Report: Data Bodies

  Related Search:

  Databody economy and the surveillance state

Databody economy Surveillance state
Promise Reality Promise Reality
universal prosperity universal commercialisation total security total control
frictionless market pacified society political harmony death of democracy

The glamour of the data body economy clouds economic practices which are much less than glamorous. Through the seizure of the data body, practices that in the real political arena were common in the feudal age and in the early industrial age are being reconstructed. The data body economy digitally reconstructs exploitative practices such as slavery and wage labour. However, culturally the data body is still a very new phenomenon: mostly, people think if it does not hurt, it cannot be my body. Exploitation of data bodies is painless and fast. Nevertheless, this can be expected to change once the awareness of the political nature of the data body becomes more widespread. As more and more people routinely move in digitised environments, it is to be expected that more critical questions will be asked and claims to autonomy, at present restricted to some artistic and civil society groups trying to get heard amidst the deafening noise of the commercial ICT propaganda, will be articulated on a more general level.

The more problematic aspect of this development may be something else: the practices of the data body economy, themselves a reconstruction of old techniques of seizure, have begun to re-colonise real political space. Simon Davis, Director of the London-based privacy campaigners Privacy International, one of the foremost critics of modern-day technologies of surveillance and data capturing, has warned against the dangers of a loss of autonomy and undermining of civic rights that are being generated when workplaces are clogged with digital equipment allowing the constant monitoring and surveillance of workers. Unless current trends towards data capturing remain unchecked, the workplace of the future will have many features of the sinister Victorian workhouses that appear Charles Dickens novels, where any claims for autonomy were silenced with references to economic efficiency, and the required discipline imposed by a hierarchy of punishments.

The constant adaptation process required from the modern individual has anonymised and structuralized punishment, which now appears in the guise of error messages and the privatisation of risk.

browse Report:
Data Bodies
    Global data bodies - intro
-3   Private data bunkers
-2   Global hubs of the data body industry
-1   Databody convergence
0   Databody economy and the surveillance state
+1   Election campaigning and direct marketing
+2   Become your own data merchant!