Friday, August 24, 2007

The security state as infotainment

"If videotaping activists meets the legal requirement that dissenting citizens have the right to be seen and heard, what else might fit the bill? How about all the other security cameras that patrolled the summit — the ones filming demonstrators as they got on and off buses and peacefully walked down the street? What about the mobile phone calls that were intercepted, the meetings that were infiltrated, the emails that were read? According to the new rules set out in Montebello, all these actions may soon be recast not as infringements on civil liberties but the opposite: proof of our leaders' commitment to direct, unmediated consultation. Elections are a crude tool for taking the public temperature — these methods allow constant, exact monitoring of our beliefs. Think of surveillance as the new participatory democracy; of wiretapping as the political equivalent of MTV's Total Request Live." —Naomi Kleine

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