Re: Big Brother Is Your Friend - simulation of surveillance

From ricardo dominguez <>
Date Mon, 20 Sep 1999 17:12:31 -0400
Organization The Thing
References <>

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Mark Jeftovic wrote:

> [: hacktivism :]
> On 20-Sep-99 Chuck0 wrote:
> > [: hacktivism :]
> >
> > I've always enjoyed Brin's books, but his comments about privacy show
> > that he's just a fucking idiot, or that he wants to be the next SF
> > fascist, ala Robert Heinlein.
> >
> :-| <-- this is me wincing because I'm about to get lynched out here...
> I have always been a closet case feeling that a surveillance society
> is inevitable, and possibly beneficial.


here is a note from Brett Stalbaum, a co-founder of EDT,
that just came in on this issue....with an old review...i did
of the Bograt book he mentions...back sometime in '96

Simulation, or more specifically the simulation of surveillance,
is the new paradigm of political power primarilly because
it is cheap and efficient. If an interest can perform the
application of power through a system in which it's
subjects cooperate because they think someone might
be surveilling them, or can't be sure but surveillance
is plausible, or where there is any kind of uncertainty,
then very little actual surveillance is necessary. It's
simulation is sufficient. (Foucault on the Bentham's
Panopticon...) All of this is written very well about in William
Bogards book, The Simulation of Surveillance.

Now add, as Bogard does, Baudrillard's notions
about simulation and the hyperreal, or the disappearance
of the real and it's replacement by it's operational
double in the form of screens and code, and we find a tight
explanatory model in which to describe the EDT
as an inversion of power. It's Baudrillard's bank
robbery example really, you can't convince systems
of power based on simulation that a simulated
threat is not a real threat. Why? Because above
all simulation is real, more than real (if one takes
the "hyper" at face value.)

Now of course this blasting off of the real into
the hyperreal presents all kinds of problems
for tradtional Marxist-Materialists, which is at
least the general territory that I think all four
of us either come from or at least came from
at one time (more or less). I think this is why EDT
has had so much trouble with the traditional stratified left.

My solution, via DeLanda really, is to take up
the discourse of Deleuzian materialism. Without
writing longer than I have, Deleuzian materialism
would view Baudrillard's hyperreal not as beyond
real, but as "stuff". This stuff interacts with and
weaves itself in as part of all real systems. (Email
makes itself part of the distribution of food.) Simulation
is real "stuff", and activists have a responsibility
(because corporationshave been busy in this regard),
to probe the spaces of simulation and,
paraphrasing Ricardo, invert the mirror.

Of course, the thing you have to keep fighting
in an explication of this is the equation:
simulation=not real. Floodnet was actual, an
ontologically real denial of service attack. A
little like shooting at an Sherman with
a sling-shot, but actual nevertheless. It's power was not in
it's ability to take out a server, but in it's
ability to let the admins know it was under "attack."

(here is an old interview with Bill Bogard--1996)


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