large in scale, have long histories ... [but] can't go on... The status quo uses archaic forms of energy and materials that are finite and toxic ... They have no future ... The quest for a sustainable world may succeed, or it may fail. If it fails, the world will become unthinkable. If it works, the world will become unimaginable ... [Most likely] tomorrow's world will be partially unthinkable and partially unimaginable. [17]

The very thing that Sterling clearly acknowledges but, overall, tends to marginalize in his techno-evangelism (the many probable and serious dystopian effects that will inevitably accompany "ubiquitous computing") is the very stuff of the unthinkable for Katherine Albrecht. [18]

Iteration Three: Don't Tread On Me (with that shoe)! RFID tags in Service of Commodity and Control Agendas

Katherine Albrecht and her collaborator, Liz McIntyre, have been on the trail of a different subculture (corporate documents and actors, not artists and designers), tracking the actual and proposed development and use of RFID devices. They have analyzed a slew of memos, documents, e-mails, professional conferences, trade shows, patent applications, researched consumer resistance (to RFID and "Shoppers Cards") in retail and governmental venues across the U.S. and Europe. Intensive research gives Albrecht's (and McIntyre's) exposition evidential weight. For while Sterling waxes as enthusiastically as any "hard positivist" would about measurement and the field of "metrics" in "Shaping Things," his book is curiously devoid of data or methodological application. Read against Albrecht's documentary evidence, Sterling's crooning about the wonders of data and methods appears disjunctive with the speculative and design-centered arguments that comprise the moral, imaginative and rhetorical center of "Shaping Things." [19]

One commonality in Albrecht's and Sterling's expositions is the use of an everyday item of apparel, the shoe, for explaining the effects of mega-corporatist "spychips." ("Spychips" is Albrecht's alternative term for Sterling's "spimes.") [20] In a chapter of "Spychips," she and McIntyre delineate how RFID surveillance devices, successors to recent artifacts of retail/wholesale "source tagging," are easily injected into shoes, and for what ends:

RFID tagging of [shoes pose an obvious] threat to privacy... If [bureaucracies] could scan [it] and read its ID number, they might have a pretty good idea of who was standing in it.[21]

An RFID [shoe] tag could function as a tiny spy, relaying information about your presence and movements to the readers embedded in the surfaces you walk on every day ... A network of reader devices placed in strategic locations [would]... monitor vast numbers of people ...

Philips ... a major RFID chip manufacturer... [has] a patent application ... [that] describes the need to keep an RFID device small and powerful, yet soft ... [Philips has] devised a fabric antenna [for use in shoe soles] that is "flexible and pliant" ... [that looks] like any other stitching. [22]

The information derived from tracking the public traversal of the physical environment will be combined with demographic, financial, life-style, social networking and entertainment sources to shape the range of consumer behavior and choice. For example, consider what Procter & Gamble and MIT concocted in a recent "House of the Future" prototype:

Let's say [an RFID tag is] on the bottom of a bottle of Coca Cola. [When] we take it out of the refrigerator, the fridge will "know" that [there's no more Coke and] it will inform the supermarket via the Internet that they need to re-supply your home. [Alternatively], the Coke will be automatically added to the shopping list ... on the electronic blackboard in the kitchen... [Concurrently a] Pepsi-Cola [ad] will appear on home TV screens, because your intelligent refrigerator has communicated with your intelligent TV set. [23]

"Spychips" is replete with vivid and well-documented descriptions of the dystopian prototypes and market penetration plans of target marketers, insurance companies, U.S. police departments, state Motor Vehicle Departments, car rental companies, appliance and food vendors, and loss-prevention units (among others). Compare the control and resource extraction mechanisms, real, desired and enabled through the use of such RFID tags, as described by Albrecht, with Sterling's "selling" of the convenience that these RFID tags offer up for the absent-minded and the pack-rat:

I have an Internet of Things with a search engine. So I no longer hunt anxiously for my missing shoes in the morning. I just google them. As long as machines can crunch the complexities, their interfaces make my relationship to objects feel much simpler and more immediate.

I am at ease in materiality in a way that people never were before. [24]

Here, the prior claim of ecological salvation and security (via spimes) merges with the seduction of consumer convenience. [25] In a different world, one that Sterling hopes to midwife, perhaps all materiality will be as comfortable as a broken-in shoe. However, developed and deployed, as it is, now and in the near future, to buttress unsustainable consumption, consumer debt accumulation, intensive monetization, risk-reduction and immigrant castigation and expurgation, we can and should ask the following question: is Sterling's claim of a soma-like "ease," brought about by the ubiquity of RFIDs, in fact, a true representation of the primary, actual and contemporary effects of these technologies? Is it all about ecological sustainability and personal convenience, for the world's elite and the trailing middle classes? Or are these arguments merely an epiphenomenon of, or even a diversion from, the consideration of other overtly political and economic projects?

Contemporary Polizeiwissenschaft - Policing Humans

To imagine how the continuous flow of surveillance data will be used, as a form of early 21st Century inference-based, pre-emptive Polizeiwissenschaft, consider a June 9, 2006 web-article from The New Scientist: "Pentagon Sets Its Sights on Social Networking Websites."

[The] Pentagon's National Security Agency ... is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness ... the forthcoming "semantic web" ... to combine data from social networking websites with ...banking, retail and property records ... to build extensive ... personal profiles...

By adding online social networking data [to its phone monitoring activities], the NSA could connect people ... through shared activities... [combining] social networking details [with] information on purchases, [patterns of travel inferred from cell phone use] and ... financial transactions ...

The NSA's interest ... is evident in a funding footnote to a paper delivered at the W3C's WWW2006 conference in Edinburgh. That paper ... reveals how data from online social networks and other databases can be combined to uncover facts about people... . the work was part-funded by ... the Advanced Research Development Activity. . [since renamed, by the DOD, as "The Disruptive Technology Office" (DTO) and moved out of the NSA]. [Its] role is [to] "solve some of the most critical problems facing the US intelligence community." [DTO] aims ... to make sense of the ... [rapidly growing] data the NSA collects. [26]

While civil liberties advocates focus on the activities of the DTO, the mundane sorting of "transactional data" churns along, 24/7, in the bowels of corporate and governmental data mining and profiling offices, for almost any reason imaginable. In service of marketers, actuaries, human resource departments, corporate security and profit extraction, the process and results are de facto melded with the outsourcing of Homeland Security's pre-emptive raison d'être for data-mining and profiling. The point is simply this: the boundary between governmental and corporate data collection, profiling, and profit-based distribution of the products of these analyses are thoroughly blurred, easily permeable, arguably almost erased, in the hyper-haze of early 21st Century neo-liberalism. [27] Or, we can conceptualize such arrangements as governance funneled through key corporatist imperatives and sensibilities, geared to profit-maximization and risk minimization? What is unmistakable is that it's a consumption-driven, security-obsessed, and digitalized Polizeiwissenschaft

where [data about] the indispensable, the useful, and the superfluous [are continuously collected and crunched] ... [and] the objects which it embraces are in some sense indefinite ... requiring endless classifications. [28]

The Acxioms and ChoicePoints that feed off these burgeoning dataverses will expand their crunching to include the accumulated traces gleaned from the "Internet of Things." The data feeds of embedded RFIDs and their more discrete technological cousins, RuBees [29] (in shoes, refrigerators, car tires, car license plates and the like), will merge with current digital trace formats. Together, they will buttress an expanding pastorate of "men and things," or, perhaps more precisely "men as things." Arguably, much in current trends represent the inverse of what is signified by the title of Sterling's book, "Shaping Things." As the Fortune 500 and neo-liberal governments go about embedding the material world with RFIDs, the fervent engine propelling an "Internet of Things," (or "ubicomp" or "everyware") is recognizable. For some, RFID is a means toward "Shaping People through Things" or "Shaping People as Things."

Iteration Four: An Economic Pastorate in the Era of Digital Globalization

The title of Adam Greenfield's December 2004 article in Boxes and Arrows, "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace," tags a new iteration of a key motif in Western forms of governance, a form that has at its center the metaphor of the shepherd. [30] Foucault framed the issue this way:

[Here] I mean [to explore] the development of power techniques oriented toward individuals and intended to rule them in a continuous and permanent way. If the state is the political form of a centralizing power, pastorship the individualizing power ... I'll try to show how this pastorship combine[d] with its opposite, the state.

The idea of the [the leader] as a shepherd followed by a flock [was a feature of Hebrew and Christian thought and institutions] ... [Below are] a few typical themes of pastoral power ...

First, the shepherd wields power over a flock [not] a land ... [the relationship is fundamental] ... Second, the shepherd gathers together, guides and leads his flock ... The shepherd's immediate presence and direct action [creates] the flock ... Third, the shepherd's role is to ensure the [flock's] salvation... [through] constant, individualized and final kindness . . [Fourth], everything that the shepherd does is geared to the good of his flock. When they sleep, he keeps watch.

The theme of keeping watch [emphasizes] ... two aspects of the shepherd's devotedness. First ... he puts himself out ... Second ... he pays attention to them all and scans each one ... He's got to know his flock as a whole, and in [exhaustive] detail...

[Only Western society, on this side of antiquity] evolved [this] strange technology of power [that] treats the vast majority of men as a flock with a few as shepherds. [31]

In these October 1979 lectures, Foucault traces iterations of this key metaphorical and political relationship between the shepherd and the flock, as the basis for Polizeiwissenschaft. As Foucault (and many others since have noted) this type of "policing" is different than what has been commonly understood as policing since the birth of the London police force, in 1829. Foucault describes forms of shepherding/policing as a technology meant to intensively surveil and shape behavior across all the domains of human life. In passages that have strong post 9/11 echoes, Foucault cites the early 17th Century theorist, Turquet de Mayenne. Turquet broadly defines the police function as that which branches out into "all of the people's conditions, everything that they do or undertake." [32] Commenting on Turquet, Foucault explains that, "men are envisioned as to ... property; what they produce, what is exchanged ... how they live." [33] For Turquet, "The police's true object is man." [34] These days, the means of ministration take a networked and technological turn. The Polizeiwissenschaft project has been re-animated, via digital technologies. These "machines of loving grace" (as Greenfield dubs them) are constituted as surveillant assemblages. The implementation of "ubiquitous computing," "everyware," "spychips," or "spime;" whatever we call it, these artifacts can be understood as a leading edge in reshaping the objects, practices and functions of policing. These devices produce continuous technological grist for the shepherd/police. But the shepherd is no longer a deity, a titular head of a church, a teacher or a priest. In a prototypical "post-human" moment, the shepherd-function has routinely become the task of the mobile digital machinery, or the "colonization of everyday life by information technology," as Greenfield puts it. (Greenfield explicates hundreds of specific shepherding functions in his book of theses about ambient/ubiquitous computing, 2006's "Everyware.") [35]

Here, the idea is that the production of a transparent identity, to be judged, moves from the interiority of the confessional or the therapist's office to the modulated and algorithmic assessment of digital traces. (These traces "confess" our movements, and set the frame for inferring motives, independent of our direct volition.) As noted in Deleuze's Postscript, control mechanisms are now "free-flowing," independent of their disciplinary predecessors. These are often "hidden in plain sight," and embedded in RFID-laden rocks in a mall's fountain, the "smart floors" of a school or a nursing home, or are designed as a constituent element of an entirely new South Korean city. [36] All is to be read, recorded and transmitted by RFID readers to the infinite virtual repository that is this "Internet of Things." [37] These digital traces clearly have the potential to outlive the human whose behavior was so tracked, in hyper-detail.

As Greenfield notes, many citizen/consumers gladly accept, even warmly embrace continuous surveillance, because, rightly and/or wrongly, they assume (or desire) a benevolent and protective gaze, "a machinery of loving grace," enhancing physical security, ecological salvation, consumer convenience or the pressing need to have lines of authority and responsibility pre-structured in an apparently predictable way. But what objects and toward what ends is the machinery commonly programmed to continuously monitor? What does this new Polizeiwissenschaft embody, in the objects chosen for surveillance, and the interests that it serves and protects, 24/7?

Econometric Policing and Communicative Control: Policing Access to "Things"

In Government and Control, Nikolas Rose asserts that the primary function of these new forms of surveillance is what he calls the "securitization of identity:"

Problems of the individualization of the citizen have formed in a whole variety of sites and practices -- of consumption, of finance, of police, of health, of insurance -- to which securitization of identity can appear as a solution. Does this person have sufficient funds to make this purchase; is this citizen entitled to enter this national territory?... is this person a good insurance risk? The image of control by totalizing surveillance is misleading. Control is better understood as operating through conditional access to circuits of consumption and civility: constant scrutiny of the right of individuals to access certain kinds of flows of consumption goods... [38]

In collective terms, Rose discusses such practices as forming networks or "circuits" of inclusion, where an individual is qualified or disqualified to claim certain benefits. Alternatively, disqualification places an individual in alternative circuits of exclusion or insecurity, usually administered by other social control mechanisms and agents, such as the police, probation departments, debt counseling and restructuring services, job retraining programs, etc.

Correctly, Rose discerns an overall "strategic coherence" in the generalized notion of "the individual" who has failed to embrace commonly understood moral responsibilities:

The problem of control ... [is that] of the violation of the assumptions of subjectivity -- of responsible morality, self-control and self-advancement through legitimate consumption ... [which opens up] a whole variety of spaces and practices [for] contestation... [39]

As acute as Rose's analysis is, his description is that of an "ideal type," given the often sloppy contemporary nature and loose heuristics of such qualification and disqualification practices (evident in the mass production of false positives and false negatives) in business and government. Additionally, his brief gesture acknowledging "contestation" of spaces and practices is insufficient, as a description, of the broad, in-progress transformations accompanying pervasive and ubiquitous computing. It does not sufficiently attend to the perils of highly mobile "dividuals" (megabytes and gigabytes of pesky personal data that can go almost anywhere on the planet, instantly) and the frustration of human agents who often have very limited control on the circulation and commodification of their digital doppelganger. As discussed below, the result of active and formal corporate and governmental "securitization" initiatives often restructure (and reduce) the creativity and scope of the public commons for purposes of capital extraction and, through an ersatz moral discourse, to tie such extraction to an expansion of political and social control. Even explicating a highly truncated example (below), propelled out of Washington's K Street, shows the following: "securitization" is primarily directed at securing and intensifying the monetization and capital extraction rights of corporations. Creating (or retarding) mechanisms for securing the identities and assets of individual citizen/consumers is of import only as a means to securing corporate interests. To paraphrase William Gibson: securitization is an unevenly distributed practice. By way of example, consider this ongoing "securitization" effort in the U.S. House of Representatives, sponsored by the Bush White House, via Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX):

In the Spring of 2006, the Bush Administration indicated that they would soon introduce this piece of proposed legislation: "The Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006." (IPPA) If enacted, the bill would do the following:

Create a new federal crime of "attempted" copyright infringement, with penalties of up to ten years;

Current law prohibiting the use of decryption software (as defined in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act) would be replaced by language criminalizing the making, exporting, taking control of, or possessing the means for decryption. "Mere information" or communication about anti-circumvention technologies or methods would be subject to a felony count, under federal law;

This bill replicates the controversial (and lucrative) civil asset forfeiture procedures used in the "War on Drugs." Computers and related peripherals would be seized, destroyed or sold at government-sponsored auctions;

Copyright claimants could impound server records "documenting the manufacture, sale, or receipt of items involved in alleged infringements;"

Additionally, the law allows criminal enforcement of copyright laws even if there was no record of registration of the work with the U.S. Copyright Office. [40]

The bill also creates a new unit of the FBI, with funding for enforcement.[41]

Duke University professor James Boyle notes that similar "securitization initiatives" are proceeding at a global level. The "World Intellectual Property Organization" (WIPO) is drafting a global "Broadcasting Treaty" that would extend the existing set of copyright protections for broadcasters, while also applying them, wholesale, to webcasting. Here's how Boyle describes the problem:

The majority of the cultural production of the twentieth century [may well be] of orphan works. Because of the difficulty of clearing copyright, those works remain locked up in the library. Even though the copyright holder has long disappeared ... it is impossible to [legally] show the old movie, adapt the old book ... Many libraries simply refuse to allow screening of movies until the copyright term has expired...

Now imagine creating an entirely new layer of rights over everything that is broadcast or webcast. You find a copy of a movie in the library [and you learn] that it is in the public domain, or [alternatively you seek] ... permission. Perhaps the work is covered by a Creative Commons license ... Not so fast... You would have to prove that this copy had not been made from a broadcast or webcast. More clearance problems! More middle-men! [42]

The treaty's proponents, Boyle tells us, are energetically slogging away, at the WIPO. Clearly, there's a strategic coherence between a restrictive WIPO treaty, the IPPA and resistance to such capital extraction controls, signified by struggles around Digital Rights Management (DRM) and the resistance by the "Defective by Design" opponents to DRM. [43]

Concurrently, the rights of U.S. states to aid citizen/consumers in "securitizing" their virtual identity, in the wake of massive upticks in identity thefts is far from sufficient or stable. Even the current limited set of state-enacted rights to informational redress is under duress, given the weak enforcement and notification provisions of several pieces of federal legislation (that would trump California's current law, the toughest in the U.S.) pending (as of this writing) in the House Financial Services Committee, most notably in the form of HR 3397. [44] And, concurrently, there is no "securitization" of the content or destination of personal emails (short of setting up individually PGP-encrypted mailers between senders/receivers or personal accounts). In fact, the directionality is toward de-securitization of digital identities and communications for individuals. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a revised AT&T privacy policy, effective June 23, 2006, redefines the ownership of customer personal information. Essentially, AT&T assumes "ownership" of customers' confidential information. And it intends to use said ownership to protect the telecom's interests, exclusively. [45]

Taken as a sum, then, active "securitization" practices and initiatives have deep capital extraction and political control functions (through the inculcation of new property objects, and the prescribed and proscribed circulation and use of such objects, to be delineated through terms of license). In a broad sense, these efforts are reminiscent of the sustained intensive social control efforts that occurred between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s. In response to how contested activities that were illegal remained tolerated (such as the use of "soft" recreational drugs), a successful fifteen-year campaign redefined these activities as criminal, and not to be tolerated. Currently, the strategies and tactics of the "long march" of mandatory drug sentencing have been revived, in service of a new agenda. A persistent and well-funded attempt is underway to turn practices of "sampling" and personal, non-commercial duplication of information in a digital format into a similarly illegal and not tolerated practice, punishable, not surprisingly, with sanctions identical to current anti-drug laws. (This is clear in the language of the proposed IPPA). And now, as before, the rhetoric of internal threat and national security is hauled out as the legitimating discourse. For example, Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in "selling" the threat of unauthorized digital reproductions, claims that insufficient control of the technology is

encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved in intellectual-property theft [with proceeds from the illicit businesses used] quite frankly to fund terrorism activities.[46]

As with the criminalization of drugs a generation earlier, economically incentivized political moralists assume the role of shepherds, busily "selling" a redefinition of the boundaries between the tolerated and intolerable. What my students consider a minor violation (personal production and/or consumption of digital information acquired in a legal "grey" zone, and then stuffed into their iPods) is to be legally and morally recoded into a major criminal act, one that promotes a chain of terror. Uncompensated use of digital formats, images, products or data would be roughly akin to illegal ownership, sale and consumption of a controlled substance under FDA (Federal Drug Administration) jurisdiction, such as marijuana. If these moral entrepreneurs are successful, expect iterations of the televised PSAs (Public Service Announcements) produced and aired during the early post 9/11 period. Unequivocally, these opportunistic PSAs paired drug use with financial support of terror. [47] Imagine the propaganda possibilities of this new campaign: Mere possession an an unofficial video of the talented and self-effacing Paris Hilton will be directly connected to financial support of Osama bin Laden. At the very least, the misguided viewer of the cerebral Hilton video risks the seizure of his computer or iPod, under asset forfeiture laws. Presumably, proceeds of the auction would self-fund the intellectual property unit inside the FBI, while such seizures would also serve as forms of specific and general deterrence, in the service of dinosaur cultural industries of transnational capital and the new digital post-industrial complex.

License and Commodification: Totalization and Its Discontents

Foucault once remarked that almost nothing was inherently evil, but everything was potentially dangerous. As such, there is always a need for an activism thoroughly informed by a durable skepticism. [48] And this is particularly true when it comes to assessing and acting on the possible and probable effects of an Internet of Things, which promises to become a continuously updated digital "Domesday Book," in the service of totalizing agendas of capital extraction and more onerous forms of social control.

Yet, the exercise of power is always relational. For Foucault, where there is power, even domination, there is also resistance. For Deleuze and Guattari, vectors of de-territorialization and territorialization, the spaces of the smooth and the striated, are in dynamic interplay. The "war machine" that emerges from the field of interplay is always something creative and exterior to the state apparatus. Its appropriation into the state apparatus always brings the state a harvest of deep and destabilizing troubles. [49] The general tensions articulated by Foucault, and Deleuze and Guattari, are very much at play in current and emerging configurations of ubiquitous/pervasive computing in concert with agendas of social control and capital extraction. The more onerous elements of these agendas come up against the creative play of artists, designers, writers, inventors, pragmatic adapters and political resisters, particularly as portions of the trans-corporate complex ossify. It is true, what Bruce Sterling says (appropriating William Gibson's aphorism), the street does find its own uses for things. But it does it best when it recognizes exactly what it's working with (and for and against).

In terms of design, there are ways to mitigate the worst effects of a "Domesday" world of RFIDs. For example, Greenfield promulgates five guidelines for a kinder, gentler implementation of ubicomp: a default to harmlessness that protects against catastrophic failure; system transparency; "conservative of face," which translates into allowing individuals to avoid unnecessary stigma; "conservative of time," which refers to creating easily navigable and reversible result interfaces; and "Be Deniable," which would allow citizen/consumers an informed and real choice to opt out of undesired disclosure. [50] As a whole, Greenfield's principles constitute a useful start, an ideal type, really, for framing how ubicomp should impact human agents. However, in the U.S., we live in a society of everyday fear, economic decline, escalating personal debt and intensive re-stratification, all framed in a popular rhetoric of Social Darwinism. It is easy to imagine that these more humane considerations proffered by Greenfield would easily be jettisoned. Or, they may be reserved as a marker of social class privilege, a conditional inclusion, as Rose puts it, for Platinum Card members only. Alternatively, they may be folded into lucrative social control and capital extraction mechanisms.

In terms of information and communication formats, resistance also takes many forms, including the rise of Open Source software, such as alternative, highly usable computer operating systems (such as Ubuntu, which sports Nelson Mandela as its public relations icon, and other varieties of Linux and BSD), and alternative distribution networks for new artists. [51] The effectiveness of both political resistance and distribution alternatives varies greatly from locality to locality, even as capital attempts to profitably striate the smoother spaces of alternative arrangements. [52]

Generally, an awareness of the current expansion of the objects, goals and techniques of policing is largely shaped by social class, generational affiliation, history and geography. Here in Massachusetts, a mid-20th Century reactive, state-centered model is often taken for granted, in entertainment, education and politics. In part, this is a symptom of a still durable rust-belt hangover in a post-Fordist world. It's a dangerous perceptual and linguistic lag, in a world moving in the direction of a digital Polizeiwissenschaft. For the totalization impetuses present in many governmental and culture industry plans for digital surveillance should be recognized and warily assessed. After all, totalization, as a foundational principle of social order, has a bad, bad (and all-too-recent) history.

Across the globe, this technology will be differentially implemented. As William Gibson noted, "The Future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed." [53] For example, the implementation of these technologies (GPS-enabled) by vertically integrated corporations or activist NGOs could be used, conceivably, in productive ways, to halt notorious practices in the global South, such as the slavery on cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast, or the recent and notorious illicit trades in diamonds or guns. GPS-enabled cargo shows promise as a way to track the movement and use of humanitarian aid, medical supplies, endangered species and toxic waste throughout the continent. Conceivably, these same technologies could also be used (as Sterling noted) to amplify the deadly effects of a politico-religious crusade (Sudan) for detention or genocide. It could be used to intrusively monitor southern "guest workers" in North America and the European Union. In most probable cases, economies of scale will bring the relatively mundane and portable technologies of GPS and RFID chips into play, directly and indirectly, albeit unevenly distributed, to the South, and to the economic migrants of the South, working in the North.

In 2003, the journalist and political commentator William Greider wrote an essay for the U.S. liberal publication, The Nation, titled "Rolling Back the 20th Century." [54] In it, Greider posited that the thrust of the triumph of the national neo-liberal movement was an ideological and material delegitimation of the power and oversight functions of the U.S. federal government. Ostensibly, the goal was to reduce the aforementioned federal government to the minimal regulatory capacity of the late 19th Century Gilded Age. But it appears now that Greider sold the reverse temporality of the governance and cultural paradigm short. Two years later, in "Born Again Ideology," Arthur Kroker makes just such a point, in an analysis of the fusion of the neo-Puritanical ethos with the networked imperialism of the early 21st Century. Kroker notes, correctly, that the codes of modernism and capitalism "have actually folded back on themselves, quickly reversing modernist codes of economic secularism and political pluralism." Kroker tagged his genealogical profile as a delineation of "The New Protestant Ethic," an Imperial iteration of the Puritanical impulse, embedded in the heart of religion, government and politics, born on the rocks of Massachusetts Bay, in the early 17th Century. [55]

The question remains as to what bureaucratic and political assemblage might plausibly govern national and global systems, so informed by this "New Protestant Ethic." In this transitional period between the postmodern and the technologically networked un-modern, the de facto emergence of a neo-Polizeiwissenschaft points, ultimately, to notions of policing and social order that can be plausibly called Neo-Cameralist. The current Neo-Cameralism/Neo-Polizeiwissenscchaft formation fuses a late 18th Century, authority-driven administrative proto-rationalism with social, economic, religious and political values uncannily resonant with early 21st Century Empire. While the prerogatives of the CEO replace that of the Divine Right of Kings, as the reigning governance ideology, in practice, however, the distance between the archetypal "benevolent despot" and the contemporary "unitary executive" is startlingly short. Neo-Cameralism and its neo-Polizeiwissenschaft techné is a repetition with a difference, a reverse temporal and ideological folding, a networked iteration. In the midst of this transition, the virtual is fusing with the material, as the scope and goals of policing are broadly redefined, easily outstripping the mid-and-late 20th Century notion of policing, in the process. As the NSA shuffles through the emails and telephone calls of all-and-each; as data-mining algorithms try to predict, for purposes of comfort and profit, what each one of us would prefer; as the results of Google searches are brought into criminal and civil court to infer guilt or liability; as RFID-enabled "Pay-As-You-Go" credit cards, license plates and passports proliferate, Turquet's words seem accurate and natural, once again: "The true object of police is man."

Finally, in Sun Tzu's "The Art of War," successful action, at this moment, is predicated on both sufficient knowledge of the environment and self-knowledge. [56] In these days of swift and unsettling transition, accurately recognizing and deploying such qualities is an epistemological and political challenge, the necessary ground for practices of Liberty.


[1] Colin Gordon, "Governmentality Rationality: An Introduction," in The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, edited by Colin Gordon, pp. 1-51. Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 1991. This re-assembled excerpt is culled from pps 10-12.

[2] Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre, Spychips: How major corporations and government plan to track your every move with RFID. Nashville. Nelson Current. 2005. The excerpt is from pps. 1-2.

[3] Gilles Deleuze, "Postscript on the Societies of Control," 1990. Although the article first appeared in L'Autre Journal, no. 1, it is widely available on the Web. My link was from http://www.watsoninstitute.org/infopeace/vy2K/deleuze-societies.cfm

[4] What makes the "Internet of Things" possible, as a virtual repository for "all and each" is the soon-to-be-implemented Internet Protocol addressing, IPv6. For human purposes, this replacement for the current IPv4 allows 6.5 x 1023 unique addresses for every square meter of the globe. This is more than sufficient to collect an almost infinite amount of information about [quite literally] "everything" that physically exists, or will exist.

Some of the competing rationales include the following: business efficiencies (from design, manufacturing, transportation, and ultimately to sales), profit maximization, surveillance and social control, ecological control, reduction in theft and other forms of retail "shrinkage," and the general Benthamite self-conscious, self-policing effects on behavior produced by a heightened sense of permanent visibility.

[5] Gordon, ibid, 19.

[6] Adam Smith, from the annotated edition of "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations," Edwin Cannan, editor, originally published by Meuthen. 1904. Available from The Library of Economics and Liberty at http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN0.html

[7] As opposed to the philosophy of Mercantilism, which held sway among the global European powers at the time, Cameralism emerged in the fragmented realm of German principates. According to one estimate made in the mid-1930s, by the end of the 18th Century, 14,400 different treatises and essays could be described as Cameralist. Concerned with maintaining the general good through the consolidation of political power, it was an early form of state-centered management, meritocratic and rational, conducted under what we would now term the authority of "the unitary executive" (the prince). For Michael Jackson (see endnote 8), the three foci of 18th Century Cameralism were "fiscal control, exploitation of resources and economic regulation." It's a peculiar mix of cost-benefit analysis, anti-tax sentiment, and political pragmatism. In many places, Cameralism is cited as the first recognizable, if partial, prototype for modernist public administration and the classic Weberian-style of bureaucracy.

[8] In this manner, the Cameralists had a general orientation similar to the "risk managers" cited by Deleuze in Postscript: individuals are objectified, and objects and individuals are reduced to common indicators of potential hazard.

[9] Dubber, Markus Dirk. "'The Power to Govern Men and Things': Patriarchal Origins of the Police Power in American Law." Buffalo Law Review, V. 52, 1277, Fall 2004. Retrieved from LEXIS/NEXIS.

[10] Dubber, ibid.

[11] Katalin Ferber. "Run the State Like a Business: The Origin of the Deposit Fund in Meiji Japan," Japanese Studies; Sep 2002, V. 22, N. 2, p131-151.

[12] David Burchell. "The Disciplined Citizen: Thomas Hobbes, Neostoicism and the Critique of Classical Citizenship," Australian Journal of Politics and History, V. 45, N. 4, 1999, pps. 506-524.

[13] Adam Greenfield's "definition of the situation" and insight on this particular point is that RFID and related technologies will be "sold" to citizen/consumers under the twin rubrics of security and convenience. His term for the aggregation of these technologies is the neologism "everyware." The term connotes ubiquity and the fact that many of these tracking technologies will be worn on the body, implanted in the body, or will record, at short distances, via direct or indirect contact with the body. For the complete interview, see the February 27, 2006 article, "Hiding in Plain Sight: An Interview with Adam Greenfield," in Boxes and Arrows. http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/hiding_in_plain_sight

[14] Arphid is Sterling's term for the collectivity of RFID technologies. Apparently, Sterling prefers the term as an aesthetic shell over the commonly used term, RFID.

[15] Bruce Sterling and Chuck Olsen. From the March 23, 2006 video blog "Minnesota Stories," this is Olsen's five minute, fifty-four second interview with Bruce Sterling, in Minneapolis. The excerpted text is an edited transcript of the video. The streaming video is available from http://www.mnstories.com/archives/2006/03/bruce_sterling.html

[16] Sterling and Olsen, ibid.

[17] Bruce Sterling, Shaping Things. Cambridge, MA. MIT Press. 2005. The excerpt is taken from pages 5 and 7.

[18] Often, Sterling's acknowledgement about undesirable effects is accompanied by rhetorical strategies that marginalize the importance of negative effects. This is quite clear in the vblog interview with Olsen. It's also noticeable in some entries of Sterling's "Beyond the Beyond" blog for Wired. For example: In an interesting and provocative entry, titled "Professor Sterling's Internet-of-Things Seminar, European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland, May 2006," Sterling shares the assignment that he gave to his class with "Beyond the Beyond" blog readers. The surveillance/social control function is only present in one of the twelve foundational categories used to frame discussion of the effects of RFID chips. (And that is the Albrechtian term "Spychips.") In the assignment given to students, which consists of self-selected transformations of "150 gnomic slogans, quotations, assessments and speculations [about RFID effects]," the mix of utterances from external sources is, well, clearly ambivalent, more so than the initial dozen categories suggests. To read more, see http://blog.wired.com/sterling/index.blog?start=1149329774

It's also part of the "spime watch" sub page on Sterling's "Beyond the Beyond" Wired blog.

[19] Sterling, ibid. See page 23 for Sterling's comments on the primacy of metrics. Please see page 79, for the unusual (in the context of the book's argumentative style) appropriation of Lord Kelvin's famous aphorism on the relationship between epistemology, measurement and truth.

[20] Sterling, who wrote a foreword to Spychips in 2005, apparently worked up a counter-argument by the time he was interviewed by Chuck Olsen in March, 2006. There's an obvious intertextuality between Albrecht's 2005 writing, Sterling's absorption of those arguments (even as he wrote the forward for Albrecht's book), and the subsequent March 2006 v-blog of Sterling's appearance on Olsen's "Minnesota Stories."

[21] Albrecht and McIntyre, pps. 50-52.

[22] Albrecht and McIntyre, pp. 61.

[23] Albrecht and McIntyre, pp. 66.

[24] Sterling, pp. 94.

[25] See Comment Eighteen.

[26] "Pentagon Sets Sights on Social Networking Sites," in the June 9, 2006 online edition of The New Scientist Tech, Paul Waters, byline. http://www.newscientisttech.com/article.ns?id=mg19025556.200&print=true

[27] References to the pliable relationship are plentiful, and cover a number of areas. By way of example, this June 20, 2006 web posting is typical: "Who's buying cell phone records online? Cops -- Net sellers tell Congress they supply law enforcement officials with call lists," with a byline by Bob Sullivan on msnbc.com. Follow the URL for some interesting details: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12534959/

[28] Gordon, ibid.

[29] RuBee is a substitute and complementary technology for RFID. Here's how RuBee is likely to find a place in the market, according to the June 12, 2006 post on "The RFID Weblog," at http://www.rfid-weblog.com/50226711/rubee_in_rfid_out.php

RuBee can work well through liquids and metals as compared to RFID which struggles to get accurate figures in these situations. It also consumes less power. When seen from the price perspective there is no major difference between RuBee and traditional RFID approaches.

Interestingly enough, the mechanics of RuBee function through enabling magnetic signals, not radio waves (as is the case with RFID). However, apart from the energy dynamics powering the device, the information embedded in these RuBee tags will also become part of the "Internet of Things."

However, RuBee has its downside, according to the June 9, 2006 edition of the eweek Channel Advisor:

RFID has one critical advantage over RuBee in its ability to read far more products in a short period of time. RFID can do things that we can't do as well. RFID can take a bunch of things on a conveyor and it can read those items quickly. It has a very high bandwidth," [RuBee] has very low frequency, very slow. Most of the things that we do don't require speed. Real time inventory with RuBee is very difficult. We're never going to do Gillette razors [or] aspirin. We will do cell phones ... printers. We're trying to track something that has a little more value.

For more: http://www.thechannelinsider.com/article/RuBee+Offers+an+Alternative+to+RFID/180573_1.aspx

[30] Adam Greenfield, "All watched over by machines of loving grace: Some ethical guidelines for user experience in ubiquitous-computing settings." Published on December 1, 2004 in Boxes and Arrows.

Much of the material was folded into Greenfield's book, Everyware: The Dawn Age of Ubiquitous Computing, New York. New Riders Press, 2006. http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/all_watched_over_by_machines_of_loving_grace_some_ethical_ guidelines_for_user_experience_in_ubiquitous_computing_settings_1

[31] Michel Foucault, "Pastoral Power and Political Reason," pps. 135-152, in Religion and Culture: Michel Foucault, Jeremy R. Carrette, editor. New York. Routledge, 1999.

[32] Foucault, ibid.

[33] Foucault, ibid.

[34] Foucault, ibid.

[35] Adam Greenfield. Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing. Berkeley. New Riders, 2006.

[36] The South Korean city is New Songdo, due to be completed in 2014. According to a New York Times piece, New Songdo will be a

Ubiquitous city is where all major information systems (residential, medical, business, governmental and the like) share data, and computers are built into the houses, streets and office buildings. New Songdo, located on a man-made island of nearly 1,500 acres off the Incheon coast about 40 miles from Seoul, is rising from the ground up as a U-city.

For more, see "Korea's High-Tech Utopia, Where Everything Is Observed," NYTimes.com, October 5, 2005, Pamela Licalizi O'Connell, byline. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/05/technology/techspecial/05oconnell.html?ei=5088&en=4a368c49e8f30bd2&ex=1286164800&pagewanted=all

[37] Greenfield, in his "Thesis 35" ("Everyware" consists of 81 Theses) phrases this phenomenon in the following manner: "Everyware surfaces and makes explicit information that has always been latent in our lives, and this will frequently be incommensurate with social or psychological comfort." On page 127, Greenfield de facto predicts the demise (or at least, the reformulation) of Goffman's dramaturgical analogies. "What if every fact ... [every] mask [we] show the world was made readily and transparently available?"

[38] Nikolas Rose, "Government and Control," in Criminology and Social Theory, pps. 183-208. David Garland and Richard Sparks, editors. New York. Clarendon Studies in Criminology, Oxford University Press. 2000.

[39] Rose, ibid.

[40] Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com. "Congress readies broad new digital copyright bill." Posted on CNET News on April 23, 2006. http://news.com.com/2100-1028_3-6064016.html

[41] The proposed Bill is H.R. 2391. As of this writing (July 2006), it has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee but has not yet been brought to the floor of the Senate. A PDF of the House Bill is available here: http://www.publicknowledge.org/pdf/HR_2391.pdf

Some commentators have referred to it as a "Super DMCA" (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). That's a reasonably accurate characterization, given how it buttresses existing DMCA provisions, as it extends the practices of the drug war to policing and punishing violators of digital formats.

[42] James Boyle, writing for the Financial Times. "Constitutional Circumvention." Posted on FT.com on June 13, 2006. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/fa07af4a-fadc-11da-b4d0-0000779e2340.html

Also, see the Electronic Frontier Foundation's position paper on the subject: http://www.eff.org/IP/WIPO/broadcasting_treaty

[43] For more on DRM, see Cory Doctorow's June 17, 2004 talk about DRM at Microsoft. A text transcription is available at http://www.dashes.com/anil/stuff/doctorow-drm-ms.html

A video of the talk is available from http://researchchannel.org/prog/displayevent.asp?rid=3302 (requires IE 6 and Windows Media Player).

[44] See David Lazarus' article on Sfgate.com, posted June 18, 2006: "Credit Freeze under Fire." http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/06/18/BUG08JF4HC1.DTL

[45] See David Lazarus' article on Sfgate.com, posted June 21, 2006: "AT&T rewrites rules: Your data isn't yours." Available at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/06/21/BUG9VJHB9C1.DTL&type=tech

[46] CNET.com, ibid. For Gonzales, then, buying a knockoff of a Louie Vuitton handbag is directly bankrolling the Iraqi insurgency. Or, so the logic goes.

[47] A 30 second video from this PSA campaign, "OKAY PSA" can be viewed at the Internet Archive. http://www.archive.org/details/okay2004

[48] Michel Foucault, in conversation with Paul Rabinow and Hubert Dreyfus. "On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress, in The Foucault Reader, Paul Rabinow, editor, p. 343. New York. Pantheon, 1984.

[49] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Nomadology: The War Machine, translated by Brian Massumi, p. 7. New York. Semiotext(e). 1986.

[50] Adam Greenfield, pps. 235-247.

[51] To see Mandela's explanation of the word "Ubuntu" (and the de facto endorsement of the OS by Mandela, given that the video is also part of the OS download ISO), see the following link: http://ubuntu.wordpress.com/2006/06/01/the-meaning-of-ubuntu-explained-by-nelson-mandela/

[52] In mid-2006, the most visible manifestation of resistance is the political emergence of the Swedish "Pirate Party," and its international affiliates, in the wake of the strong-arm tactics applied by the U.S. Motion Picture Association, to the Swedish government, as a prod to act against a BitTorrent mega-site that serves, as John D. Dvorak noted, as "the Napster of BitTorrents." (Alexa ranks http://piratebay.org as the 426th most visited site on the Web, a far cry from its humble August 2003 origins in Mexico). The Swedish authorities overplayed their hand, and confiscated a significant number of legitimate servers, unrelated to cross-national filesharing, in a May 31st 2006 raid. And while "The Pirate Bay" was up-and-running three days after the raid, and continues to redeploy and reconfigure servers on an almost daily (and global) basis, chief operatives of "The Pirate Bay" face criminal copyright infringement charges in Sweden, and some loss of legitimacy (and incurred some legal liability) for selling lucrative advertising space on http://piratebay.org. Meanwhile, the publicity has catapulted "The Pirate Party" to the brink of Parliamentary representation, while forcing changes, around the issues of copyright, fair use, patents, and Digital Rights Management, in the platforms of several Swedish political parties.

"The Pirate Party," (Piratpartiet, in Swedish), as a political movement, predates the raid on this particular BitTorrent tracking site, and an ancillary organization, the quasi-think tank, The Pirate Bureau, has not been formally affiliated with "The Pirate Bay" since October 2004. It has spawned several international variants, such as the nascent U.S. Pirate Party, which has posted a concise set of founding principles, excerpted below:

The basic idea of the Pirate Party is simple -- the government should encourage, rather than smother, creativity and freedom.

Copyrights are now stretching into the hundreds of years, and fair use is under constant attack ... Creativity has come to a standstill ... But it is not just Copyrights that need reform. [Onerous] Patents are suppressing innovation in the digital age by making it possible to monopolize methods and practices ...

Lastly, the routinization of privacy violations in the digital age must be halted. Never before has a citizen faced so many opportunities to have their identity stolen, data misused or personal information collected without their knowledge ... by government and corporations. Available at http://www.pirate-party.us

Like the Swedish Piratpartiet, the U.S. party calls for a shorter copyright period (five years) and the abolition of restrictive format-based Digital Rights Management schemes.

For background information on this particular and organized political resistance to the corporatist push to "freeze" cultural production, see the following:

Norton, Quinn. 2006. "Secrets of the Pirate Bay." Wired.com, August 16. Available from http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71543-0.html?tw=wn_politics_5

Norton, Quinn. 2006. "A Nation Divided Over Piracy." Wired.com, August 17. Available from http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71544-0.html?tw=wn_technology_1

Norton, Quinn. 2006. "Gallery: The Faces of Sweden's Piracy Wars." Wired.com. Available from http://blog.wired.com/piratebay/

2006. "Steal This Film, Part One." A DVD documentary on the Pirate Party and the Pirate Bay. Available via BitTorrent from http://www.stealthisfilm.com

Plans for the content for Part Two are available from this site: http://stealthisfilm.wikidot.com/part-one

2006. "The Pirate Party." Wikipedia. Available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Party

2006. "The Pirate Bay." Wikipedia. Available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Bay

2006. The Private Party''s Official Web Site, in English: http://www2.piratpartiet.se/international/english

Parenthetically, the Wikipedia articles have numerous external links.

[53] William Gibson. Neuromancer. New York. Ace Books. 1984.

[54] William Greider. "Rolling Back the 20th Century." The Nation, May 12, 2003. Available at http://www.thenation.com/doc/20030512/greider

[55] Arthur Kroker. "Born Again Ideology." 1000 Days of Theory Series, published on April 14, 2005. Available at http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=487

[56] Sun Tzu, The Art of War, translated by Thomas Clearly, p. 83. Boston. Shambala.


Dominant in key German principates (such as Prussia) during the mid-and-late 18th Century, Cameralism stressed political centralization, economic development, military preparedness, moral reformation of the populace, and an intensification of micro-surveillance combined with a Germanic adaptation of Mercantilism. In the three tables immediately below, strong resonances between 18th Century Cameralism and early 21st Neo-Liberalism are outlined.

Parenthetically, delineating these overlaps between Cameralism and early 21st Century neo-liberalism is of considerable import. Arguably, these resonances plausibly explain the predisposition to use "an Internet of Things" as the raw materials for a neo-Polizeiwissenschaft techné. As such, these tables provide some useful ground (and justification) for resituating the idea of Cameralism and its Polizeiwissenschaft, as an analytical frame, in the here-and-now. Of course, there are significant historical differences between the two projects. (For example, while Cameralists were early proponents of a professional state proto-bureaucracy, onto which new functions were to be "uploaded;" neo-liberalism routinely "downloads" or "off-loads" responsibility from state actors to individuals. And there are other significant differences between the two ideologies, as well). However, a range of surprising and broad points of confluence remain. They explain both the necessary (technical) conditions and the (sufficient) political sensibility for the emergence of early 21st Century neo-Cameralism.

Table One: Governance Problematic

Problem of Governance Cameralist Formulation Contemporary Neo-Liberal Formulation
Perceived Competitive weakness/decline in the face of internal and external political, economic tension and external military threats. Eighteenth Century Prussian soldiers lacked "the health, stamina and intelligence" to match Continental antagonists. This was not correctable at the point of initial conscription. Instead, it reflects systemic deficiencies in the environmental conditions of the general population. The workforce lacks the necessary skill base (basic literacy, math and science proficiency) and the work ethic to compete with industrious, adaptable and efficient East Asians, in manufacturing and white-collar, back-office and technical fields. This is not easily correctable at the point of entry into professional work. Instead, it reflects systemic deficiencies in the overall institutional environment of public schools in the U.S.
Governance Solution A. Solution: Government took on the function of "estate manager" in the trust of the monarch. Myriad classification schemas for diagnostic and assessment purposes were generated with the aim of imposing environmental modifications that would enhance productivity, security and the consolidation of political authority.

A.1. Centralization was to replace the profuse patchwork of laws and customs in the 300 German principates, in the name of enhancing military efficiency and security.

B. Often, this positive action was combined with active strategies that were designed to destabilize the previous regime of elites (landed gentry and the guilds) who were perceived to act within unjust and wide zones of discretion.

B.1. A prominent strategy was to promote alliances, exploiting pre-existent simmering resentment, among the lower-middle class of "burghers," "middling men" [as von Justi called them] against the guilds and landed aristocracy.

A. Solution: Through unfunded federal accountability mandates, the U.S. federal government became the primary "education manager." Intensive national "accountability" regimes (such as "No Child Left Behind" schemes) were aggressively put into place. In education, the effect of this managerial dictum included greatly increased surveillance and data-collection and analysis (via the frequent high-stakes testing of students, the conditional qualification of teachers and sanctions for low-performing schools). These measures discipline students, teachers and administrators, as they generate environmental modifications (geared to standardization, obedience and control of public sector employees, unions and the middle and lower classes).

Not surprisingly, the frequent rounds of accountability and "continuous improvement" reporting generate an explosion of time and energy in the process (and the production) of documentation.

A.1. As described above, such regimes are a form of centralized control known as "stealth" or "fragmented" centralization. In this form of centralization, decision-making authority is more centralized while accountability for centrally-made decisions is more distributed. This simultaneously decreases worker autonomy while intensifying workloads.

B. Political action to destabilize previous regime of elites, such as "Great Society" functionaries and public sector unions, who are perceived as acting within unjust and wide zones of discretion.

B.1. A prominent strategy is to promote alliances, exploiting pre-existent resentment, between the lower-middle classes and ruling neo-liberal regimes against the pre-established governmental, labor union and educational elites, through campaigns of targeted vilification.

Table Two: Core Concepts/Strategies

Cameralist Formulation Neo-Liberal Formulation
Self/Society A. Society is made up of individuals, not of groups formed by feudal identities.

B. Collective economic guilds within society were regarded as dysfunctional antiques to be marginalized and de-legitimated.

A. Society is made up of individuals; there is no such thing as "society," only individuals and families.

B. Unions and established minority interest groups are regarded as dysfunctional antiques to be marginalized and de-legitimated.

Functional Notion of the Relationship between the subjects of the state and authority A. Patriarchal: Mirror of traditional (economic) relationship between father and the family, with the Prince or King functioning as the "unitary executive," reflecting the notion of a benevolent despotism or the invocation of the Divine Right of Kings.

B. Subjects are employees, not citizens. It was a notion anchored by the Cameralist analogy of the state as an idealized factory. Alternatively, a common Cameralist exhortation was that "the state should be run like a business."

A. Patriarchal: Mirror of traditional (economic) relationship between father and the family, with the U.S. President and Executive branch consolidating authority though such tools as "signing statements" [selective acceptance of legislated mandates]. These are reflections of the doctrine of the "unitary executive" or the top governmental executive as "CEO."

B. Subjects are de facto employees, not citizens (anchored by the neo-liberal notion of government as a business or enterprise). Privatization of goods and services previously delivered by civil servants extends the concept, as does the common neo-liberal notion that the "state should be run like a business."

B.1. An interesting iteration of state-subject relations is the rise of "branding," where loyalty of subjects are to state sanctioned and marketed "brands" (such as state schools) or the branding of political candidates, in a manner functionally identical to the promotion of consumer goods.

Tensions Between Self/State A. Resolution of tensions between individual and state interests harmonized via the postulate of "enlightened self-interest."

B. The fundamental assumption is of the primacy of state-defined security interests over individual interests.

A. Resolution of tensions between individual and state interests harmonized via the fiction of "the invisible hand."

B. Under the rubric of security in an age of terrorism, the fundamental governmental assumption is the primacy of state-defined interests, invoked in the name of security, over individual rights to be protected against the abuses of the state. This is evident in such phenomena as rituals of "coerced compliance" such as airport screenings and wholesale mundane data traffic monitoring and surveillance.

Table Three: Preferred Strategies

Cameralist Neo-Liberal
Economic Policy A. Strong anti-tax stance;

B. Promotion of business subsidies and unrestricted consumption.

A. Strong anti-tax stance;

B. Promotion of business subsidies and unrestricted consumption.

Ideological Propaganda Addressed to subjects of the political and economic order, prolegomena to laws were read in town squares and inns. These prolegomena prescribed the moral obligations of a subject within the economic and political order. The explicit goal of these was to produce "moral uplift" as an epiphenomenon of legitimacy. Addressed to subjects of the political and economic order, sound bites and press releases are prepared and delivered to news outlets, and posted on web sites, and increasingly propagated, through powerful institutional outlets such as U.S. Evangelical mega-churches and organized Christianized media alliances (such as the Christian and Trinity broadcast networks), and their commercial media allies (such as Clear Channel Radio). These prescribe the moral obligations of a subject within the political and economic order. The explicit goal is to produce "moral uplift" in the service of a legitimation discourse.

Dion Dennis is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Bridgewater State College (MA). He teaches courses on emerging technology, new forms of property and equally new forms of social control; neo-liberalism and 21st Century policing and corrections; and justice, media and crime. Dion's essays have regularly appeared in CTHEORY. His essays and reviews have also appeared in Postmodern Culture, The Education Policy Analysis Archives, the Academic Exchange Quarterly, Rhizomes, Culture and Agriculture, Fast Capitalism, and First Monday, as well as in new and reprinted form in several print anthologies.