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Re: <nettime> DECONtamination CONtagium
Ana Viseu on Thu, 3 Oct 2002 20:05:23 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> DECONtamination CONtagium


Sorry for the long delay in replying (this must be the most used email
starting sentence). Deadlines looming and no time for email.

I agree with your definition of surveillance as a 'passive-agressive
non-entity'. Although I would say that the hope underlying it is not that
you don't step out of line (there are mechanisms to deal with deviations)  
but that you internalize the logic itself. The moment the logic of
surveillance becomes internalized the disciplinization comes from within
rather than being imposed from outside.

However, I start to think that 'surveillance' and the always attached
'control' are overrated and over used as metaphors for lack of privacy. I
just wrote a paper about this (the above mentioned deadline...).  
Surveillance and control (at least as they are utilized within the privacy
discourse) put too much emphasis on the personal/individual facet of
privacy, on the individual's right to choose. This gives rise to arguments
such as 'the right to be let alone' and to counter arguments of 'nothing
to hide, nothing to lose'. The long-term value of privacy as a social good
is lost in this line of argumentation.

I would then argue that we need to shift from a discourse of 'control' to
one of 'accountability'. Many of the control mechanisms have been
internalized and unfortunately they have become common practice for many.  
They have become part of everyday life and many people are comfortable
with them. So, we need to develop better and more visibile structures of
accountability to create mechanisms for privacy protection. If you
implement accountability practices, rights and responsabilities, then
hopefully the entities involved will regain awareness.

Events such as DECONference, simulations if you will, are interesting in
that they make visible power relationships and compliance mechanisms that
we are usually not aware of. So, they do foster a greater understanding of

You say that I seem to that "the small victories of the subjugated become
smaller and more personal." I think that personal victories are exactly
that, victories. But, I guess I would like to see a greater emphasis put
on communitarian efforts, less individualistic responses.

Best. ana

At 08:54 PM 9/27/02 -0400, you wrote:
>Having cut my finger while doing the dishes I write left handed.


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Tudo vale a pena se a alma não é pequena.

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