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The other side of the coin: Theorizing the dual use of ICTs Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung Pinelopi Troullinou

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Presentation on theme: "The other side of the coin: Theorizing the dual use of ICTs Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung Pinelopi Troullinou"— Presentation transcript:

1 The other side of the coin: Theorizing the dual use of ICTs Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung Pinelopi Troullinou Institute of Communications Studies FACULTY OF PRFORMANCE, VISUAL ARTS AND COMMUNICATIONS

2 The ubiquity of ICTs Living in technicized times , smartphones, twitter, Facebook, etc. Draft Communications Data Bill Real-time monitoring of mobile phone calls, , browsing & social networking activities Blanket surveillance: irrespective of suspicion ICTs – an opportunity, a threat or both? Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung and Pinelopi Troullinou NECTAR C1 Workshop, Harrogate 2012

3 The ideological packaging of ICTs Lyotardian grand narratives The Information Society – ICTs for information, entertainment, convenience & efficiency The Surveillance Society – Orwellian Big Brother, Panopticon (Foucault) Fairclough: The power of language “‘common-sense’ assumptions … implicit in the conventions according to which people interact linguistically and of which people are generally not consciously aware” “Ideologies…are a means of legitimizing existing social relations and differences of power, simply through the recurrence of ordinary, familiar ways of behaving which take these relations and power differences for granted…. [They] are closely linked to language, because using language is the commonest form of social behaviour, and the form of social behaviour where we rely most on ‘common- sense assumptions” Fairclough (1989:2)  Ideological Packaging of ICTs as a deflective mechanism pre-empting critical engagement Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung and Pinelopi Troullinou NECTAR C1 Workshop, Harrogate 2012

4 Assumptions implicit in the notions of Information & Surveillance Society Primary qualities of information – flow, compression of time and space, real- time relations (Lash 2002) – capital or liability? Positive bias of Information Society (Kony 2012) Negative bias of Surveillance Society (Article 12: Waking up in a Surveillance Society) Information circulating for the user – information circulating on the user Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung and Pinelopi Troullinou NECTAR C1 Workshop, Harrogate 2012

5 Same technologies, different perspectives ICTs for Information & entertainment and surveillance kept in separate cognitive spheres by the end user Technology implementation/diffusion distracts attention away from technologies to prospective positive benefits Instrumental perspective: technology as neutral means to beneficial ends Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung and Pinelopi Troullinou NECTAR C1 Workshop, Harrogate 2012

6 Same technologies, different perspectives Electronic devices used for information entertainment purposes can be harnessed for surveillance & control Media & privacy watchdog reactions to Communications Data Bill Interoperability has always been inherent to digital ICTs: dual use ICTs united by their basic operating principle The computer as “universal machine” (Kittler 1997) Standardization of data formats and channels “The general digitization of channels and information erases the differences between the individual media. Sound and image, voice and text are reduced to surface effects, known to consumers as interface. Inside the computers themselves everything becomes a number... With numbers, everything goes. Modulation, transformation, synchronization; delay, storage, transposition; scrambling, scanning, mapping—a total media link on a digital base...” (Kittler 1999:1) Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung and Pinelopi Troullinou NECTAR C1 Workshop, Harrogate 2012

7 The dual use of ICTs Interoperability allows for contact-less transfer of information between any number of devices and databases Oyster smart card Intelligent transport, surveillance mechanism or both? “While people are allowed to move, their identities must be constructed and controlled” (Bigo 2002:115) Need to consider ICTs not within separate discourses but as complex and connected informational system Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung and Pinelopi Troullinou NECTAR C1 Workshop, Harrogate 2012

8 What isn’t obvious: hidden implications Difference between analogue & digital technologies Wide application and ubiquitous nature Automatic tracking, collection, interlinkage of data Data storage, (de-)centralized data storage Access to databases Proportionality Risks of misuse/abuse of personal data Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung and Pinelopi Troullinou NECTAR C1 Workshop, Harrogate 2012

9 Reversing the Order The lack of an outside from which to critique informational order: whoever discovered water, certainly wasn’t a fish (Marshall McLuhan) Lack of historical distance Normalization: our full involvement in ICT artefacts & practices Pathologies of the informational system currently addressed by Technology (e.g. PETs: Microsoft U-Prove): Zizek’s “chocolate laxative” Policy (e.g. Supplementary legislation on body scanners) Philosophy can help us “…develop, and (…) comfortably speak, evaluative languages not already structured by the presuppositions of the language of progress, which does not allow us to be critical of progress without appearing to be politically and morally conservative, and so, without appearing to be against science and against reason”. (Kompridis 2009:30) Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung and Pinelopi Troullinou NECTAR C1 Workshop, Harrogate 2012

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