Category Archives: Corruption

Planned addiction as a method of control: a parasitic lock-in business model

Lighting up

The news that tobacco companies have increased the levels of nicotine in their brands over the last few years – especially those popular with certain groups – made me think further about architectures of control:

“The amount of nicotine in most cigarettes rose an average of almost 10 percent from 1998 to 2004, with brands most popular with young people and minorities registering the biggest increases and highest nicotine content… the higher levels theoretically could make new smokers more easily addicted and make it harder for established smokers to quit.
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Freedom to Tinker – The Freedom to Tinker with Freedom?

An open bonnet At Freedom to Tinker, David Robinson asks whether, in a world where DRM is presented to so many customers as a benefit (e.g. Microsoft’s Zune service), the public as a whole will be quite happy to trade away its freedom to tinker, whether the law needs to intervene in this, and on which side: ensuring freedom to tinker, or outlawing it in order to enshrine the business model that “most people” will be portrayed as wanting, given the numbers who sign away their rights in EULAs and so on.

“Many of us, who may find ourselves arguing based on public reasons for public policies that protect the freedom to tinker, also have a private reason to favor such policies. The private reason is that we ourselves care more about tinkering than the public at large does, and we would therefore be happier in a protected-tinkering world than the public at large would be.”

Many of the comments – and those on the follow-up post – look in more detail at the legal issues, with some very interesting analogies to freedom of expression and points made about the impact on innovation – which benefits everyone – when power users are prevented from innovating. Continue reading

Embedding control in society: the end of freedom

Bye bye debate.

Henry Porter’s chilling Blair Laid Bare – which I implore you to read if you have the slightest interest in your future – contains an equally worrying quote from the LSE’s Simon Davies noting the encroachment of architectures of control in society itself:

“The second invisible change that has occurred in Britain is best expressed by Simon Davies, a fellow at the London School of Economics, who did pioneering work on the ID card scheme and then suffered a wounding onslaught from the Government when it did not agree with his findings. The worrying thing, he suggests, is that the instinctive sense of personal liberty has been lost in the British people.

“We have reached that stage now where we have gone almost as far as it is possible to go in establishing the infrastructures of control and surveillance within an open and free environment,” he says. “That architecture only has to work and the citizens only have to become compliant for the Government to have control.
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Policing Crowds: Privatizing Security

Policing Crowds logo

The Policing Crowds conference is taking place 24-25 June 2006 in Berlin, examining many aspects of controlling the public and increasing business involvement in this field – ‘crime control as industry’. Technologies designed specifically to permit control and monitoring of the public, such as CCTV and many RFID applications, will also be discussed.

The conference takes as its starting point the techniques and policies being used to control and monitor the massive crowds currently descended on German cities for the World Cup, but extends this view into the broader implications for future society:

“The global sports and media mega event is also a mega security show. Essential part of the event is the largest display of domestic security strength in Germany since 1945: More than 260,000 personnel drawn from the state police forces (220,000), the federal police (30,000), the secret services (an unknown number), private security companies (12,000) and the military (7,000) are guarding the World Cup. In addition, 323 foreign police officers vested with executive powers support the policing of train stations, air- and seaports and fan groups. The NATO assists with the airborne surveillance systems AWACS to control air space over host cities. On the ground Germany is suspending the Schengen Agreement and reinstating border checks during the World Cup to regulate the international flow of visitors. Tournament venues and their vicinity as well as “public viewing” locations in downtown areas are converted into high-security zones with access limited to registered persons and pacified crowds only. The overall effort is supported and mediated by sophisticated surveillance, information and communication technology: RFID chips in the World Cup tickets, mobile finger print scanners, extensive networks of CCTV surveillance, DNA samples preventively taken from alleged hooligans – huge amounts of personal data from ticket holders, staff, football supporters and the curious public are collected, processed and shared by the FIFA, the police and the secret services.

Studying the security architecture and strategies tested and implemented at the World Cup is more than focusing on an individual event. It is a looking into a prism which bundles and locally mediates global trends in contemporary policing and criminal policies. Thus, we have chosen the context of the World Cup to outline and discuss these trends in an international and comparative perspective.”

The sheer scale of this planned control is certainly enough to make one stop and think. It is, effectively, an entire system designed for the single purpose of controlling people within it.

If it’s possible during a major event, it’s possible all of the time. Not sure I want to be living near Heathrow come the 2012 Olympics in London.

Thanks, Jens.