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  Report: Data Bodies

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  Bureaucratic data bunkers

Among the foremost of the data bunkers government bureaucracies. Bureaucracies are the oldest forms of bunkers and are today deeply engrained in modern societies. Bureaucracies have always had the function of collecting and administering the data of subjects. What make this process more problematic in the age of ICT is that a lot more data can be collected, they can be collected in clandestine ways (e.g. in surveillance situations), and the can be combined and merged using advanced data mining technologies. In addition, there is a greater rationale for official data collecting, as a lot more data is required for the functioning of public administration as in previous periods, as societies rush to adopt increasingly complex technologies, above all ICTs. The increasing complexity of modern societies means that an increasing number of bureaucratic decision is taken, all of which require a calculation process. Complexity, viewed through government spectacles, generates insecurity - a great deal of the bureaucratic activity therefore revolves around the topic of security.

In spite of the anti-bureaucratic rhetoric of most governments, these factors provides the bureaucracies with an increased hold on society. Foremost bureaucratic data bunkers include the following:

    Law enforcement agencies

    Fiscal agencies

    Intelligence agencies

    Social welfare agencies

    Social insurance institutions

    Public health agencies

    Educational institutions

These are agencies that enjoy the privileged protection of the state. Those among them that operate in the field of security are further protected against public scrutiny, as they operate in an area to which democratic reason has no access.

What makes the data repositories of these institutions different from private data bunkers is their "official", i.e. their politically binding and definitive character. CAE speak of the bureaucracy as a "concrete form of uninterruptible, official and legitimised memory."

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Data Bodies
    Global data bodies - intro
-3   Data body mealplan
-2   The plastic card invasion
-1   Data bunkers
0   Bureaucratic data bunkers
+1   Private data bunkers
+2   Global hubs of the data body industry
+3   Databody convergence
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