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Copyright 1993, 1996, and 2008 by Rick Crawford

The following is my chapter in . . . 

    "Invisible Crises:  What Conglomerate Control of Media
                           means for America and the World"
edited by George Gerbner, Hamid Mowlana, and Herbert I. Schiller
(Westview Press, 1996).


Introduction Society as a Technological Construct Architectures of Captivity -- the Panopticon The Media-Industrial Complex Computers and Corporate Impacts Electronic Banking De-skilling the Workforce Computer Simulations Deception by Computer Simulation Surveillance, Segmentation, Privacy, and Power Residential Power Line Surveillance Monitoring in the Workplace Intelligent Vehicle/Highway Systems Video Games and the Colonization of Consciousness Educational Software Pawns in a Panoptic Video Game? Intelligence Agencies and the Political Economy of Encryption The Information Superhighway -- to Where? References ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- COMPUTER-ASSISTED CRISES by Rick Crawford


Introduction New developments in computers and information technology are profoundly reshaping American society. But if "technology is the engine of the future," who is in the driver's seat? Most people would prefer a future of individual freedom and autonomy, of responsible citizenship where participatory democracy thrives, and where a reasonable degree of social justice and economic equity prevails. Yet all these basic social goods are threatened by the increasing concentration of information technology power in the hands of unaccountable institutions -- both government agencies and private corporations -- that currently are beyond democratic control. A 1990 Harris poll found 45% of the American public agreed that, "Technology has almost gotten out of control." But the poll neglected to probe further by asking, "Almost gotten out of WHOSE control?" If we are to regain some control over our future, we need to begin asking questions about what forces are steering information technology in which directions, and for whose purposes? Every technology entails both costs and benefits. Because most technologies are advertised and sold as commodity products, their benefits need to be highly visible and concentrated in the hands of the purchaser. On the debit side, technologies that succeed in the marketplace tend to have costs that are relatively invisible and dispersed or "externalized" onto other people. The costs of information technology may be financial, but more often they are hidden in structural changes, and take the form of surveillance, technological dependence without control, and altered ways of life -- e.g., speeded-up lifestyles, or a more shallowly-rooted existence. A balanced journalistic story featuring a new technology ought to ask, "Will those who enjoy its benefits, bear their fair share of its costs?" But balanced reporting on technology is rare. Since the popular press has long been saturated with Pollyannaish perspectives proclaiming technological "progress," this essay will attempt to remedy that imbalance. Case studies of computer applications will examine the ramifications of arguably unwise, and certainly undemocratic, control of technological "evolution." The dystopian visions presented here should not be considered inevitable outcomes. Rather, the struggle between various contending forces will determine where our futures will lie. The case studies cover five major aspects of information technology: corporate computerization, surveillance and power, video games and consciousness, the political economy of encryption, and the Information Superhighway. But before focusing on these specific application areas, some background may be helpful to provide perspective and establish an analytical framework. Society as a Technological Construct Information technologies -- computers and telecommunications -- are shaking and restructuring the foundations of societies worldwide. Is technology our autonomous master, or is it our obedient servant? The computer is only the latest manifestation in a long line of technological "evolution," in which technological artifacts and techniques become "adapted" to meet the demands of their socio-economic environments. Biological adaptation is a two-way process of co-evolution: the environment shapes the organisms, and the organisms in turn alter the environment. Similarly, generations of technological evolution produce a series of "built environments" that, in turn, affect the human cultures enclosed within them. But societies are not monolithic, and the co-evolution of technology with society is strongly influenced by socio-economic power relations. Various institutions impose significant strategic "selection pressures" that influence the research funding and regulatory environments of technological "evolution." Large defense contractors exert such immense influence on the development of military infrastructure that they earned the label, "military-industrial complex." But multinational communications corporations also wield enormous power. The communications industries -- cable TV and broadcasters, entertainment companies, computer makers, telephone companies, newspapers and electronic publishers -- made over $50 million in campaign contributions for U.S. federal elections during the decade ended December 1993. These targeted sums generate significant leverage, but are dwarfed by the communications industries' advertising budgets. Public relations salvos promoting the latest technologies invariably advertise best-case scenarios. In 1988, the microcomputer industry alone spent over a billion dollars on advertising.1 Any doubts about the "march of progress" are assailed as Neo-Luddite. One explicitly anti-Luddite advertisement by IBM closed with the slogan, "Smashing the clocks might destroy the mechanism of progress. But it will never delay tomorrow."2 This was a rhetorical device designed to preempt genuine debate. The issue is not whether tomorrow should be delayed, but rather, "What kind of world do we want to live in tomorrow?" Who decides how technology will structure the space and time of our daily life? Even in an ostensibly free market, the dominant social groups and economic institutions influence the next generation of technological development by embedding their own (often unconscious) biases, value judgements, and social "rules" in the new technological designs. Other social strata then adapt their lifestyles to the constrained technological choices available in their new cultural environment. In this manner, the dominant socio-economic power relations tend to be reproduced -- and amplified -- in the technological enclosures that arise to surround the lower social strata. "Relations of power, subsumed into the functioning of technology, become automatic and invisible."3 Technology is thus a key strategic site in the struggle over socially- and politically-contested terrain. The so-called "Information Age" and "Information Superhighway" are ideological constructs. They are outgrowths of the prevailing American ideology that claims this country has transcended ideology; that, having outgrown false idols, there is now no god but the Market. The ideology of the Information Age is heavily intertwined with the myth of the benevolence of corporate technology, or at least, the inevitability of something called "progress."4 But progress for which sectors of society, and at what cost? The techno-ideology of Social Darwinism that serves to justify an inequitable status quo is every bit as self-serving as was the Divine Right of Kings in a previous era. Yet such ideological assumptions cause people to accept the inevitability of whatever is labelled by those in power as "technological progress." Neil Postman suggests this has allowed the idea of human progress to be replaced by the idea of technological progress. Many people are willing to sacrifice shared cultural values if they stand to benefit from some form of "progress." Such benefits can include money, market share, cultural hegemony, and political power. In this context, it is important to bear in mind one fundamental economic dynamic of private-enterprise systems: private firms can prosper by internalizing benefits and externalizing costs. The classic example is pollution, where, e.g., a community situated around a factory bears the externalized costs of its production, while the factory owner and his customers internalize the benefits. The privatization of public security exemplifies another dimension in which benefits are internalized and costs are externalized. In the United States, the social environment has deteriorated as the ratio of funds spent for public vs. private security has plummeted. By 1989, the private security industry in the U.S. had revenues 50% greater than those of all public police forces combined.5 In the case of modern technology, those who succeed in internalizing benefits "within" machines prosper. Yet the resulting externalized costs -- the pervasive, often deep, structural changes -- typically are debited against our common social fabric and cultural environment. The modern corporation has evolved into an entity that functions to internalize Rights, and externalize Responsibilities.6 Architectures of Captivity -- the Panopticon Due to the ideological nature of hi-tech terms, they warrant oppositional decodings such as the "Mis-information" or "Myth-information Age", and the "Information Super-Hyped Way", "Snooper-Highway", or "Super Highway-Robbery." One myth in particular may prove to be a fatal distraction. This is the notion -- widely shared by computer-literate denizens of the cyberspace networks -- that the only significant danger to society is the emergence of an oppressive centralized government. Ominous steps in that direction are indeed occurring (e.g., the Clipper chip). But the emergence of civil society may be threatened less by the iron fist of a public sector Big Brother, than by the velvet touch of invisible private sector hands working to channel modern life into a digital Panoptic enclosure. The concept of a Panoptic prison originated with Jeremy Bentham in 1791. The circular architecture would consist of a central surveillance tower, surrounded by a series of individual cells. Each cell was to be illuminated from the perimeter, thus backlighting the inmates. But the central tower would remain dark, so that the wardens inside could keep the inmates under constant surveillance without being seen themselves. Panoptic surveillance techniques allow architectures of social control to be generalized beyond what are nominally considered prisons. Today's new hi-tech Panopticon resembles a computerized virtual prison planet under construction on the Information Superhighway, at great social cost. New digital techniques for remote surveillance and control have rendered physical enclosures, concentration camps, and chain gangs obsolete. The Panoptic Information Enclosure is an interlacing mesh of digital networks designed to channel the flows of data, and of economic, and political power; a transnational effort to overlay Planet Earth with a computerized surveillance grid. The Panoptic project is not the result of one vast conspiracy. Rather, it is driven by the decades-old dynamics of technological evolution in the consumer marketing and national security sectors. The would-be wardens of the Panopticon are drawn from the ranks of corporate interests, intelligence agencies, and military elites. The power of Panoptic architectures derives not only from data surveillance, but also from techniques that classify, segment, and isolate the population. In Bentham's vision of the Panopticon, the inmates, isolated from communication with one another, would be reduced to the status of "solitary sequestered individuals ... Indulged with perfect liberty within the space allotted to him, in what worse way could he vent his rage, than by beating his head against the walls?"7 These passages chillingly foreshadow the much-vaunted "consumer choice" of modernity. As the public sphere erodes, the public space available for community fragments, leaving individuals isolated inside shrinking private spaces -- corporate-designed technological enclosures such as the automobile and the "home entertainment center." While mentally confined within these cells, individuals are "indulged with perfect liberty" to choose among the commodities advertised as individual "solutions" to collective social problems. Segmented by psychographic class into virtual Panoptic internment camps, citizens and consumers are bombarded with targeted images as symbolic substitutes for freedom and community, thereby dissipating the forces available for genuine social change. In what Foucault calls the "microphysics of power," the control of time is as significant as the control of space. The power of Panoptic structures inheres in their ability to induce self-discipline by those under surveillance. The inmate "assumes responsibility for the constraints of power ... he becomes the instrument of his own subjection."8 When most citizens consider it normal to return to their home entertainment centers after each day's "work furlough," it is clear that physical enclosures and chain gangs have been superseded by more economically efficient disciplinary instruments. Thus, for citizens, "'free time' becomes increasingly subordinated to the 'labor' of consumption."9 People literally spend their time trying to buy their freedom and happiness.10 What is portrayed as individual freedom under the rubric of "consumer choice" is increasingly restricted to a constrained set of outcomes that pose no threat to the established order. This notion of the political economy of cultural power is essential for understanding the new modalities of communications power in the Information Age.11 The Media-Industrial Complex In the post Cold War era of low intensity conflict, corporate technological power has outgrown the military-industrial complex. A new media-industrial complex is arising that uses control of information -- and disinformation -- as a more cost-effective means of fine-grained social control. As the "saturation bombing" tactics of mass marketing moved from the commercial to the political realm, modern corporate firepower evolved to extract precise intelligence data via Panoptic consumer surveillance, and then respond with surgically targeted commercial "smart bombs." The American public is increasingly concerned about technological threats to personal privacy. The high visibility of this issue helps ensure the periodic mobilization of forces to defend against particularly egregious "invasions of privacy" (e.g., the Lotus Marketplace incident).12 But a report to the Club of Rome suggests that the primary threats of the Information Age are not to personal privacy as traditionally perceived. "The real issue ... is power gains of bureaucracies, both private and public, at the expense of individuals and the non-organized sectors of society, by means of gathering information through direct observation and by means of intensive record keeping."13 Contrary to popular belief, the shift from centralized computing to distributed (and "ubiquitous") computing entails a further increase in the concentration of power within the commercial sphere. These distributed tendrils of computerized surveillance and control are channels for what Foucault calls the "capillary functioning of power." This fundamental shift in the balance of power between individuals and institutions is likely to remain an invisible crisis. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Computers and Corporate Impacts

Computers and Corporate Impacts Computers have played a major role in facilitating the transnationalization of corporate operations, and the growth of centrally-controlled regimes. According to the Business Roundtable, an organization composed of the CEOs from the Fortune 500 companies, "Telecommunications is central to the operations of all multinational business activity ... the dependence of multinational corporations -- whether they are pursuing intracorporate functions or providing services or both -- upon international information transfer is steadily increasing." 14 Electronic Banking Transnational businesses are dependent on international computer networks for more than mere abstract data flow. Some of that data represents quite tangible promises to pay -- electronic dollars. Each day, over one trillion dollars flows through a perpetual motion money-market machine known as "CHIPS" -- the Clearing House Interbank Payments System -- owned by a consortium of New York banks. That's one billion U.S. dollars speeding through cyberspace every minute! The dollar volume on this private corporate network exceeds even that flowing through the network of the U.S. Federal Reserve Banks. Although the number of economic transactions made electronically constitutes only 2% of the total, compared to 85% that is mediated by "hardcopy" cash, the relationship is reversed when we examine the total dollar amount. Cash covers less than 1% of the dollar value exchanged, while electronic transfers between computers account for more than 83% (the remainder is mostly in the form of checks and money orders). The "velocity" of capital flow through cyberspace continues to accelerate. In 1980, the flow of electronic dollars per day was already 12 times greater than the total balances held in accounts at the U.S. Federal Reserve. By 1991, this daily dynamic flow had grown to 55 times the static base of bank reserves. This degree of electronic "leverage" is a crisis waiting to happen. It may be triggered by electrical breakdown, software bugs, human error, computer crime (by knowledgeable insiders), or by some nonlinear dynamic coupling between different electronic financial markets. The situation regarding foreign exchange transactions is similar: less than 10% of total foreign exchange volume constitutes payments for goods and services. The balance of power between central banks and commercial currency traders was lost long before the waves of selling by speculators forced Britain and Italy to drop out of the EC Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992. As Wall Street wizards conjure up new derivative financial instruments, the risk increases that computerized cross-market arbitrage strategies will destabilize the global electronic inter-market. The Wall Street tail is wagging the Main Street dog, but few can perceive the volatile ramifications of this dialing for data dollars. Precisely because the corporate form of organization is so dependent on computers, the magnitude of corporate computing power dwarfs the computing power controlled by civil society. As just one example of corporate computing scale, the private telecom network operated by General Motors has 300,000 terminals, 250,000 telephones, and carries over one billion "transactions" per year. Approximately half the volume of all transborder data flows is internal corporate communication, carried on private networks. "As technology advances, the importance of national boundaries will decline and the communications network of the multinational corporation, developed in form by the banks, will have the potential to become the guiding force for the development of world political and economic policies."15 Such disparities in power are driving fundamental social change. De-skilling the Workforce The phenomenon known as de-skilling is a cumulative process whereby skills are "extracted" from humans via "knowledge engineering" and then replicated in (computerized) machines. De-skilling is not merely a copying of skills, but results eventually in those skills dying out in the human workforce. The de-skilling of workers is a product of corporate competition, coupled with computerization. In a different institutional context, the competitive dynamic might instead have promoted different forms of computerization that favored increases in worker skills across the board. De-skilling of clerks and blue-collar workers is nothing new, but there are powerful economic incentives to devalue human labor throughout the white-collar echelons as well. "In 1980, out of $600 billion spent on office personnel costs in the U.S., nearly 75% went to managers and professionals, with the balance going to the numerically superior clerical and secretarial workers."16 Work flows and job descriptions will continue to be restructured, in order to coalesce tasks that can be accomplished more readily by technological capital than by human labor. For these tasks, technology will be both cheaper and "smarter" than labor. Whichever tasks meet this criterion will become fixed nodal points in the flow of work, because their functioning can be precisely specified. Driven by the imperative to rationalize work flow, the wavefronts of future task restructuring will conform to these technological fixed points, and will preferentially erode the remaining human capital instead. The crux of the problem is that American business culture designs technological capital as a substitute for human capital, rather than as a complement to it. De-skilling is another example of internalizing benefits (i.e., profits for the corporation) in machines, and externalizing costs (e.g., unemployment, anomie) onto society at large. Computers don't require wages, become fatigued, take leave to care for sick children, or go on strike. Thus, the dynamic of de-skilling will act to shrink the information society's "middle class," causing the knowledge gap between the info-rich and the info-poor to diverge further. Even the narrow macro-economic results of de-skilling are detrimental: products can be produced more cheaply, but increasing numbers of consumers -- being unemployed workers -- are no longer able to afford them. Some label this trend a deep structural crisis of industrial capitalism, and advocate radical changes, e.g., a significantly shorter work week, or a guaranteed national income. How can this crisis, too, remain invisible? It turns out this is not a collective crisis of corporate capitalism, but merely 80 million individual human crises! Neoclassical economists -- true believers in Schumpeter's "long wave" theory of economic decline and technological innovation 17 -- preach that, just as the Industrial Revolution catalyzed a period of rapid growth, so too shall the Information Age enable a Second Coming of "Lite" growth. But perpetual growth on a finite planet is unsustainable. Computer Simulations De-skilling -- the transfer of skills from workers to computers -- might be viewed as an increasing "knowledge gap" between workers and computers. In this light, it may be understandable for de-skilled workers to view computers as omniscient. After Weizenbaum constructed his ELIZA program to simulate a Rogerian psychotherapist, he was horrified that it fooled many ordinary people into thinking this trivially simple computer program truly "understood" them far better than any human therapist. But even psychologists were snared by the lure of computer-assisted therapy. Prominent therapists of the time expressed a desire to establish numerous computerized psychology clinics, to make therapy available to the masses. "Several hundred patients an hour could be handled by a computer system designed for that purpose. The human therapist ... would not be replaced, but would become a much more efficient man .."18 Not only psychologists were attracted by the lure of a "technological fix." Carl Sagan, in a 1975 article in Natural History, wrote, "In a period when more and more people in our society seem to be in need of psychiatric counseling ... I can imagine the development of a network of computer psychotherapeutic terminals something like arrays of large telephone booths, in which, for a few dollars a session, we would be able to talk with an attentive, tested, and largely non-directive psychotherapist." [18.5] Why is it that "more and more people in our society" seem to "need" counseling? Perhaps computer-assisted psycho-technology is being called on to "fix" (or at least paper over) problems caused by the social and psychological externalities resulting from dependence on other forms of technology. If computers can heal minds, then surely they can harm them as well. Rather than embracing computer-assisted psychology as a cure for what the Trilateral Commission [18.6] calls "democratic distemper," we should regard it as a highly problematic technology of social control: "If you are troubled, my child, enter the Tele-Confessional Booth (tm). Open your heart, and reveal your mind to Big Cyber Brother." Deception by Computer Simulation

More recently, economists have been fooled by computerized economic simulation models, including those of their own construction. In the debate over "free trade" and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), most mainstream economists cited computer projections claiming that NAFTA would create thousands of new jobs in the U.S. The computer simulations on which these NAFTA proponents rely are known as Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models, and to make their analyses tractable, the neo-classical economists must make certain simplifying assumptions. When simulating the impact of a trade agreement on labor, it seems absurd to assume a priori that capital is immobile, that full employment will prevail, that unit labor costs are identical in the U.S. and Mexico, that American consumers will prefer products made in America (even if they are more expensive), and that trade flows between the U.S. and Mexico will exactly balance. Yet a recent examination of ten prominent CGE models showed that nine of them include at least one of those unrealistic assumptions, and two of the CGE models included all the above assumptions!19 This situation bears a disturbing resemblance to computer-assisted intellectual dishonesty. Human beings have always been masters of self-deception, and hiding the essential basis of one's deception by embedding it in a computer program surely helps reduce what might otherwise become an intolerable burden of cognitive dissonance. Perhaps those early psychologists who foresaw computer programs bringing mental relief to overstressed humans were not so wrong after all! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Surveillance, Segmentation, Privacy, and Power

Surveillance, Segmentation, Privacy, and Power In June 1991, in response to a grand jury subpoena, Cincinnati Bell searched the dialing records of 650,000 residential customers to help Procter & Gamble identify employees suspected of leaking embarrassing company information to a reporter. The balance of power between individuals and institutions is terribly skewed when one company's "corporate privacy" outweighs the privacy rights of 650,000 households. A computerized database shifted the balance of power between workers and businesses: after winning the right to workers' compensation insurance, any worker injured on the job who has the temerity actually to file a claim, will find his records entered in a national computerized blacklist. For a fee, employers can examine these files for employment applicants, to weed out those they deem high risk. When people object to computerized surveillance, it is usually because they feel it is an invasion of privacy. But the notion of privacy is bound up with the inviolability of individual dignity and autonomy. Both these attributes are inextricably linked to relations of power. Clearly, personal autonomy suffers when institutions compile information on one's past experiences, and use that data to amplify their power to constrain one's future options. But the attribute of personal dignity likewise is vulnerable to the exercise of power -- the power to define an individual. The global Panopticon under construction as an "Information Snooper- Highway" is not a unified architecture, with a single central tower. Instead, multiple central towers correspond to various institutions -- including credit bureaus, insurance companies, media conglomerates, and government agencies. These towers may obscure each others' views of the inmates, but that problem can be alleviated by the sharing or sale of surveillance data. The wardens in the Panoptic towers utilize various digital data-gathering practices to track the behaviors of inmates. Many economic transactions generate long-lived electronic records that identify the parties involved in, and the nature of, those economic transactions. Such digital records carry information that may have predictive value regarding future economic transactions. Thus, a large secondary market has arisen to trade in this Transaction-Generated Information (TGI). Files of Transaction-Generated Information (TGI) on consumers permit institutions to define an individual, e.g., as a poor credit risk, or as a sucker for "Buy 2 get 1 free" sales ploys. The Panoptic structures of modern life, coupled with fast interactive feedback mechanisms, also mean greater power for institutions to influence the self-definitions of individuals. Just as the media's control of news surveillance and distribution carries the power to define events as they happen, and to impose those definitions on the public as "instant history," so control of the Panoptic surveillance grid increases institutions' power to impose self-images on the subjects of private life, thereby violating personal dignity as well as infringing on individual autonomy. Information generated for one purpose can be linked with data gathered for another purpose, to produce a data shadow that reveals more than the sum of its parts. Familiar examples include the use of medical information to deny employment, and census information to deny credit. Corporations use TGI to reduce their risks, thus increasing their probable profits. But from the individual's viewpoint, this is data-based discrimination. One's life chances may be circumscribed -- not due to any crime one has committed -- but merely because some aspect of one's digital persona resembles that of people who are on record (rightly or not) as high-risk parties in various business transactions. One may be blacklisted or redlined, not for past transgressions, but based on computerized predictions of future behavior. Besides using TGI data to deny options to targeted individuals, another disturbing aspect of the secondary market in TGI is its use to extend "opportunities" to them. Correct TGI does have predictive value. Although few individuals' behaviors are so invariant as to be deterministic, many businesses can profit handsomely from increasing the probability that they guessed right. And the more predictable is a person's behavior, the more power is transferred to businesses that can access records of their digital persona. Moreover, fine-grained surveillance data permits fine- tuned manipulation through psychographically targeted corporate communications. Economies of scale become significant. Even if a company has correctly inferred intimate details of an individual's psychological makeup, it is seldom worthwhile to invest staff resources in constructing a custom-designed communication to manipulate that one individual (unless the business involves high-stakes fraudulent telemarketing). But once hundreds or thousands of individuals can be lumped together in one psychographic class, susceptible to the same forms of manipulation, these techniques can generate a predictable, cost-effective revenue stream. Moreover, such methods of segmenting the population allow political organizations to conduct controlled experiments to hone their propaganda techniques. Residential Power Line Surveillance

Residential Power Line Surveillance Many people are aware of telephone wiretapping. But few understand the potential for gathering covert intelligence via a form of "wiretapping" we'll call Realtime Residential Power Line Surveillance (RRPLS).20 A primitive form of non-realtime RPLS has been used for years by U.S. drug enforcement agents. By acquiring from local electric utility companies the billing records for the top residential electric power consumers, government agents can draw plausible inferences as to whether certain residences may be using banks of high powered lights to cultivate indoor marijuana gardens. In the U.S., a search warrant is not required to gather such data from an electric utility. U.S. law does not consider residential electric bills "private," just as residential telephone dialing records are not private.21 Innovative advances in computerization have given rise to "smart meters," enabling an enormous increase in the data-gathering ability of Residential Power Line Surveillance, to the point where RRPLS now joins the panoply of techniques that, collectively, constitute "data-veillance."22 Whereas primitive forms of power monitoring merely sampled one data point per month by checking the cumulative reading on the residential power meter, modern forms of RRPLS permit nearly continuous digital sampling. This allows watchers to develop a fine-grained profile of the occupants' electrical appliance usage. A computerized RRPLS device may be placed onsite with the occupants' knowledge and assent, or it surreptitiously may be hidden outside, attached to the power line feeding into the residence. This device records a log of both resistive power levels and reactive loads, as a function of time. The RRPLS device can extract characteristic appliance "signatures" from the raw data. For example, existing RRPLS devices can identify whenever the sheets are thrown back from a water bed, by detecting the duty cycles of the water bed heater.23 RRPLS can infer that two people shared a shower, by noting an unusually heavy load on the electric water heater, followed by two uses of the hair dryer. RRPLS may sound like just another expensive hi-tech spy toy, used, e.g., only by the FBI against a few suspected terrorists. But we ignore the data-gathering incentives of the market at our peril. Several economic dynamics promote the widespread use of RRPLS for commercial purposes. In fact, utilities already have deployed RRPLS in pilot programs covering thousands of U.S. homes.24 One factor promoting "computerization" of residential power metering is the electric utilities' desire to reduce their costs by automating the job of reading residential meters. Thus, most of the RRPLS devices installed in the U.S. today use packet radio techniques to transmit their (your) data to the utility's billing department (or to whomever else may be monitoring those transmissions). Another factor driving the proliferation of RRPLS is concern for the environmental impacts of energy use. The generating capacity needed by electric utilities is driven by peak power demand -- the maximum power required at any one time. As an incentive to reduce peak power demand, some utilities already have deployed RRPLS monitors to homes, so that customers using power during periods of peak demand (e.g., when many air conditioners are switched on during a hot summer afternoon) are charged higher prices. Thus, the laudable goal of equitably allocating the environmental costs of energy consumption is contributing to the spread of RRPLS techniques. Once a utility company "owns" a profile of a household's appliance usage, marketing motives tend to propagate that data. Appliance companies might buy this data, enabling them to target sales prospects more precisely. For example, field tests of a prototype RRPLS device detected a malfunctioning underground septic pump. The occupant was unaware of the urgent need for repair. Or the household RRPLS data might indicate that its occupants own an old-style washing machine, suggesting its possible replacement by a modern, energy-efficient washer. Or perhaps the household RRPLS appliance profile indicates its occupants use a microwave oven every weekday morning. Targeted direct mail might then send coupons, or even free trial samples of new microwave breakfast foods. On the other hand, health insurance companies may pool the RRPLS data from thousands of policy holders, correlating health insurance claims with statistical appliance usage profiles. They may determine that, for unknown reasons (perhaps due to a more time-stressed lifestyle), morning microwave users constitute a high risk group, and boost their insurance premiums accordingly. Those who spend too many nights tossing and turning on their water beds (whether due to insomnia or more enjoyable activities) may experience a similar boost in car insurance rates. Undoubtedly the greatest danger of widespread RRPLS is an invisible one, that utility companies will gradually degrade the norms of privacy as perceived by the public. Utility companies can buy off most of the uninformed populace by offering "surveillance subsidies" -- discounts or rebates to those who allow the sale of their private data. These personal surveillance contracts may be cloaked in the rhetoric of "new improved services," and "consumer choice." But for a utility to obtain the genuinely "informed consent" of its customers would require the utility to undertake expensive campaigns to educate customers regarding the long-term social consequences of this Panoptic surveillance. Given the conflict of interest inherent in such a scheme, it is clear that once again, the consent of the technological consumer will be manufactured, rather than informed.25 Surveillance subsidies may become common in many transactions, to induce individuals to communicate with corporations via interactive feedback. But, as with advertising, it is the consumer who ultimately pays the price for these "information subsidies." The net result will be the further monetarization of "inalienable" human rights into transferable corporate property rights. Yet another economic factor contributing to the proliferation of RRPLS is the "Smart House" campaign being pushed by builders and the Electronics Industry Association. The Smart House concept envisions "electronic systems that allow household appliances such as televisions and dishwashers to communicate with each other."26 One wonders what would motivate two such disparate appliances to speak with one other. Perhaps the dishwasher could tell the TV what brands of detergent and cookware the occupants used, and the TV could adjust its interactive advertising accordingly? Another selling point of a Smart House retrofit is its reputed advantage in terms of home security, since its motion-sensing devices presumably could distinguish between occupants, invited guests, and unwelcome intruders. It is difficult to evaluate the degree to which fear of violence will lead to electronic fortification of existing homes via RRPLS, thereby locking its occupants in to perpetual surveillance as effectively as it locks intruders out. But given the thriving market in labor-intensive private security services, the growing disparities between well-to-do homeowners and the "restless underclasses," and the existing movement by the upper classes to "fort up" in specially designed housing tracts, the wide acceptance of RRPLS for home security purposes is quite likely. One final economic incentive promoting the technological evolution of RRPLS is the lure of profits from a high-speed national information network. It could cost tens of billions of dollars to install "on-ramps" (e.g., fiber optic cables) from every residence to the "Information Superhighway". Yet utilities' profits from RRPLS could generate enough surplus cash flow to finance that construction. Through Realtime Residential Power Line Surveillance, electric utilities "can sharply reduce the future costs of making power at the same time they are capitalizing the cost of building the great information superhighway."27 Once again, corporations are poised to internalize profits by externalizing costs -- in this case, the social costs of utility surveillance. Fine-grained RRPLS monitoring of entire populations is not inevitable. Much of the tension between privacy interests and the need for incentives to reduce peak home energy consumption could be resolved by limiting the "intelligence" of smart RRPLS meters. But the level of RRPLS surveillance acceptable to consumers may artificially be boosted by surveillance subsidies. Given the corporate forces jockeying for position on the emerging "Information Superhighway," electric utility surveillance subsidies are of particular concern at the present time. Panoptic RRPLS surveillance, once frozen into the architecture of the "Snooper-highway" as an embedded technological bias, would have pervasive and irreversible effects on any future cultural trajectory through the "Information Age." Monitoring in the Workplace Computerized monitoring of clerical workers is commonplace. In America in 1990, 26 million employees had their work tracked electronically, and 10 million of those had their work evaluated -- and their pay determined -- based on computer-generated statistics. Airline reservation clerks are expected to arrange flight bookings within 106 seconds. If the customer asks too many questions, it increases the clerk's "TATT" (Total Average Talk Time), for which penalties can result. Directory assistance operators have 29 seconds to handle a caller's request. Any pleasantries, e.g., saying "please" or "thank you," increase the operator's "handle time," and the incident is logged immediately in that employee's evaluation file.28 But life in the lower occupational strata was nasty, brutish, and short, even before modern technologies. How has computing affected white collar workers? An examination of 25 popular Macintosh programs -- for electronic mail, network management, and integrated groupware applications -- found that, in the typical modern networked environment, every product allowed a network manager to "eavesdrop on virtually every aspect of your networked computing environment with or without your approval or even knowledge."29 Nor are such capabilities unique to Macintosh network environments. An ad for networking software in "PC Week" magazine -- clearly addressed to management -- boasts that their product, "Brings you a level of control never possible. You decide to look in on Sue's computer screen -- Sue won't even know you're there. All from the comfort of your chair." [29.5] That chair may be in the adjacent office, or it may be halfway around the world, far from a corporate electronic sweatshop set up to exploit cheap labor. To determine whether these surveillance capabilities were actually utilized, Macworld magazine conducted a survey of 300 CEOs and MIS (Management Information System) directors at firms of various sizes in different industries. They found that 22% of employers admitted they had searched the networked communications of employees, such as electronic mail, voice mail, or computer files. That figure rose to 30% for heads of larger companies (over 1000 employees). Demonstrating the casual justification for this intrusive behavior, only 18% of the companies responding had actual written policies dealing with employees' electronic privacy. According to Cindia Cameron, a field organizer for "9 to 5," the National Association of Working Women, "technology now allows employers to cross the line from monitoring the work to monitoring the worker." In light of the publicity from Macworld's survey, might we expect any federal legislation to limit employee surveillance? Lawrence Fineran of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), spoke against any such regulations. "NAM opposes any legislation that will interfere with the ability of modern and future equipment that can assist domestic companies in their fight to remain competitive. Otherwise the U.S. may as well let the information age pass it by." The rhetoric of "competitiveness" was invoked, despite the fact that Japan and much of Europe long ago imposed tougher restrictions than were proposed in the "Privacy for Consumers and Workers Act" that failed to pass Congress during the Bush administration. Economic "competitiveness" is a weapon used not only against government regulation, but also against workers. Some workers find their computer screen will flash the message, "You're not working as fast as the person next to you." Proponents argue that worker surveillance software is an improvement, because it guarantees workers' performance will be evaluated objectively. But such an analysis ignores the context of underlying power relations. Is workplace surveillance destined to fulfill the intent of Bentham's 1791 Panopticon, that "for the greatest proportion of time possible, each man should actually be under inspection?" Or barring that, "the persons to be inspected should always feel themselves as if under inspection," because, "the greater chance there is, of a person's being at a given time actually under inspection, the more strong will be the persuasion -- the more intense ... the feeling he has of his being so." Fortunately, in societies where some employers must fund worker healthcare costs, there is a countervailing economic incentive. A joint study conducted by the Communications Workers of America and researchers from the Univ. of Wisconsin found that electronic monitoring on the job increases boredom, tension, anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue. These findings are consistent with earlier studies implicating electronic surveillance as "a major workplace stress factor -- linked, in part, to the sense of powerlessness that monitored employees feel." Intelligent Vehicle/Highway Systems Proponents of "Intelligent Vehicle/Highway Systems" (IVHS) say that by attaching computers to all vehicles, and tracking their positions precisely, traffic jams can be averted and air pollution reduced. By transforming highways into electronic toll roads, proponents hope to force drivers to internalize the environmental costs of automobile use that would otherwise be externalized. A rudimentary form of IVHS is already operational during periods of peak traffic in Hong Kong. This system employs only surveillance, not control. A chip is installed in every car, and it responds automatically to queries from sensors installed along the roadways. In effect, certain streets are toll roads during peak traffic times. But rather than slow traffic further by physically collecting tolls, the IVHS toll system does this electronically. In a similar manner, vehicle speed and I.D. could be recorded, and speeding tickets could be mailed automatically to offenders. A related technology presents similar prospects. The Teletrac vehicle-locator system employs a frequency-agile transmitter to announce vehicle location. Already in Los Angeles, it is charged, "the courts have been utterly promiscuous in allowing the police to clandestinely tag suspects' cars with these devices. It is not far-fetched to imagine a situation in a few years where everyone on probation, or entered in one of the criminal databases, will have to submit to some form of 24-hour electronic surveillance. We shall soon see police departments with the technology to put the equivalent of an electronic bracelet on entire social groups."30 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Video Games and the Colonization of Consciousness

Video Games and the Colonization of Consciousness As arcades for video games have multiplied, video games themselves have moved into American homes, so that by 1993, Sega and Nintendo systems appeared in an estimated 50 million U.S. households. The $5.3 billion spent on video games in 1992 in America exceeded total ticket sales at movie theaters nationwide.31 A single video game company, Nintendo, had higher after-tax profits than Apple Computer or Microsoft, higher than all Hollywood studios combined. Video games are big not merely in terms of money, but especially when measured in that scarcest of currencies, discretionary time. Estimates are that children in homes with video games, on average, spend between 1.5 and 2 hours per day hooked into them. Consider Sega's "Night Trap" video game: This realistic, live-action CD-ROM product features bloodthirsty vampires dressed in black, who stalk scantily clad teen-age girls through a large house. The girls are portrayed as powerless to defend themselves. Unless rescued by the (male) player, they are caught by the vampires, who drill holes in their necks and hang them up on meat hooks. Perhaps "Night Trap" is too complex as an object lesson, since it mixes male chauvinism with violence. Fortunately there is a purer form of video game violence to examine. Sega's "Mortal Kombat" offers icing on the cake of gratuitous interactive violence: "At the climax of Mortal Kombat, after an opponent is beaten to the ground, the winner is invited to tear out the loser's bloody, beating heart, or snap off the loser's skull and pull the spine out of the body."32 Mortal Kombat was America's top-grossing [sic] arcade game in 1992, and versions for home systems (both Nintendo and Sega) were propelled into the home video game market by a $10 million advertising budget. Given society's agonizingly slow response to the crisis of television violence, those who sounded the alarm on that earlier crisis are watching the growth of video game violence with the horror usually reserved for watching a highway pile-up develop in slow motion. USC professor Marsha Kinder sees a big difference between video games and other media, because they actively engage children in violent acts. "It's worse than TV or a movie. It communicates the message that the only way to be empowered is through violence."33 In terms of de-sensitization, actively participating in virtual violence is expected to have even stronger de-sensitizing effects than passively witnessing violence. Educational Software Video game proponents correctly point out that the genre is not monolithic. For example, many educational software applications masquerade as video games to pique students' interest. But even "purely" educational software has its problems. These include the perils of simulated reality, which frequently misleads even adult PhDs. How realistic are the sets of rules and assumptions embedded in educational software? After "test-driving" an educational simulation, are children reminded that, "Your mileage in the real world may differ?" Would such warnings be contradicted by the weight of (simulated) experiential evidence? Perhaps the assumptions most deeply embedded in educational software are those of the Cartesian epistemology inherent in most notions of "problem-solving." These Cartesian postulates include the highly problematic notions of data as objective, technology as value-neutral, and communication as a conduit between autonomous individuals who construct their own ideas. When computerized educational problem-solving software reduces the real world's degrees of freedom to those of the Cartesian world view, this precludes creative "solutions" that redefine the problems in a larger (typically social) context. Cartesian software teaches students to approach situations as narrowly-defined problems to be solved -- not as circumstances to be comprehended by means of organizing principles, animated by a set of values. Education is a process of cultural transmission, and students often learn unintended lessons from teachers. What implicit lessons will instructional technology teach? It would seem that surveillance is one such lesson: in order for teachers to monitor students' progress, the instructional computer programs will track virtually all aspects of each interactive lesson. Thus, one impact of interactive computerized instruction will be the initiation of students into the socialization of surveillance.34 Prevailing notions of "computer literacy" are often thinly disguised economic ideology.35 The rhetoric of "economic competitiveness" is used to prey upon parents' fears that their child will lose the "educational competitiveness" contest, unless they purchase a home computer. Despite all the hype from the computer industry, one should at least consider the possibility that computers are largely irrelevant to our educational problems. An International Assessment of Educational Progress survey ranked American students behind 13 other countries in math and science proficiency, yet not one of those other countries used computer technology in the classroom.36 The "digital convergence" of computers with video and telecommunications will not be confined solely to adults. Trends toward news as "infotainment" -- already accelerating in TV broadcasting -- undoubtedly will be replicated in educational software. Competition between educational video software makers can be expected to shrink youths' attention spans further, and to reduce their tolerance for electronic spaces that are only sparsely action-packed. Thus, even if teachers rarely select a particular educational software package based on its superior electronic babysitting capabilities, it would seem that a Gresham's Law of Video Games nevertheless may apply to the educational software market, so that the "tainment" crowds out the "info". But even this volatile mixture of futuristic trends would be incomplete without factoring in advertising. Given the "commercial convergence" of movies, toys, clothes, breakfast foods, and video games, perhaps Teacher of the Year honors soon will be awarded to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Think of the licensing fees to be reaped from every school district! If your child can read this, thank a cartoon character. Pawns in a Panoptic Video Game? The "digital convergence" of most import involves the convergence of advertising and other forms of propaganda with interactive video or Virtual Reality (VR). Advertising modes that can gather data portend fine-tuned personalized manipulation, rather than coarse-grained statistical manipulation of large population segments. Although the power relationship between "info-producers" and "info-consumers" will be uneven enough as the corporate sector develops more detailed files of consumers' transactions, that power relationship will become utterly skewed if more citizens are induced to accept technology that incorporates Involuntary Input Devices (IIDs). This conceptual family of apparatus represents the extreme pole of what Gary Marx calls "extractive" information technology. Data are involuntarily extracted from the objects of surveillance, regardless of their wishes as subjects. One tangible example of an IID is a system to scan viewers' pupils. Other involuntary input devices include galvanic skin response transducers, infrared blood capillary sensors, etc. Such sensors are a logical extension of current trends in virtual reality gear. An earlier IID was the Nielsen passive people-meter, designed to scan viewers' faces and the pupils of their eyes. Image recognition software was intended to categorize facial expressions, enabling instantaneous measurement of audience response to TV ads.37 Today, with interactive multimedia, as soon as a frown is detected, an interactive ad might be "morphed" into alternative colors and scenes, until the viewer once again displays a docile, contented, smiling face. Supposedly Nielsen's passive people-meter project was (temporarily) discontinued a few years ago because viewers were uncomfortable that the device knew when they were drowsing or talking to somebody, rather than watching the tube. This unfortunate lack of social acceptance can be overcome by a suitably designed surveillance subsidy. The lure of virtual reality technology is the ideal bait on the hook of interactive surveillance. Much existing VR gear depends on an opaque helmet worn by the subject and sensors attached to various body parts, so that when the subject physically moves, the VR scene can change accordingly to provide a convincing illusion. Virtual Reality absolutely requires Involuntary Input Devices. Whereas current advertising provides an information subsidy, technology to implement the "pay-per-view" society would enable a market in which competing messages might carry negative prices -- they might "pay-to-be-viewed." How could advertisers ensure that receivers actually watched their messages? Physiological surveillance technology -- Involuntary Input Devices. Naturally, advertisers would demand the "right" to use realtime surveillance feedback to present their case in the most compelling manner possible. Encounters with such interactive, morph-able messages might literally be tests of wills, even if traditional hypnosis were illegal. Interactive ads, coupled with IIDs, constitute a giant leap in advertisers' ability to "get inside the mind of the consumer" -- in a decidedly non-passive manner. The following Virtual Reality (or video) game is represented in the format of a crude ASCII-driven video game, coupled with a "user-friendly" interface that employs a pupil-scanning Involuntary Input Device: ENTER COMMAND> Shoot convenience store clerk. [Video of] Clerk, bleeding profusely, drops behind counter. ENTER COMMAND> Take case from frozen foods locker. [Video of] A frosty case of "Cyber-Suds" beer. ENTER COMMAND> Open case. Take out bottle. Open bottle. [Video of] Bottle being opened. [Audio track:] "Fizzz" [Video of] Refreshing beer foaming out. [Audio track:] "Ahhh" ENTER COMMAND> Tell Bob, "It just doesn't get any better than this." [ Interactive software checks response to verify that Subject has properly memorized Product Slogan ] Bob agrees. [Video of] Something falling from the sky. ENTER COMMAND> Look up. [Video of] The Swedish Bikini Team! [Video of] You and Bob partying with the Swedish Bikini Team. Bob smiles at you. The girl fawning over Bob turns seductively toward the virtual camera and says [Audio track]: "Cyber-Suds for Cyber Studs ... it just doesn't get any better." [ Interactive software detects Subject's pupils straying to Bob's girl, who is blond. It dynamically reprograms the scene to switch the 2 girls, and logs Subject's preference for blondes in its permanent files. ] Bob's girl, now fawning over you, says [audio track]: "I'd love to go for a nude swim with you, but your file shows you only bought 3 cases of Cyber-Suds last month. You can be a Real "Cyber Stud" Man by making your monthly Cyber-Suds Bikini Team Quota. Let's DO IT right now! Whip out your credit card ... and then we can go skinnydipping." ENTER COMMAND> Debit -- 5 cases Cyber-Suds beer ENTER COMMAND> MasterCard #1349 1277 8652 1109 ENTER COMMAND> Authentication Code #3381 7047 5944 ENTER COMMAND> Give bottle to girl. [Video of] Girl thanking you gratefully as she opens the bottle. [Video of] Frothy beer foaming out, [Audio track accompaniment:] "Ahhh" as her bikini drops to the ground ... Naturally such interactive applications would have contingency video and audio footage for those who learn to mix their sex with virtual violence. Among young males, video games already serve as a significant source of self-identification and self-esteem. In the future, interactive video entertainment will be used to build brand-name identification and loyalty. Yesterday's consumers were willing to pay for the privilege of advertising a corporate logo on the clothing they wore in public spaces. "Product placement" and corporate logos on video game characters are already occurring in cyberspace.38 Perhaps tomorrow's cyber-consumers can be manipulated not only into having their own virtual reality character display a logo, but also into killing those virtual characters who display competing logos. A variant of the above video game might offer "points" (exchangeable for merchandise or free replays), whenever one's VR alter ego encounters and kills an opponent wearing the wrong corporate logo. Today's youth gangs kill over patches of color on clothing. One can imagine hate groups using the power of interactive video feedback to indoctrinate youngsters in the benefits of ethnic cleansing. Home video game systems provide extremely high video resolution, and Virtual Reality (VR) gear promises to provide an even more realistic experience for technophiles of all ages. Barring the cybernaut's dream of connecting the human brain directly to computer interfaces, VR technology represents the culmination of the Information Revolution -- the seamless replacement of warning signals from the natural environment by synthetic constructs. This ought to set many alarm bells to ringing. But we are told that, beyond mere cultural relativism, ethics ought to be technologically relativist: "I think it is good to beware of looking at the future through the moral lens of the present. ... In a world of tens of billions of people, perhaps cyberspace is a better place to keep most of the population happy, most of the time."39 This sketchy solution should come as a relief to the Trilateral Commission. But how might the governing elites be certain the populace would remain docile in their virtual reality cocoons? Cybernetic social control would require sensing (surveillance) and precisely-calibrated feedback -- exactly those functions provided by interactive Panoptic technologies. To maintain computerized social control over billions of cybernauts might seem expensive, but perhaps any resistance by the populace can be gradually degraded, until they are willing to pay "surveillance subsidies" to ensure their own comfortable incarceration. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Intelligence Agencies and the Political Economy of Encryption

Intelligence Agencies and the Political Economy of Encryption The metaphors of older communications technologies are extended to cyberspace, but many do not make that transition well. Email (electronic mail) is popularly conceived as sending a letter through the postal service. But a more accurate analogy is to a typewritten postcard. The distinction is crucial, since the contents of a postcard are visible to many mail handlers in the delivery system. Furthermore, a typewritten postcard carries no signature to authenticate its origin. Proponents of generalized email surveillance argue that, despite various laws, monitoring email is legal, since experienced cyber-citizens should have no expectation of privacy. Suffice it to say that, given currently installed software, neither the confidentiality nor the authenticity of email can be assured. Because email monitoring is cheap and undetectable (unlike steaming open and then resealing postal envelopes), practices of eavesdropping and forgery should be considered widespread. A tapped telephone line is a closer analogy to email. To legally tap an individual's phone in the U.S. formerly required a search warrant, and visible hardware. In older days, a government agent had to physically travel to a local telephone company's Central Office switch, attach alligator clips to a selected wire, and remain in the building, visible to telephone company management and employees alike. This labor-intensive process was eased somewhat by tape recorders. But even then, someone had to listen to those tapes and transcribe them before other observers could skim the contents quickly. With email, the balance of power between observer and subject has shifted. Once intercepted, the contents of email are already transcribed and entered in a computer for easy keyword searching. Moreover, email can be "intercepted" after transmission, since the recipient's host computer contains a copy. Thus, an agent can penetrate the system and copy the email anytime before the recipient deletes the email. And as Lt. Col. Oliver North learned to his dismay, even if the recipient deletes the email after reading it, redundancy programs installed on many host systems make backup copies of all data, which may persist indefinitely. Moreover, because the labor cost of cyber-surveillance is so low, it enables a small organization (with immense computer resources) to surveil the digital communications of an entire population. Human labor is needed only after a particular suspect is singled out. Thus, there is the potential for "retroactive wiretapping" of an entire society. How might a society defend itself against such a surveillance program? One tactic involves avoidance of a single, uniform, easily tapped network. Instead, multiple overlapping local, regional, and national networks would be employed. Surveillance agents would then need to install many physical "wiretaps" to guarantee interception of all dataflow. Another tactic is security through overload. If the volume of traffic is high enough, the recording capabilities of the monitoring agents can be exceeded. Curiously, descriptions of both tactics seem to characterize the evolution of the Internet, an international collection of over 20 million users on 2 million host computers connected via 16,000 networks in 60 countries (concentrated in the industrialized nations) that communicate in a manner best described as anarchic. Network topology evolves rapidly, and is in a constant state of flux, making it difficult even to measure the dimensions of the Internet. The number of networks connected to the Internet currently is doubling every year, and the volume of traffic on the Internet is expanding at the rate of 20% per month. If an agency is trying to keep all this under surveillance, the job must be a nightmare. But to monitor such volume and complexity, it is not necessary to access the contents of each message. Instead, a discipline known as traffic analysis simplifies the task by recording only the addresses of email senders and recipients (or those of telephone calls, for that matter). Clustering or block modelling algorithms can deduce shared interests among subgroups of communicators, identify "leaders," etc.40 The surveillance potential is vast, and once again alters the balance of power. The ultimate solution to network surveillance is encryption, coupled with anonymous re-mailer systems to foil traffic analysis. If both the contents and the terminal addresses of messages are strongly encrypted, that should suffice to foil any would-be surveillance agents. But what evidence indicates this concern with communications surveillance is more than simple paranoia? A March 1992 proposal by the FBI would require all U.S. telecommunication companies to provide the FBI with a remote- surveillance capability. The FBI argues that with new forms of digital telephony, it is becoming difficult or impossible for them to wiretap enemies of the people, such as organized crime, drug barons, etc. Naturally, citizens would continue to receive full Constitutional protections of due process -- i.e., a search warrant based on probable cause would be required (except in cases of "National Security") before the FBI could initiate a remote digital wiretap. "If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about," we are told. "Don't you want to be protected from criminals?" Intelligence agencies raise the spectre of hackers breaking into TRW's database and destroying citizens' credit ratings, or breaking into hospital computer systems and interfering with the functioning of intensive care equipment. In the ultimate irony, the threat of hacking is used to sell the public on the benefits of government telecom monitoring. If the scheme succeeds, all government-inspected email may one day carry the tag: "THIS E-MAIL HAS BEEN MONITORED BY THE STATE TO PROTECT INDIVIDUAL PRIVACY." To develop this remote wiretapping capability would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Who would absorb the cost? "Pass it on to the consumers," responds the FBI, "Either that or let the taxpayers foot the bill." But what about the social costs: the FBI has a habit of illegally wiretapping social activists, such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. With this proposal, as usual, the benefits would accrue to whoever controls the technology -- a government agency or transnational corporation. The "external costs" would appear in the social column, as an immense debit in the categories of freedom, privacy, and personal autonomy. Note this technology carries a similar risk to that of atomic power: It must be safeguarded from misuse for generations. Just as stockpiled plutonium represents concentrated military power, and thus must be guarded in perpetuity, so centralized mass-surveillance technology offers concentrated social power, and presents a long-lived irresistible temptation -- an attraction that eventually may prove fatal to democracy. The FBI's proposal to achieve "Universal Surveillance for All" is opposed by many large corporations, since it would require every company PBX system to include a port allowing the FBI access to conduct remote surveillance. Thus, presumably armed with a search warrant, the FBI could intercept all communications traffic transiting a corporate site without ever visiting the site to physically "tap" into its PBX switch. Corporate interests are concerned that such a remote surveillance capability would be a security hole that could be exploited by competitors engaged in industrial espionage. The FBI's proposal seems ludicrous in light of encryption technology. Why bother to intercept communications if you are unable to decipher the language in which they are encoded? That conundrum was resolved in April 1993, when a chilling proposal surfaced, ostensibly from NIST (the National Institute for Standards and Technology), to promulgate a "voluntary" government- approved cryptography system for civilian computer and phone communication. Documents obtained by CPSR (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility) under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that, in violation of the Computer Security Act of 1987, the real initiator of this proposal is the NSA (National Security Agency) -- the agency charged with intercepting all transmissions relevant to national security. The budget of the NSA exceeds that of all other intelligence agencies combined -- e.g., the FBI, CIA, DIA -- and its computing power is measured not in MIPS or gigabytes, but in acres of physical ground covered by the most modern computing equipment.41 This proposal would establish a cryptographic algorithm, called Skipjack, as a de facto civilian standard, despite the fact that the Skipjack algorithm itself remains classified as a military secret. It is customary to publish crypto algorithms, so that they may be tested by all challengers to prove their mettle against attacks by cryptanalysis. But the NSA refuses to allow public testing. The Skipjack algorithm would be implemented in hardware, in a chip called Clipper or Capstone, which could be installed in computers and phones. Central to this NSA/NIST proposal is that every user's private crypto "keys" would be registered with government authorities. In this manner, if an intelligence agency needed to decipher the encrypted communications from a wiretap or intercepted email, the agency could obtain the corresponding decryption keys from the government key "escrow" authority. In an unprecedented public appearance in July 1993 before the Computer System Security and Privacy Advisory Board in Washington, Dr. Clint Brooks, the Assistant Director of the NSA, readily admitted that the Skipjack/Clipper system is not intended to catch any criminals. Obviously, he said, those who have something to hide will avoid inviting government wiretaps by using the system. Those sentiments were echoed by NIST's Acting Director, Ray Kammer, who recently said, "It's obvious that anyone who uses Clipper [Skipjack] for the conduct of organized crime is dumb." [41.5] Why then, would the NSA propose a "voluntary" cryptographic standard, to which the government would hold the keys? The most obvious explanation is that it is merely the first step in a process to gradually degrade people's expectations of privacy, until ultimately the NSA can outlaw any non-approved crypto algorithms or devices. Establishment of Clipper as a de facto crypto standard in the marketplace would make non-standard crypto traffic stand out like a sore thumb. Every law abiding citizen who used Clipper would have their crypto chip's serial number transmitted at the start of each communication, thus rendering the citizen's location known to authorities, and her activities susceptible to traffic analysis, for which the U.S. government doesn't even need a search warrant. Suppose -- contrary to all historical evidence -- the public trusts that no intelligence agency will mount an organized campaign of general surveillance. If government-accessible cryptography is widely used, is there a potential for rogue elements in government intelligence agencies to abuse the public trust? The same week that Dr. Brooks testified, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held hearings on abuse by police of the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC -- a computerized database of criminals and suspects). In one instance, a former police officer accessed the NCIC without authorization to track down and murder one of his former girlfriends. In another case, a woman finagled access to the NCIC to check the records of prospective clients for her drug-dealing boyfriend, so they could avoid undercover operatives. It is widely assumed that the broad collaboration between police agencies and private security forces means that much of the NCIC data has already been compromised, and is now duplicated in numerous private databases. Clearly the move toward outlawing any crypto system that is unbreakable by the NSA has extremely ominous overtones. But the ramifications of widespread use of unbreakably encrypted communication are not comforting either. Recall that not only data, but also trillions of dollars of capital flow through cyberspace every day: "It is imaginable that, with the widespread use of digital cash and encrypted monetary exchange on the Global Net, economies the size of America's could appear as nothing but oceans of alphabet soup. Money laundering would no longer be necessary. The payment of taxes might become more or less voluntary. A lot of weird things would happen after that..."42 Widespread use of unbreakable encrypted communications would further exacerbate the existing class-based discrimination by law enforcement agencies: "If law enforcement is left to investigate only crimes in which neither communications nor data are essential proof, it is unlikely that prosecution of crimes such as murder, assault, rape, and robbery, would be significantly affected. What would be affected, however, is prosecution of business crime. The end result would be a contour to law enforcement that is decidedly class-focused."43 Thus, it seems that neither technological alternative for communications access by government would result in an acceptable balance of power between business and government. In both cases, it seems that civil society would be on the losing side of the power struggle. It is instructive to look beyond America's borders for insight. The French government is known to use electronic surveillance to eavesdrop on U.S. manufacturers in France. Pierre Marion, retired head of the DGSE (the French CIA) was dismayed that the Pentagon boycotted the 1993 Paris Air Show in reaction to French industrial espionage against 49 American-based multinational corporations: "A national intelligence agency that would not consider doing that kind of intelligence work would not be fulfilling its mission. ... Economic intelligence is a fact of life."44 Given the French policy of conducting industrial espionage against multinational corporations originating in other countries, widespread international use of Clipper would certainly enhance the ability of U.S. intelligence agencies to play that same game. This explanation fits well with the struggle of U.S. intelligence agencies to justify their budgets and existence in the post Cold War era. U.S. agencies have floated numerous trial balloons regarding their entry into industrial espionage, for both "offensive" and "defensive" purposes.45 Perhaps this putsch to concentrate power in the hands of a central crypto authority will be sold to the American public (like so many other raw deals) with the rhetoric of "economic competitiveness". This situation is one in which, to date, there appears to be scant middle ground between competing technological dystopias. One technological pole would doom Privacy -- personal and corporate -- and thereby allow intelligence agencies to reign supreme. The other technological pole would elevate Privacy over all other "rights", and thus could end most remaining government (and citizen) power to regulate business. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ [ I added this update in Feb 1996 just before publication ] Events have moved rapidly since this section was written in Oct 1993. Legislation (HR 4922, S. 2375) implementing much of the FBI's March 1992 "Digital Telephony" proposal was passed by Congress, with no floor debate, in an unrecorded voice vote in Oct. 1994. To reimburse telecom companies for the cost of making their equipment "surveillance-friendly", this "Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act" authorized $500 million dollars for the first four years. The bill nominally precludes law enforcement from having remote, automated surveillance capability. Yet in Oct. 1995, the FBI published a "wiretap capacity notice" in the Federal Register [ October 16, 1995 (Volume 60, Number 199), Page 53643-53646 ] stating it intends to mandate a re-design of telephone networks to allow it to intercept simultaneously up to one percent of all calls. Such an unprecedented level of domestic wiretapping is at least a thousand times greater than is currently reported by intelligence agencies in the U.S. So much for interception capability. What about the Clipper Chip? In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 14, 1995, FBI Director Louis Freeh sounded a newly ominous note regarding the voluntary nature of government-approved encryption: "Powerful encryption threatens to make worthless the access assured by the new digital [telephony] law." And indeed, U.S. government documents released in Aug. 1995, in response to a FoIA request by EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center), reveal that -- contrary to the Administration's public statements -- the FBI and NSA had concluded as early as Feb. 1993 that the "Clipper Chip" encryption initiative would succeed ONLY IF alternative encryption techniques are outlawed. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Information Superhighway -- to Where?

The Information Superhighway -- to Where? New technologies of communication are waiting in the wings, poised to take center stage. The "digital convergence" of TV with computers and telecommunications networks, is to culminate in a National Information Infrastructure (NII) or Information Superhighway. Once again, techno-optimistic visions of best case scenarios are proclaimed with great and uncritical enthusiasm. "Electronic democracy" is just one magic elixir. "The information revolution is bringing with it a key that may open the door to a new era of involvement and participation. The key is the self-motivating exhilaration that accompanies truly effective interaction with information through a good console through a good network to a good computer."46 Some grandiose predictions regarding electronic democracy can be excused as instinctive extrapolations from current trends. Admittedly, trends in participation on the Internet are encouraging. But Internet culture is a renaissance that represents the flowering of a print culture, one composed almost exclusively of First World educated elites. An equally significant factor is that current Internet culture is primarily non-commercial. In America, much of it is subsidized by the federal government, ostensibly to promote research and education. Obviously, given that half of Americans are functionally illiterate, this print culture can not easily be "scaled up" to engage other segments of society, despite commendable outreach efforts, e.g., to provide online access to the homeless in Santa Monica. Moreover, the only design goal for the NII that is shared by both government and the private sector alike is the perceived need for massive bandwidth -- the capacity to carry gigabits of information per second. That increased channel capacity will make viable the transmission of video signals over the NII, and it is reasonable to assume that much of Internet's current print culture will be displaced, washed away by another triumphant stream of images. Technological frontiers are key sites in the struggle over the production and distribution of meaning. For critics to reject a technology, for opponents to abdicate the struggle, does little more than cede the field to those who remain. Contesting the meaning of "electronic democracy" by struggling to establish prototype applications on community and regional scales, seems a more viable strategy than does ceding the field to electronic demagogues like Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh. Moreover, to reject a given family of technological applications may be counterproductive, unless related applications similarly can be rejected. For example, suppose opponents rally sufficient forces to prevent the telcos and cable TV companies from constructing a NII of their own design. But that would ignore the electric utility companies. Through Realtime Residential Power Line Surveillance, electric utilities "can sharply reduce the future costs of making power at the same time they are capitalizing the cost of building the great information superhighway."47 Despite efforts to promote a public interest vision for the NII, the lure of profits may drive de facto mergers between telcos, cable TV providers, and electric utilities. It is ironic that allegedly "decentralized, democratic" technologies in fact engender such concentrations of power. Much dispute over the NII appears to be about money: Who will pay for it, and who will profit? It is by no means clear that a NII will facilitate gains in productivity.48 If home gambling is typical of the "killer applications" needed to induce consumer demand for an NII "product," then the NII may be the ultimate example of firms internalizing benefits as they externalize the net costs onto society at large. Economic considerations regarding a NII should not distract our attention from more fundamental issues of normative values, politics, and the distribution of power. Throughout history, media technologies have co-evolved with the arts of politics. The present crisis of democracy is inseparable from the ascendency of television as the dominant source of "news." In the words of computer pioneer Alan Kay, "Television should be the last mass communications medium to be naively designed and put into the world without a Surgeon General's warning!" [48.5] Just as each new generation must learn for itself the lessons of war, so must each generation renew its contracts with democracy, and it must renegotiate those contracts in light of the prevailing media technologies of the times. Hazel Henderson is correct to point out that, "Fears about the misuse of instantaneous forms of democracy -- technological hardware like ... call-in radio, television, electronic town meetings, polling, have stifled the debate over how to design these potential tools of democratic participation so as to avoid abuse and new forms of totalitarianism."49 It is said that, no matter what form of government we have in the U.S., it will always be called "democracy." Modern communications technologies -- and the businesses that control them -- already comprise a de facto "information infrastructure" that profoundly influences politics. Whether the meaning of "democracy" is further degraded and perverted, will be determined by the struggle of contending forces. The NII is neither a hardware mechanism nor a software application. Rather, it is a new name for an old locus of struggle, between those who control today's communications resources, and those who have suffered the "externalities" imposed by previous generations of social architectures. What is needed is more open debate over various forms of electronic democracy and dictatorship, so a wider spectrum of people can be intelligent participants in shaping the decisions that determine their future. The metaphor of the NII as an "information superhighway" evokes images of physical nuts and bolts -- which seem inherently value-neutral until they are used for some specific purpose. But values may be embedded in the very design of telecommunications hardware, not merely in the software applications that run on particular computer platforms. Cable TV hardware provides an instructive example. Not surprisingly, the Cable TV "infrastructure" was designed by profit-seekers whose thoughts were constrained by the dominant (and dominating) paradigm, that the purpose of a network is entertainment, and that there are two separate and distinct types of entities connected to a network: information producers and information consumers. This schema is heavily value laden, and the asymmetric power relation it engenders already is immanent in many technologies. With Cable TV infrastructure, activists who want to use existing Cable TV wiring to implement a local community network, typically find that the bandwidth from information "producers" to "consumers" is thousands of times greater than the capacity of the return leg. The vast majority of Cable TV networking technology (repeaters on fiber optic cable) has been "optimized" to suit a particular set of values. Cable TV and telecom companies try to frame NII issues in terms of hardware -- which segments of the communications network should be "upgraded" first to fiber optic capacities, or should satellite channels, cellular technologies, and packet-switched radio be employed instead? The implicit assumption (embedded in the ideology of the Information Age) is that to "upgrade" a channel, it suffices to boost its bandwith, or capacity to support information flow. The content of that information, and the nature of its sources, are secondary considerations. We are told that a nationwide high-bandwidth NII will usher in the next Golden Age: "Information is power, and the key to empowering Americans is to give them access to it. Information is the public's No. 1 need."50 To help deconstruct the dreams of computer romantics, Langdon Winner identifies a complex of mistaken assumptions: "(1) people are bereft of information; (2) information is knowledge; (3) knowledge is power; and (4) increasing access to information enhances democracy and equalizes social power. Taken as separate assertions and in combination, these beliefs provide a woefully distorted picture of the role of electronic systems in social life."51 The gap between the info-rich and the info-poor within an industrial society is maintained partly because the info-poor are confused and divided regarding their own best interests, and partly due to disparities in communications competence.52 Mere access to data will not alleviate that state. Rather, it will exacerbate the knowledge gap, since, "Those best situated to take advantage of the power of a new technology are often those previously well situated by dint of wealth, social standing, and institutional position."53 For example, much of the economic value of data lies in its timeliness. Even if an info-pauper could gain access to high-priced financial data and interpret it, the opportunity to exploit that data would probably pass within microseconds, as automated trading programs in global financial powerhouses rose to gobble the bait. It takes money to make money, even in cyberspace. Due to the social biases and the differential benefits of new information technology, today's underclass risks winding up as road kill on the shoulder of tomorrow's information superhighway. Mere information does not imply knowledge, nor does the latter necessarily entail power. To transform raw information into useful knowledge requires the application of values, and the production of meaning. Thus, a sampling of principles that should be promoted for the common good includes equal access, communicative freedom, privacy, non-commercialism, collaborative education, community- building, active engagement in citizenship, ongoing evolution of the NII through participatory (re-)design, and more symmetric power relations between individuals and institutions. To illustrate the complexity of these principles, it is instructive to attempt to "unbundle" the principle of equal access. The public interest battle cry of "equal access to information" neglects three important factors: (1) disparities in communications competence by receivers; (2) the problem of information overload; and (3) disproportionate abilities to communicate with targeted receivers. The first factor might be addressed by active outreach and training efforts -- affirmative programs for adult literacy, rather than passive "availability" of self-tutoring software that may be psychologically or culturally inappropriate. The second factor -- information overload -- has not yet been solved satisfactorily, even for the info-rich. Nevertheless, as it becomes more widely recognized by the info-rich as their limiting factor, methods to manage the information glut, such as indexing and filtering tools, will become the next stumbling block for the info-poor. We will then need equal access to meta- information. Imagine if access to today's "Yellow Pages" (by readers and/or writers) were by invitation only, or required payment of a hefty fee. Differential access to sources of meta- information, even among the info-rich, will engender new power disparities. Whereas the limiting factor in many current media environments is the control over distribution, the locus of struggle will shift to control over indexing authorities and information filtering standards. For example, what indexing authority will decide whether fundamentalist Christian abortion counseling centers will meet the selection criteria of a computerized search for "abortion service providers"? To address the third factor of "equal access" -- disproportionate abilities to communicate with targeted receivers -- also treads in the realm of meta-information, since that is very much the business of today's direct mailing list vendors. The situation is further complicated by issues of privacy and intellectual property: to reveal the names and addresses on a mailing list might provoke (additional) unwanted invasions of privacy, and it would give an advantage to competing vendors of mailing lists. Many fundamental concepts of industrial civilization will not make the transition to cyberspace unscathed. Besides the struggle against extensions of corporate intellectual property rights ("wrongs"), a radical reassessment of the Cartesian model of communication -- as a conduit for data between fully autonomous individuals -- will be required. When human beings are viewed from a cognitive information-processing standpoint, it is apparent that we read (and then more or less critically interpret) printed material as data, but we execute compiled visual images as code. In the language of computer security, this inherent vulnerability to images will result in serious breaches of system integrity. Personal integrity and autonomy are, therefore, more foundational issues than are mere notions of privacy. Human beings must be treated as subjects of communication, not as objects of manipulation. Somehow the technologies of control must, themselves, be brought under social control. Across the grand stage of history, several acts in the saga of corporate development have passed in succession. The advent of mass production entailed a crisis of distribution. Construction of physical infrastructure for transportation alleviated the distribution crisis. Then followed the vertical integration of production with distribution, causing a significant shift in power from the chaotic regime of the "invisible hand" to the controlled regime of the "managerial hand" -- the institutional rationality of the corporation.54 With manufacturing and distribution becoming ever more productive under efficient, integrated managerial control, the bottleneck in the economic system shifted to the realm of consumption. The technology of marketing and advertising then evolved to boost consumption through the cultivation of "needs." Now, as the Media Monopoly gathers steam, the economic system is poised for the next stage of vertical integration. With the development of a "National Information Infrastructure," the emerging Information Age conglomerate may bring under one (distributed, virtual) roof the manufacture, distribution, and (intensively cultivated) consumption of its information products. Should the media-industrial complex ever reach that stage, the balance of power between institutions and individuals could be irrevocably lost. Institutions engaged in the manipulation of social reality would then control the very "means of production" of meaning itself. The increasing corporate influence over leisure or "free" time prefigures the transition from the "Pay Per View" society, to a fragmented populace trained to Pay Per Experience, who ultimately "Pay to Be Viewed." Undemocratic, market-driven "advances" in information technology are accelerating the commodification of existence, as citizens sacrifice autonomy and privacy for consumer convenience and surveillance subsidies. The road to freedom via a two-way Information Highway may turn into a one-way Surveillance Street, used to condition people's thoughts and control their behavior -- a form of "progress" that benefits only the powerful. In their quest for profit and power, the wardens of the Panoptic prison -- both corporate and military -- share a common mission: assisted by the best computing power money can buy, they work to extend their ongoing colonization of consciousness. The initial stages of a virtual Panoptic prison planet have already been constructed, even without a conscious, unified design. Millions of people are essentially prisoners of television, even before its metamorphosis via the "digital convergence." Although these individuals are allowed to leave their living rooms on "work furloughs," they have effectively ceded control of their "free" time to the rhythms and dictates of institutional marketing strategies. The most secure prison is one where the inmates think they are free -- because then they can harbor no thoughts of rebellion or escape. As the outer walls of the Virtual Panopticon solidify into completion, few Americans realize they risk a life sentence as prisoners of Panoptic disinformation. To the degree that interactive feedback is linked to the engines of computerized surveillance and classification, it will become economical to distribute individually tailored Panoptic disinformation. The warning signs of this invisible Panopticon were apparent to Ellul as far back as 1954: "It will not be a universal concentration camp, for it will be guilty of no such atrocity. It will not seem insane, for everything will be ordered ... We shall have nothing more to lose, and nothing to win. Our deepest instincts and our most secret passions will be analyzed, published, and exploited."55 In 1982, Gandy predicted "the regular, patterned, and skillful manipulation of the information environment to ensure that ... perceptions of past, present, and future lead ultimately to the selection of a preferred option or plan."56 More recently, he writes, "Within the panoptic future, addressability and verifiability mean that it is much more likely that each of us will be exposed to a different, customized, administratively tailored image of our immediate environment, our risks, our options, and the opportunities for the realization of our dreams."57 The Panoptic Information Enclosure already has subverted the information flow around millions of people. Perhaps before everyone can be imprisoned snugly in virtual Panoptic cocoons, the external environment will intrude on our media-induced sweet dreams. Ecosystem collapse, coupled with social collapse, may prove difficult to ignore. These disturbances may intrude even into the sanctity of the (virtual) home shopping mall, with such force that the hegemony of consumption cannot absorb them. Yet perhaps we can still get organized as autonomous publics, and take back our cultural environment by introducing a new, even democratic, mode of traffic on the Superhighway. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, it's morning in America -- time to wake up and cast off the chains of market-structured consciousness. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------


______________________ 1 "In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations," Jerry Mander / Sierra Club Books 1991 2 Ad in New Statesman, 25 May 1979 3 "Cybernetic Capitalism: Information, Technology, Everyday Life," K. Robins and F. Webster, in "The Political Economy of Information," ed. Vincent Mosco and Janet Wasko / Univ. of Wisconsin Press 1988, p. 49 4 "Projecting a Positive Image of the Information Society," Jerry L. Salvaggio, in "Ideology of the Information Age," ed. Jennifer Daryl Slack and Fred Fejes / Ablex 1987, p. 154: "The information industry is investing billions of dollars into manufacturing an image as a guarantee that the information age is not a futuristic illusion." 5 "Technology and Terrorism: Privatizing Public Violence," Stephen Sloan, in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 10:2 (Summer 1991), p. 8-14 6 "Power and Accountability," Robert A.G. Monks (former Reagan economist) and Nell Minow / HarperCollins 1991, p. 24: "Despite attempts to provide balance and accountability, the corporation as an entity became so powerful that it quickly outstripped the limitations of accountability and became something of an externalizing machine, in the same way that a shark is a killing machine -- no malevolence, no intentional harm, just something designed with sublime efficiency for self-preservation, which it accomplishes without any capacity to factor in the consequences to others." 7 "Panopticon; or, the Inspection House," Jeremy Bentham 1791 8 "Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison," Michel Foucault / Pantheon 1977 9 "Cybernetic Capitalism: Information, Technology, Everyday Life," K. Robins and F. Webster, in "The Political Economy of Information," ibid, p. 55 10 "Energy and Equity," Ivan Illich / Harper & Row 1974: Illich calculated that the typical American spends more than four hours each day in car-related activities, including not only driving and idling, but also earning money to pay for the car, its maintenance and insurance, etc. "The model American puts in 1600 hours to get 7500 miles: less than five miles per hour." (p. 31) 11 The potential of home VCR technology for "temporal emancipation" through "time shifting" is utilized by only a minute fraction of VCR owners. The vast majority automatically internalize the discipline implicitly imposed by the wardens' central transmitting tower, and "choose" to watch -- synchronously -- whatever is currently being broadcast. The new consumer choice of realtime interactive television promises to reinforce this constraint of synchronicity. 12 "Privacy Concern Raised over Lotus Marketplace," CPSR Newsletter 8:4, Fall 1990, p. 24,5 13 "Information Technology and Society," K. Lenk, in A. Schaff and G. Griedrichs, "Microelectronics and Society: For Better or for Worse: A Report to the Club of Rome" Pergamon 1982 14 "International Information Flow: A Plan for Action," Business Roundtable, New York, Jan. 1985, p. 6-11 15 "Telecommunications and International Banking," M. Buyer, in "Telecommunications" 1982 16 "Office Automation and the Technical Control of Information Workers," Andrew Clement, in "The Political Economy of Information," ibid, p. 222 17 "Business Cycles: A Theoretical, Historical, and Statistical Analysis of the Capitalist Process," Joseph Schumpeter, McGraw-Hill 1939 18 "Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation," Joseph Weizenbaum / W. H. Freeman 1976 18.5 "In Praise of Robots". Carl Sagan. Natural History. v.84 n.1, Jan. 1975, p. 8-20 (quote is on p. 10). 18.6 The Trilateral Commission is a club of economic elites that promotes a uniform globalized economy, with national laws standardized to benefit transnational corporations. The quote regarding "democratic distemper" appears in: "The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission" / Michel Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, Joji Watanuki. [New York] : New York University Press, 1975 19 "Continental Economic Integration: Modeling the Impact on Labor," James Stanford. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Mar 1993, V526 p. 92-110 20 The electric utilities' term for RRPLS is more innocuous -- "Non-Intrusive Appliance Load Monitoring System" (NIALMS). 21 United States v. Miller, 425 U.S. 435 (1976) Supreme Court decision 22 "Information Technology and Dataveillance," Roger Clarke / Communications of the ACM 31:5 (May 1988) p. 498-512 23 "Residential Energy Monitoring and Computerized Surveillance via Utility Power Flows," George W. Hart / IEEE Technology and Society Magazine (p. 12-16), June 1989 24 "Reaching Out with Two-way Communications," J. Douglas. EPRI Journal, Sept. 1990, v.15, n.6, p. 4-13 25 "Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media," Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Pantheon 1988 26 "Makers of automated-home systems see a future of TVs talking to thermostats," Mitchell Pacelle / WSJ 9/28/92 27 "While the Cable and Phone Companies Fight ... Look Who's Wiring the Home Now," S. Rivkin / New York Times Magazine, Sept. 26, 1993 28 Karen Nussbaum, then Executive Director of "9 to 5," the National Association of Working Women. Panel discussion: "Computer-Based Surveillance of Individuals" First Conference on Computers, Freedom, & Privacy March 27, 1991, Burlingame, Calif. Sponsored by Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. 29 "Bosses with X-ray Eyes," Charles Piller / Macworld, v.10, n.7, July 1993, p. 118-124 29.5 Ad in PC WEEK cited by Karen Nussbaum, "Computer-Based Surveillance" 30 "LA: The Fire This Time," Mike Davis. CovertAction, Summer 1992 (No. 41), p. 12-21. (quote on p. 19) 31 "The Video Game Culture: How it's changing kids' perception of the world," Laura Evenson / San Francisco Chronicle 5/25/93 32 San Jose Mercury News, 25 May 1993 33 "Too Violent for Kids?" TIME magazine 9/27/93, p. 70 34 "The Cultural Dimensions of Educational Computing: Understanding the Non-neutrality of Technology," C.A. Bowers / Teachers College Press 1988 35 "Computer Literacy: People Adapted for Technology," Y. Magrass and R. Upchurch. Computers and Society 18:2 April 1988, p. 8-15 36 "High-tech programs are no substitute for quality education," Michael Schrage. Los Angeles Times v112 (May 6, 1993):D1 37 "New Nielsen System is Turning Heads: Peoplemeter that reads faces, and where they're looking, raises specter of Big Brother," Stephen McClellan. Broadcasting, v122, n21, 5/18/92 (p. 8) 38 "Computer Game Enters the Ad Age," Jamie Beckett / San Francisco Chronicle 12/16/92 39 "Virtual Reality," Howard Rheingold / Summit Books 1991, p. 352 40 "Discovering Shared Interests Using Graph Analysis," M. Schwartz and D. Wood / Communications of the ACM 36:8 Aug. 1993, p. 78-79 41 "The Puzzle Palace," J. Bamford / Houghton Mifflin 1982 41.5 "A Plain Text on Crypto Policy," John Perry Barlow / Communications of the ACM 36:11, Nov. 1993, p. 21-26 42 "A Plain Text on Crypto Policy," John Perry Barlow 43 "The Underpinnings of Privacy Protection," F. Tuerkheimer / Communications of the ACM 36:8, Aug. 1993, p. 69-73 44 "International Spy Business Concentrates Mostly on Business," C. Hanley / AP, 6/4/93 45 "Administration to Consider Giving Spy Data to Business," R. Smith / Washington Post 2/3/93 46 "Computers and Government," J. Licklider, in "The Computer Age," ed. M. Dertouzos and J. Moses / MIT Press 1979 47 "While the Cable and Phone Companies Fight ... Look Who's Wiring the Home Now," S. Rivkin / New York Times Magazine. Sept. 26, 1993 48 "Telecommunications Infrastructure and U.S. International Competitiveness," J. Aronson, in "A National Information Network: Changing our Lives in the 21st Century," Inst. for Information Studies 1992, Falls Church, VA 48.5 "Four Images for the Information Superhighway Summit," paper presented 1/11/94 by Apple Fellow Dr. Alan Kay to the "Superhighway Summit" sponsored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at UCLA. 49 "Perfecting Democracy's Tools," H. Henderson, in "After the Nation-State: Reinventing Democracy," New Perspectives Quarterly, Fall 1992, p. 22, Emphasis added 50 "Building America's Infostructure: Public Policy in the Information Age," B. Farrah and D. Maxwell / Telephony. April 20, 1992, p. 52 51 "The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology," Langdon Winner / Univ. of Chicago Press 1986, p. 108 52 "The Political Economy of Communications Competence," Oscar H. Gandy, Jr. in "The Political Economy of Information," ibid 53 "The Whale and the Reactor," ibid p. 107 54 "The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business," Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. / Belknap Press 1977 55 "The Technological Society," Jacques Ellul / Alfred A. Knopf (English translation) 1964, p. 427 56 "Beyond Agenda Setting: Information Subsidies and Public Policy," Oscar H. Gandy, Jr. / Ablex 1982 57 "The Panoptic Sort: A Political Economy of Personal Information," Oscar H. Gandy, Jr. / Westview 1993, p. 231

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