Surveillance Project: New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting

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The New Transparency makes visible the identities of individuals, workings of institutions and flows of information in ways never before seen. Surveillance, the social process underlying the New Transparency, is rapidly becoming the dominant organizing practice of our late modern world. Given growing computer-dependence and reliance on personal data collection and processing by a variety of institutions, and heightened public concern about security, surveillance is now experienced as an everyday reality. The history, key characteristics and consequences of the New Transparency will be examined by asking three vitally important questions:

  • What factors contribute to the general expansion of surveillance as a technology of governance in late modern societies?
  • What are the underlying principles, technological infrastructures and institutional frameworks that support surveillance practice?
  • What are the social consequences of such surveillance both for institutions and for ordinary people?

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An MCRI project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    The Political Economy of Israel’s Homeland Security
    (The Surveillance Project, 2009-04) Gordon, Neve
    In this report, Gordon argues that the “Israeli experience”, in its various manifestations, has played a pivotal role in the formation of Israel’s homeland security industry and helps explain the industry’s subsequent transformation into a global success story. But before examining how the Israeli experience has operated, he begins with a historical overview. Chapter One describes the Israeli homeland security and surveillance industry, and situates it within the Israeli economy. This is also briefly contextualized within the global security industry. Chapter Two covers the historical processes leading to the emergence of the homeland security sector in Israel, focusing on the Israeli military, the military industry and the high-tech industry. Finally, the Third Chapter explains Israel’s comparative advantage, showing how the success of this industry is intimately tied to different kinds of Israeli experiences that have been created by the security forces and military industry. An analysis of the political economy of Israel’s homeland security industry accordingly reveals that there is an economic motivation to produce and reproduce the so-called security related experiences and to diversify them. By way of conclusion, Gordon claims that the Israeli experience is perceived as extremely valuable and attractive because it manages to connect between a hyper-militaristic existence, a neoliberal economic agenda, and democracy.
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    Canadian and Israeli Defense -- Industrial and Homeland Security Ties: An Analysis
    (The Surveillance Project, 2008-11) Kilibarda, Kole
    This report examines specific recent linkages between Canada and Israel in the Homeland Security field. To this end the paper is divided into: (1) a short overview of the general context impelling the growth in Canadian and Israeli commercial relations; (2) a look at some of the institutionalized cooperation frameworks established that regulate the Canada-Israel relationship; and (3) an examination of the private sector benefits of this cooperation in the homeland security and defense industrial realm.
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    Deep Packet Inspection in Perspective: Tracing its lineage and surveillance Potentials
    (The Surveillance Project, 2009-01) Christopher, Parsons
    Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are responsible for transmitting and delivering their customers’ data requests, ranging from requests for data from websites, to that from filesharing applications, to that from participants in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) chat sessions. Using contemporary packet inspection and capture technologies, ISPs can investigate and record the content of unencrypted digital communications data packets. This paper explains the structure of these packets, and then proceeds to describe the packet inspection technologies that monitor their movement and extract information from the packets as they flow across ISP networks. After discussing the potency of contemporary deep packet inspection devices, in relation to their earlier packet inspection predecessors, and their potential uses in improving network operators’ network management systems, I argue that they should be identified as surveillance technologies that can potentially be incredibly invasive. Drawing on Canadian examples, I argue that Canadian ISPs are using DPI technologies to implicitly ‘teach’ their customers norms about what are ‘inappropriate’ data transfer programs, and the appropriate levels of ISP manipulation of customer data traffic.
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    David Lyon's Introduction to The New Transparency Project
    (2009-06-01T14:52:15Z) Lyon, David
    David Lyon's introduction to The New Transparency Project begun in 2008 under The Surveillance Project. (Large file - 215 MB. You can download to play later. For PC: right click to select 'Save Target As..."; for Mac: CTRL+click to select "Download linked file")