Rocky Bottoms and Some Information Age Techno-Fallacies - Gary T. Marx Rocky Bottoms and Some Information Age Techno-Fallacies
I am grateful to Didier Bigo, Jesse Larner, Glenn Muschert, Christian Olsson and Jeff Ross for critical suggestions. A different and shorter version appeared in the Journal of International Political Sociology, vol. 1, no. 1. March 2007, pp. 83-110.

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By Gary T. Marx

I am here to fight for truth, justice and the American way.

        —Superman 1978

As long as the genuine security problem exists, there will be persons whose imagination will be set boiling with excited apprehension.

        —E. Shils 1956

There is no doubt that we must conduct more detailed research into the connection between the practices of security professionals and the systems of justifications of their activities, as we ponder on how procedures of truth claims are formulated…

        —D. Bigo 2006

Abstract: In this article I use a "true fiction" speech by Mr. Richard "Rocky" Bottoms to illustrate a number of background beliefs that underlie contemporary perspectives on social control, borders, surveillance, and technology more broadly. Rocky Bottoms exists only in the imagination, but the arguments he puts forth and the behavior he reflects are prevalent, and increasingly dominant, in the post 9/11 cultures of industrial countries. His speech is a composite of remarks, many of them direct quotes, that I have gathered as part of a research project on surveillance over several decades. The speech is critically analyzed in light of 38 techno-fallacies of the information age. The fallacies identified may involve empirical, logical or value dimensions.
As one part of a broader inquiry into surveillance and society, I seek to understand the cultural aspects. 1 Surveillance culture can be approached by considering jokes, music, advertisements, novels, film, performance, visual and architectural representation. (Marx 1996, Groombridge 2002, McGrath 2003). Surveillance rhetoric can also be analyzed. The cultural elements supportive of contemporary surveillance technologies as social control can be difficult to identify because they are so taken for granted and, like the foundation of a building, usually unseen.

Sometimes these beliefs form a relatively coherent and self-conscious ideology or world view as with governments, political parties and interest groups such as the American Manufacturing Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Association of Security Companies. More often the beliefs are dangling snippets drawn on in an ad hoc fashion to justify an interest group's position supporting surveillance. The ideational environment in which technologies are nourished and in which they flourish needs to be better understood through examining rationales for action and their empirical and value assumptions.

The United States most clearly reflects the optimistic, techno-surveillance world view found within a broader technocratic and commercial celebratory ethos. 2 In this article I seek to capture the basic elements of such an approach in the following imagined Presidential address given by Mr. Richard ("Rocky") Bottoms to the annual convention of the Society for the Advancement of Professional Surveillance held in Las Vegas.

This speech is a case of "true fiction" and is used to illustrate a number of background beliefs that underlie contemporary perspectives on social control, borders, surveillance, security and technology more broadly. Rocky Bottoms exists only in the imagination, but the arguments he puts forth are prevalent, and increasingly dominant, in the post 9/11 cultures of control. His speech is a composite of remarks, many of them direct quotes which I have gathered as part of a research project on surveillance over several decades.

While largely drawn from my research in the United States, I believe these themes also increasingly reflect one strand of an international security/insecurity world view, as well that within specific countries (e.g., the U.K. Home Office, the French Ministry of Interior and more broadly in the European Commission and European Council and specific organizations such as Schengen and EuroPol).

These themes, and the actual practices to which they correspond with varying degrees of fidelity, may result from a common culture, perceptions of shared threats and opportunities, entrepreneurial export and processes of globalization. But whatever their causes, there is considerable weakening, blurring and reconfiguration of traditional borders between, as well as within, countries and across forms and subjects/targets of control. We see increased overlap in world views, technologies, personnel and many equivalent (whether parallel or cooperative) control endeavors, including information sharing. 3

Consistent with Bourdieu's (1984) broad conception of a field and as elaborated in the pursuit of global security Bigo (2006), we see the merging of different security sectors into a transnational field of security and control. The transnational security field is constantly changing and expanding under the sway of, but also acting back upon, technology. Simple dichotomies between a pacified internal national order and an anarchic external international one and between differentiated functionaries hold now less than they ever did. Of course depending on the level of analysis and sector, we see variation and competition, unifying and polarizing forces and different emphases (e.g., between groups such as the FBI and CIA or on the softer biopolitical management of the domestic life of the individual which Bottoms epitomizes, as against the harder protections for the national security of the state). Yet at a more general level it is possible to see some common themes, behavior, assumptions, rhetoric, technologies and goals.

In contrast to the standard view in which international relations is seen to concern the study of external relations involving states, diplomats and the military, while the social sciences focus on internal matters, the Bottoms case argues for an alternative view that crosses and merges disciplines. With globalization and new technologies, security practices that in the past may have fit this model are now transversal to the traditional inside/outside distinction and "us" and "them".

A variety of recent literatures have well conceived these changes, although the conceptual has generally raced ahead of systematic empirical documentation. 4 Consider for example recent work on security and technology from an international relations and comparative perspectives such as those by Fijnaut and Marx (1995), Katzenstein (1996), McDonald (1997), Deflem (2002), Sheptycki (2003), Bonditti (2004), Scott and Jackson ( 2004) Dillon (2003), Bigo (2005), Zureik and Salter (2005), Abrahamsen and Williams (2006) and Andreas and Nadelmann (2006).

Note also representative work on the new surveillance and related border issues that seek a more comprehensive framework for non-states, as well as states such as that by Marx (1988), Gandy (1993), Lyon (1994) and (2003), Ball. and Webster (2003), Ericson and Haggerty (1997), Norris and Armstrong (1999), Staples (2000), Gutwirth (2002), Gabriel (2004), Lace (2005), Monahan (2006), Haggerty and Ericson (2006), and Friedenwald, M. Vildjiounaite, E. and Wright, D. (2006).

These changes are captured in a variety of overlapping terms such as globalization, deterritorialization and the breaking, blurring, merging, morphing of traditional borders and the appearance of new barriers (whether spatial, geographical, juridical, organizational, functional or of the senses). What for example are the borders of Europe?

We see terms for characterizing the society and social processes: panopticon, the gaze, superpanopticon, post-panopticon, synopticon, banopticon, surveillance society, the new surveillance, maximum security society, techno-policing, high policing, securitization, viewer society, surveillance creep, soft cage, glass cage, along with computer related concepts such as cyberspace, digitalization, dataveillance, miniaturization, encryption and decryption, virtual, simulation, codes, networks, integrated information systems and surveillant assemblage. Hybrid forms involving centralization and decentralization and the public and the private appear. In response to threats, risks, disasters, pandemic, fear and critical incidents, means based on profiling, pattern recognition, transactional data, data-mining, embedded sensors/ambient intelligence, intercepts, satellites, passwords, spyware, biometrics, authentication, audit trails and target hardening are applied. There is an emphasis on prevention, pro-activity and preparedness. These are all parts of the Hindu tale of the somewhat coherent elephant whose varied and sometimes conflicting forms can be hazily seen through pixilated shadows and fog.

The new surveillance technologies can be more formally contrasted with traditional means along at least 27 dimensions (Marx 2004). 5 Among some of the most important characteristics are: extends the senses, low visibility, involuntary, remote, lesser cost, multiple, integrated, automated, real time data flows, emphasis on predicting the future and preventing untoward outcomes, attention to systems and networks as well as individuals, folding of surveillance into routine activities and immediate link between data collection and action. When not hidden altogether, the new information gathering seeks to be soft, less invasive and noticeable and to avoid direct coercion (Marx 2006).

Explanations to the public, potential clients and opponents via the mass media offer a related perspective on the social construction of problems and solutions. While methods and topics vary, researchers from a variety of backgrounds study how contemporary threats are defined and publicly discussed (Gusfield 1981, Huysmans 1998, Waever, 1995, Leyman-Langlois 2002, Doyle 2003, Balzacq 2005, Athehide, 2006). Here I do not refer to a philosophical debate about what is "real", but to the content and manner in which surveillance professionals communicate. The varying degrees to which this corresponds to a more objective reality, measurable across observers, is of course a major issue for research. Without falling into unduly deterministic notions about the hegemony of dominant language and thought and their connections with the control of resources (aka power), we can note that our sense of the moral order of things goes beyond what can be empirically verified.

The mass media –whether the evening news, television, cinema, periodicals or the internet inform us of far away events and their presumed meaning. We need to analyze how problems are framed, explained, interpreted, evaluated, prioritized and how proposed solutions or actions flow from different ways of defining and seeing problems. What pieces go into the conceptual packages that are propagated by experts to make sense of contemporary events? What symbols are used in efforts to persuade? How does the quality of the argument stand up with respect to logical, empirical and value questions?

There is the obvious subjective component in which believing makes things "real" to the individual in question, even if others experience a different reality. 6 But surveillance rhetoric as offered by the advocates goes beyond some wispy subjectivity. Via self-fulfilling and self-defeating prophesies (Merton 1957, Seiber 1981) there can also be an objective reality that flows from actions taken on the basis of prior beliefs. Irony must be a major part of any consideration of complex social matters. This may be particularly applicable to contexts of social control and conflict when the only response to the opposition is repression. Consider for example, the overly broad demonization and stigmatization of the 1960s Black Panther Party in the United States, factors which contributed to the group's radicalization. Treated as a dangerous group and excluded from conventional politics, the group came in some ways to reflect its labeling.

The fait accompli ethos found with the engineering of social control (Marx 1995), when mixed with the belief that the means are neutral, the goals universal and the opposition personifies unadulterated evil, leaves little room for political debate or negotiation.

One approach to the varied issues around technology and social control is to analyze the typical worldviews and experiences of those creating, managing and directly applying control technologies in blurry modern settings. However, before deconstructing, we need to construct the perfect rhetoric.

Rocky Bottoms is a paradigmatic security professional, whose experience reflects many of the major strands noted above. Bottoms' fictive technology-driven work trajectory involves the significant blurring between, and even merging, of public and private sector ideas, practices, personnel, roles and forms of organization. In Bottoms we see overlap and convergence in the structure and functioning of diverse institutions, such as the military, criminal justice, schools, medicine, manufacturing and commerce which are technology based and concerned with controlling people and information, whatever the more specific goal. This involves the national and international and in some cases, the absence of a meaningful distinction between them.

With Rocky Bottoms we see an anamorphosis of social control and security discourse and developments (Palidda 1992). Bottoms reflects the emergent, complex, breaking, reconfiguring and hybridization of a variety of borders. He fuses elements that traditionally were distinct and even opposite. Bottoms is a poster boy for the post-modern. In rendering a composite fiction, we may see the area in a new, more holistic light. For example cubism and satirical writing can inform through their distortions (although I can sadly not recommend the latter to beginning social scientists seeking work).

Just as it is useful to speak of economic or political man, so we can speak of security man (or if you prefer person). Rock Bottoms represents a statistical average based on the blending of different security and control sectors into a new multi-faceted, professional field. He is the homo securitus of nightmares or dreams, depending on who is somnolent. Such an ideal-typical person is of course an abstraction of a pure form who represents multiple contemporary social control themes seen in the emergent security/control field.

In Bottoms we observe the increased congruence in belief and behavior among agents (indeed not infrequently the same ones) with experience in public and private organizations, in the military and in police and at home and abroad. They engage in war-making and peace keeping/institution building, as well as in intelligence and in operations, and in risk, threat and opportunity assessments—whether for security, sales, insurance, banking, or employee human resource management. Indeed from an emerging control perspective, it is all just one big technical security, prevention and sorting problem (or aggrandizing opportunity) and the tools, personnel and legitimating rationales are increasingly interchangeable. 7

The traditional way to understand the topic is through interviews, the analysis of documents, observation and case studies. I certainly don't intend to muddy the waters of those nourishing troughs. The advantages of traditional systematic inductive empirical approaches are well known. Yet as with any approach, there are also limitations. The strictly empirical case study is restricted by time and place and the little picture. The strictures of impersonal scientific presentation are also too often dry, failing to deeply engage the reader and to communicate the personal and the emotional. Can we be true to the calling of the social scientist, while also engaging with the richness of the human material and perhaps communicating to wider audiences?

Here I seek a means which, while grounded in the empirical, goes beyond it by offering an ideal type and offering it in a way (if I may use the term for such an august bi-oceanic audience) is fun –for both author and the audience.

Like any ideal type, this is a fictional account—but it is fictional only in the sense that the speech en toto was not literally given. It is however a pastiche made up of statements I have encountered in several decades of research. A broad and coherent fiction may offer a kind of truth not found with a narrow empirical inquiry, however rigorous and precise.

Things may be fiction in multiple ways. One involves lies, deception, hoax, fraud, and distortion, in which it is claimed that something happened that did not in fact happen. When caught, scientists and journalists get a bad name for passing off fiction as fact.

In contrast, conventional fiction acknowledges that it is imaginary and makes no necessary claim to direct correspondence to a particular empirical entity. An intermediate case is the roman-a-clef which involves real persons under invented names. Language conspires with us here in giving multiple meanings to words such as "fabricate" which means both to construct and to concoct, and "forge" to shape and to invent.

Another type of fiction well known to the social scientist is the ideal type that makes a greater claim on reality (this contrasts with the practical "legal fictions" of the law). For Max Weber (1958), this was abstract and involved relatively few elements in pristine form. But more detailed cases, as with Rocky Bottoms, are also ideal types. They are fiction because they are not "embodied." Nor are they copies. Yet as ideal types, they hopefully resonate with empirical events and capture essential objective and subjective features of watching and being watched. The question is not did it really happen this way, but does it happen this way and is the account useful in capturing the central features of the behavior and world views we wish to understand? While these scenarios are fiction, when offered under the tent of social science, they are to be judged by a standard of verisimilitude that need not burden the novel.

A composite account may be true, even if it is impossible for it to be empirically accurate. 8 While there is no Rocky Bottoms with a real biometric capable of being chipped, his attitudes are everywhere. He is fiction, but he is not science fiction. The line between fiction and reality can be fluid and, as with the case here, represent intentional genre blurring. The complexity of the situation made me do it. While I have taken some leeway, as noted, the substance and many direct quotes are from my observations, interviews, and reading. A map or compass coordinates are not literally the territory. Yet they reflect elements of it and can be essential in navigating it. In the same way I hope my use of fiction can help make sense of actual and emerging social worlds. And perhaps by sparking thought can help rationally and humanely shape these.

The satirical fiction which follows offers a neglected way of knowing, communicating, and performing social research. As important as traditional systematic data and theory are, they usually lose the non-specialist reader and neglect the richness of situational detail. Ernest Hemingway advises the writer to show rather than to tell. But the scholar should not be forced to choose. The affectivity of art, whether in the form of narrative writing, music or visual images, may enhance the effective comprehension of the topic. We understand some things non-cognitively, and passion can fuel the effort to cognitively understand. Fiction can help us avoid what Mark Twain (1984) referred to as the "impressive incomprehensibility" of many scientific and legal treatises which only a scholar or a mother could love. Our conventional approaches can be supplemented by more explicitly writing fiction informed by reality.

Writing such as this is both docudrama and mockudrama. The nature of such writing must be clearly stated, or else misuse of the form may degenerate into propaganda. There can be a tension between the scholar's need for accuracy, balance, fairness, logic, and depth and the requisites of provocative satire and fiction. Education needn't be entertaining, but neither should the solemnity of the academy preclude its being entertaining. Psychologists have a natural advantage over sociologists and political scientists here in dealing with individual narratives as against the abstractions of social structure and history. The risk for a social scientist in mixing fact and fiction is that some readers will assume that the situations described are real in the literal sense, rather than being real in the ideal typical sense of representations of things in, or potentially in, the world. 9 At the other extreme, some readers will dismiss it all precisely because it isn't "real" as in literal.

In a moment of aging indiscretion, I had the temerity to offer thirty-seven moral mandates for aspiring social scientists (Marx 1997). I urged greater attention to writing and argued for new ways of communicating. I also suggested that researchers should have more fun. Drawing again from Weber (1958), I argued for social inquiry as a vacation as well as a vocation. Life is short, and the stuff many of us study is depressing and tragic. Humor not only can alleviate stress, it can afford unique insights by pointing out cultural contradictions (Davis 1993). Having a store of information built up from studying the topic for several decades, I didn't have to do research. I simply thought about the subject and cases flowed out.

I think our methods in International Relations, law and other social studies would do well to train students in writing reality-grounded fiction and in the uses of irony, parables, satire, and humor. 10 There is a well-established fictional tradition in quantitative analysis of using simulated data. It is more than time to develop an equivalent tradition for qualitative work.

Brief Dossier on R. Bottoms

Mr. Richard Bottoms was born in Repressa, California. His home was adjacent to Folsom State Prison where his parents were employed. Growing up in the protective orbit of the prison he came, at an earlier age than most, to appreciate the virtues of order and the need for strong controls. His uncle was in the toy business and provided him with an endless supply of heroic police and military toys –from action figures to junior detective spy tools. His certainty about the righteousness of his cause and his attraction to the use of power to do good are traced to a Prussian ancestor who fled Europe for the clear air and golden streets of America, after the failed revolutions of 1848.

He gained his first law enforcement experience in an Explorer Boy Scout Troop sponsored by is local police department. For his Eagle Scout project he initially developed a web-based, real time video, audio, geographical and health monitoring system for his high school. Beyond an array of fixed sensors and transmitters, he proposed embedding sensors in all students and teachers. Among other things his system would have permitted viewing and recording the inside of all classrooms, commons areas, parking lots and school buses and monitoring the location and physiological state and performance of all participants. As with that famous visionary project that inspired him, Bentham's Panopticon, it was never actually set up. In a rare show of unity, students and teachers worked together to block the system. The school administration, politicians and parents liked it, but thought it was too expensive and untested.

Bottoms then turned to a second scout project—organizing an undercover sting operation against merchants selling cigarettes and liquor to under age students. Scouts went to the stores and were often successful in purchasing contraband. However the project was eventually called off after several scouts consumed the evidence.

Trained at the prestigious Briareus University as both a sigint and signet (signals intelligence and networking) engineer and as a market researcher, Mr. Bottoms served as a military police officer. It was then that he realized the benefits from greater cooperation and exchanges between the military and law enforcement, as he developed software permitting easy data exchanges between different operating systems and organizations. After military service he worked for a government agency so secret that its' name can't be mentioned, nor can his classification level—well above TOP SECRET, be revealed. He was a liaison officer charged with increasing cooperative relations through harmonization of security practices, information sharing and joint training with European security services and with improved integration of public and private security providers.

He then spent several years as the Director of Marketing and Security for a national department store chain where he encountered Tom I. Voire. 11 Over the next decade, with several leaves of absence to work directly on government projects, he was employed by SeeSecCor, the large international private security company. Among his innovations there were introducing a common vision, standardizing control methods across the manufacturing, marketing and security units and overseeing implementation of RFID projects that involved putting chips in all employees and in company property. He was a strong advocate of data-mining. He now heads a private security firm specializing in surveillance and counter-surveillance. The firm receives a majority of its work from governments.

Note: the bracketed numbers in the speech refer to statements considered in the analysis section which follows.

The Wonders of Modern Surveillance: A Call to Action
by R. Bottoms

"Security and surveillance are the wave of the future and ambient intelligence is the surfboard riding it" states G. ("Glint") Ocular, a CEO whose company is the leading supplier of closed circuit TV systems and biometrics. You don't need a weatherman to tell you that the surf is up! As the web page of a leading security company says, "Never has the act of controlling who goes where, when been more relevant….the access control industry holds the keys to securing this world—one door at a time." In 2003 there were 3,512 companies with homeland security contracts by 2006 the number was 33,890. We are talking mega, gigantean bucks here—$130 billion in contracts and still counting. Fortunately both the Big Guy and the technology are on our side. As the Beatles sang, "It's getting better all the time." 12 A leading skip-tracer noted, "I've watched my job become steadily easier and easier over the last 10 years." In this period of unique opportunity and crisis, it is time to unleash the full potential of surveillance technology and let the chips [sic] fall where they may.

The winners in the game of life know that while the laws of entropy can't be stopped, they can be effectively managed if we have the courage to innovate and go where the technology takes us. In engineering, given the resources, there is nothing we cannot do.

We need to turn the technology loose and let the benefits flow for all of society. [2] Sir Frances Pork really brought home the bacon when he said, "He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils."[27]

The genius of the human species is invention and this is taken to its highest form in Western Civilization, especially in the good ole' USA. Human betterment is directly tied to the inexorable march of information technology. The Christians might have made some mistakes over the centuries, but they got it right when they saw that history moves in a linear, more or less progressive fashion. As surely as day follows night, the new must replace the old. [1] You can't stop progress and no right-minded [sic] person would want to. The technology is here to stay. The question is, are we? Will we be in the driver's seat, or road kill, on the information highway in a deep pile of hurt waiting to be scavenged by those who get there first?

It's all about speed, power and quantity. Life is short and time is money. Whoever gets there first with the most, wins. [32] We are privileged to live in turbo-time. Faster is better. As my mentor General Bat Guano always said, "strength is besser", I mean better. More is better. One of our members Ron "Pudge" Grais, who runs a data base service for landlords, hit the bulls-eye when he said, "the information age is a very healthy thing. I find knowledge to be important and the more you know about somebody else, the better off everybody is."[34]

We are the ultimate truth seekers and perform a valuable service in telling people who they are dealing with and what they can expect on a rational statistical basis, even if the prediction has not yet come true. The early warning signals of a potential problem usually appear before the problem and even the worst offenders started off with clean records. In economics there is a scientific theory with equations that proves that good information lowers costs. The future is knowable and shapeable if we invest the resources.

Echoing President's Truman's statement about dropping the atomic bomb, police leader Ollie (OC) Capsicum asked, "if the technology is available why not use it?" The answer is self-evident. Our founder Rip Oftner put it well, "it is our duty, as well as our responsibility, to utilize available state-of-the-art technology to create a more efficient, orderly, healthy and productive society. "

Above all never forget the V word: VISION. John Lenin got it right when he sang, "Imagine." We must tell them what to build and help them build it. With glider drones and nano-technology and satellites, the sky is no longer even the limit.

We are only now beginning to realize the potentials of these technologies. We need to vastly expand our R and D budgets and develop more powerful machines. [33] Doing that will permit us to find problems to be solved that we are still unaware of, and, if our preventive solutions work, will never have to worry about. [31] The means can play a vital role in helping us determine the ends. [11] We have the answers –lets go get those questions! If some unrealists have a problem with the ends justifying the means, why can't the means justify the end? When everyone is standing in the mud you can't afford to be the one looking to the stars. Our competitors and enemies both at home and abroad, are using the technologies.[23] As the Judge said, "the Constitution is not a suicide pact." There is a lot to be said for principles up to a certain point and we need to work closely with PR and our Maxi-True Ministries on message massage, but principles don't do you any good when you lose. As the Bible should have said, "What does it profit a man to gain his soul if there is no world left in which to enjoy it? It would be self-destructive for us not to use every means necessary out of some vague concern over privacy (a term not even mentioned in the Bill of Rights and its European antecedents), or because of concern over hypothetical problems which have never happened. [35]

In contrast, the U.S. Constitution is crystal clear about the importance of an informed citizenry for democracy. Our basic rights to free speech, assembly and association are inconceivable without the right for the right people to know and communicate, factors given an enormous boost by surveillance technology. The digit is the widget. The byte is out of site as the right and the might. The first civil liberty is SECURITY. Without collective rights, individual rights mean nothing. Without order there is chaos, anarchy and germs. Question: "What would Machiavelli call a lie to preserve real truth?" Answer: " Smart."

Some may call it spying. But wars are won by spying. Let those who live in a perfect society behave like angels, the rest of us better be on guard. As our vice president for hospitality, Gigi Lesser, who has written a book to help women find out the truth about their cheating spouses said on the Oprah Winfrey show, "sure we sometimes do the wrong thing, but for the greater good." Our means can mean their ends.

Do we make the occasional mistake? Sure, you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs (unless you use the tasteless no cholesterol kind). It's a fact of life that any war has some casualties and collateral damage, just ask Harry Lyme. [18] Hey no pain no gain. With even a whiff of suspicion, it would be irresponsible not to come on like gang busters. Yeah, we may cast a broad net and throw a lot back into the sea, but consider the alternative. You have to chase a lot of dead ends – it's inherent in this business."

Unlike with traditional means, we have a documentary record that can be continuously reviewed. This helps prevent, or identify problems should they occur. In this technological age even our mistakes are a blessing since we can work to avoid them next time. When there is a mistake such as the loss or theft of personal data, we need to make it right by offering a year of free credit monitoring for those whose data was involved. Organizations that screw up (except those covered by a security exemption) should be required to notify their clients. Better still, no important data should ever be on a pc of any sort, rather the data should be remotely accessed from a secure location.

Broken Borders and Invisible Migrating Enemies

Forget Frank Sinatra, brother Bruce is my man. Symbols matter and repetition sells. I am proud to be born in the USA. I never leave home without my flag lapel pin. Bumper stickers are no stranger to my Hummer. In that good John Wayne world of America-the-New, our country's dynamism depended on isolation from the decadent old world and the avoidance of foreign entanglements and those with names that were hard to pronounce. The oceans were our natural borders. The game plan was continual vigilance against the external threats to our shores. Tread on us and our military would wage war over there as necessary. At the same time our men in blue at home dealt with the internal threats in a legally restrained way. Neither our military, nor our intelligence agencies could act at home and our many national and local police agencies were restricted in gathering intelligence, even that which private sector agencies routinely had. This restraint added inefficiency, as well as legitimacy, to democratic government. Since internal and external enemies were distinct and required different methods, we managed just fine. So much for an ancient history lesson.

Hullo. This is the 21st Century and those old separations are no longer meaningful. Now, since we export our ideals and more, the borders of America have expanded to include the planet earth (and as our vital program of space research shows, beyond). North Americus heri, the world hodei, the universe crastinus! This offers great opportunities to help mankind, but also brings monumental challenges. We can no longer as easily separate the enemy within from the enemy without. Potential enemies could be anyone and anywhere. As Joseph McCarthy realized long ago, conventiclers profane sacred places with their febrile enthusiasm. There are barnacles on our borders and viruses within our systems. Mobility and decentralized structure makes them harder to identify.

The old borders need to be redrawn and reengineered. Those beyond our physical borders can remotely do terrible damage to our cyberspace infrastructures. In a radical break with the past, these infrastructures both fuel and defend our society. Our functional requisites can be used against us (like those poor people who are allergic to their own sweat). Our airwaves are polluted by insightful, I mean inciteful, ideas. Our financial flows are corroded by dirty funds. The bottom line here is survival of our way of life, economic growth, conservation of our resources,, protection of our precious body fluids and above all PREVENTION. I am an old farm boy and it don't do ya' no good to close the barn door after the horse has bolted. Our systems must be purged of harmful elements, whether social or biological.

Germs and ideas cross borders with equal impunity and some ideas are pathological in the worst organic sense. Crime, political violence and germs merge as never before. Terrorists for example engage in narcotics trafficking and counterfeiting to finance chemical and biological weapons.

Criminals and terrorists, no longer stand alone. Increasingly they are part of shifting organizations and global networks. Like the child with a coloring book, we need to connect the dots. But the picture is different –rather than two dimensional, linear and fixed, the dots may seem almost random (many of them aren't of course as chaos theory tells us). What is even harder, the dots are hidden, fluid, and changeable. They appear and disappear, mutate and migrate via transparent, evaporating bridges. The enemy is an ambulatory masked rhizoid whose root-like filaments parasitically attach to our bodies and use our fluids in the hope of destroying us. Like those children's toys called transformers, they morph into unexpected forms.

Borders aren't what they used to be. Beyond recognizing the new non-territorial ones we have no control over, we need to tear down some of the old ones and build new ones. Restrictions on sharing public and private sector information need to be lessened. Limitations on the military and intelligence agencies taking domestic action need to be rethought. We need more sharing of information within and across national borders.

People and goods move as never before. You can't hold back the tide; instead you need to work with it. We must offer a giant "No!" to anonymous mobility and a big "Yes!" to transparent and controlled mobility for those with the right stuff. We need to identify and exclude, or otherwise immobilize those with the wrong stuff, in order to preclude. Freud said in the beginning there is the body and he was right. Biometrics, and DNA in particular, are fundamental here.

The violence and undesirable migrations associated with unwanted border crossings are technical problems to be mastered, not social questions to be analyzed or worse, to be negotiated. When untoward incidents in need of control occur, the cause must be seen as a technical systems failure. To ask the "why" question regarding the motivation of rule breakers only gives them a megaphone for self-serving rhetoric and encourages them to ask for more. If we want to do political agenda talk, lets look at the hidden politics of those who attack technological solutions. Who pulls their chain?— as my Cambridge mentor spy/novelist friend Porter Square III would say, " What's really behind all this talk about civil liberties? What color is their flag?"

We are all in this together now and need to think in terms of a world community of good people who can equate the law with the right. [sic] The law ain't perfect, but it's all we got. We don't need the divisive idea of civil society and competing security groups, as distinct from one big Government that is synonymous with community and society. [19] We need undivided loyalty. The government is the people and it has too look out for its people. The restrictions on information gathering, sharing and cooperative actions faced by our security forces within government just make it harder to get the job done. The same is true for the lack of restrictions on all those investigative reporters and information leakers of doubtful loyalty.

We need to plan, pan and ban. The modern way uses virtual patrols via cameras and data bases, not inefficient meat patrols of physical spaces. When we can't ban we have to categorize in ways that meet our goals and maintain the image of our systems as fair and rationalized. The kinds of discrimination (or the term that I prefer distinctions) we make are not based on the old irrational, imperial, ethnocentric and sexist beliefs, but on rational criteria clearly understandable to the average person –prevention based on scientific facts and fairness –each according to what they are legitimately entitled to. Ameliorative avoidance of bad outcomes is true freedom and truly life-affirming –a point well made in one of my favorite films Minority Report. INVENTION FOR PREVENTION is the name of my game.

We must anticipate virtual dangerous futures in order to prevent them. That requires continuous data collection and also probing the security of our own methods. We need to view the world in systemic terms and use the tools of simulation. We must apply the insights of the life sciences which tell us that all livings things are systems of information exchange. Meaning lies in fusion –in converting and combining streams of data into integrated information systems. Data must not be wasted. Pixels, bits, bytes and networks are our friends. We are the new magicians (or if that is too unscientific alchemists, I mean chemists, who convert the meaningless into informational gold.

Technical Fix = Fixed

Sometimes your "fruits and nuts", civil liberties/anarchist, antediluvian, Narodnik, softy Luddite crowd uses the term "technical fix" in a negative way. But what can be better than a technical fix when you consider the alternative? These means offer cost-free solutions to problems that have vexed civilization since it began.[10] .

If we can't trust the engineering experts whose no-nonsense actions are based on science, the unsullied simple purity of numbers,, and the diamond hard facts of EC (empirical correctness), rather than the squishy sentimentality and sullied claims of political correctness and social non-science, who can we trust? [3, 25] Modern society loves gambling and all we do is go with the scientific odds.

As I learned in Engineering 101, we need to do away with the human interface and to "get the humans out of the loop."[8] We've got machines now to do the work. Let the people have more fun. Relative to the machine, humans are expensive, limited in the depth and scale of their observations, miss work, come late and leave early. They are sometimes lazy, untrustworthy and biased. They make mistakes (and unlike the machine) then cover them up. They can't see the future.

In contrast, the electric eye never sleeps. Indeed it never even blinks. It is always on the job, doesn't screw up, talk back, cut corners or engage in corruption or sexual harassment. The technology just offers us the facts, speaking loudly and clearly for themselves. [4] Seeing is believing. We can help people believe by creating and telling them what they see.

Technical solutions are more reliable and secure. Personal information is best protected when only the computer, rather than a possibly prurient, dishonest or curious, clerk reviews cases. The research tells us that most people would rather interact with a machine than a person (note the popularity of ATM and self check out machines).

Personal information is also best discovered when a computer is used. Research on sensitive topics has found increased validity and subject comfort, when those being interviewed can respond to questions on a computer screen, rather than directly to an interviewer.

When programmed not to consider personal characteristics, technology offers the ultimate non-discriminatory tool. Security cameras catch the rich as well as the poor if they try to steal from a loading dock or sleep behind the mall or even under a bridge. The camera doesn't care about your gender, color, or if you have an accent. Computer based decision-making relying on quantitative indicators and artificial intelligence has done more for fairness and justice than all your law suits and so-called protest movements put together. [6]

Furthermore, with respect to managing complaints, our studies on effective client communication find that to be able to say, "the computer says" is a very persuasive rhetorical device, as is the claim, "I'm sorry that is not in the computer." Technology makes it real.

The technology is neutral in still another sense –it is egalitarian. Sure it could be monopolized by a dictator and our strong encryption might be broken before there is heat death of the universe. The moon might also be made of pistachio ice cream. But we live in a democracy and in the United States ( particularly relative to those unfree Europeans), the technology is available to all. We are not talking multimillion dollar aircraft or computer programs that require a degree from M.I.T. to run, but laptops, video cameras, home drug and pregnancy testing and electronic location monitoring devices that are within everyone's reach and become cheaper, faster and easier to use almost daily. Even satellite imagery relying on a billion dollar infra-structure and traditionally restricted to just a few governments is now available for nothing, or almost nothing, on the web.

If You Don't Cooperate, We Know You Are Guilty

Do you know the origin of the ritual of shaking hands? It was to show the other person that one was not carrying a weapon. Only those who have something to hide, [24] or who are callously indifferent to pressing problems of productivity, national security, health, drug abuse and crime will fail to understand the case I am making. [17] As Harry Caul, the hero in the film "The Conversation", which honors our profession said, "I have no secrets, my life is an open book." In our society of strangers that book better never be closed. In order to protect it, those of us in security work need to document everything under conditions of maximum secrecy.

Personal information is too valuable a commodity to waste, now that so much, about so many, can be so inexpensively obtained by so few and we face problems of such enormous magnitude. [22] Think of the great things that could happen if we really were able to fully use all of the available personal data that surveillance technology can provide, instead of just a fraction of them. It is now cheaper to store all data than to cull it in order to know what to keep. A record, like a diamond, should be forever. We must purge our systems of subversives, not data (I strongly oppose policies that mandate the destruction of data after a short period of time). You never know.

I welcome technical data collection tools as the bridegroom welcomes the bride. It is only fair that I should pay less on my insurance because I eat healthily, exercise and exorcize, have good DNA and don't smoke. Conversely those who are poor risks should pay a whole lot more (or rather their services will cost more, just who pays this is a political question and we are a non-partisan group, so I won't really comment on that, although those of you who know my background and great respect for Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer can infer what you will.)

Anyone is invited to know what kind of cat food I buy to feed my tiger, what magazines I read, or where I drive. The cell phone company needs to know where I am for billing purposes or so the phone can be located, if it is stolen, or for help in an emergency.

I'll tell you a little secret—I like to look at myself on store video monitors (not to mention the fact that they make me feel safer and, in reducing shoplifting, mean lower prices). I like using the latest wireless video means so I can always know where my children and my wife are and what they are doing. I have no need to risk violating trust and maybe the law by secretly tapping her. She is appreciative and understands that, given the security issues in my line of work, it can't be reciprocal. I also like checking on Mucho Macho at our doggy day care center—a modern business that offers password protected webcam access.

I know from my government work that the eagle only dumps once a month. I sympathize with the tread mill, carrot in front-of the donkey consumption and life style challenges we face in the modern world,—as the mass media offers us ever improved visions of how we should be living. But if a frequent shopper card guarantees better prices at the super market—hey I'm on board. The same for all the very personal ads I receive. I know I matter to someone when I get all that mail and that I'm a player in the consumption world.

Speaking of cell phones, location and super markets reminds me that there are vast untapped markets waiting for our harvesting. There has been a healthy convergence and overlap in recent years between the military, law enforcement, corrections, management and marketing. Many of the models and tools we perfected in the military and law enforcement apply across the board. Finding the enemy, looking for criminal suspects, identifying persons, creating safe environments through target hardening and suspect weakening and monitoring those under some form of judicial supervision is really no different than looking for customers and clients, determining identity, checking credit worthiness, making predictions about persons and risks, and monitoring workers. Just as we have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in the commercial sector we need to establish Adversary Relationship Management (ARM) in the international political sector.

We need more exchange between our private and government databases. As recent events suggest, we separate this information at our peril. We are vastly under-utilizing our ability to merge databases for purposes of mining their wealth. As long as they pay for it, the government should be allowed to access private sector databases. It is also wasteful to have systems of duo data collection. We need more cooperative public-private data collection efforts, drawing on the authority of government to compel disclosure and the efficiency of the private sector to collect and distribute information,—generating taxable revenue in the process.

The restrictions on the private sector's ability to access most government data bases must also be eliminated. We pay with our tax dollars for the creation of government data and like asphalt highways, they should be more available for public use and repackaging and reesale, especially by those of us in security work serving the public good.

Our commercial and security data bases must be mutually reinforcing. For example crime data must inform insurance rates and business location decisions and credit card data must inform national security (whether this involves excessive indebtedness of government employees who could be corrupted or anomalous credit patterns of visitors)

We must have more synergy and institutional cooperation. Consider a nice South Carolina example involving law and medicine. Low income pregnant women who came to a clinic were automatically tested for drug use. Imagine their surprise when those who tested positive were arrested. With one easy collection something that would otherwise get flushed away serves an important law enforcement, health and child protection goal. 13

It's All Legal!

Of course we must obey the law. But the striking thing about most of the new surveillance technologies is that they are generally legal for everyone, and especially for the government. [21] Some contemporary interpretations of the Constitution have stressed the power of the executive, particularly in times of crisis, to do whatever is necessary. And the president after all is elected by the people (correction by the electoral system

Fortunately the new technologies generally give us the latitude to act offensively, as well as defensively. In contrast to Europe, our free market economic system and civil rights and liberties means that we can go very far in using technology to gather personal information, and, if necessary can use our guns to guard our information and other property. The protections in our Bill of Rights evens up the score and are intended to restrain government, not the private sector or citizens.

The technologies are not only legal to use in the sense that they are not prohibited, but they are legal in that in many cases we have an affirmative obligation to use them. For those in government, given the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, it would be unconstitutional not to use them.

When a technology is prohibited, we may still have plenty of room to operate by working for those who can use it legally. Furthermore the pie is big enough for everyone. When wiretapping was fully criminalized for the private sector in 1968, it was an easy move for us to go from selling our offensive skills such as bugging, to selling our defensive skills such as anti-bugging and data protection.

What about the civil liberties of the entrepreneurs whose rights to information are denied? I wouldn't be quite so critical of the civil liberties lobbies if they were at least consistent. After all the First Amendment gives me the right to freedom of information and expression. I have a right to know and to collect data. The Constitution says that I have the right to own property and the personal information we collect and add value to is our property! [16] I am not a lawyer (so you can trust me), but I do know that possession is 9/10ths of the law.

"It's All Free"

As Narcisco Gonif, spokesperson for the large personal data warehouse No-Choice Point, said: "never underestimate the willingness of the American public to tell you about itself. That data belongs to us! isn't out there because we stole it from them. Someone gave it away and now it's out there for us to use." [15]

Using a scanner to listen to telephonic radio transmissions is no different than reading lips or overhearing a conversation on the subway. Using one of my mini-drones, a satellite, or a soldier in a balloon with a telescope to collect visual data is no different than looking at someone you find of interest. [28] The information is out there in public, not locked in a box behind closed doors and walls.

The data people kindly offer is just waiting to be processed by our sensory receptors. We can no more be stopped from gleaning that information than we can be from breathing the air. A free good is a free good after all. Some things are just givens waiting to become takens. If they transmit it, we can receive it. If they don't block it, we are invited to take it. An offer like that is hard to refuse.

Those who choose to walk or drive on public streets, enter a shopping mall, use a credit card or work at a particular place have made a choice to reveal personal information because of the obvious benefits they gain. By not protecting the information they show that they don't expect it to be restricted. And I don't have much sympathy for those anti-community persons who try to protect their information. Those doing wrong have no legitimate right or expectation of being unscrutinzed. By breaking the rules they make a choice to be discovered.

Such freedom of choice is the American way. This value was well put by member Holly Goavery-Wear, a personnel director who said, "we don't force anyone to undergo drug testing, only those who want to work here." In the work context it is well expressed by the doctrine of "employment at will" which for three centuries has granted American employers a much higher degree of control over the workplace than is the case in Europe. This might be questioned were it not for the fact that it is matched by the right of the employee to quit at any time and for any reason.

As our past President, phone company executive Sammy "Slick" Ringer said during the controversy over Caller-Id, "when you choose to make a phone call, you are consenting to have your telephone number released." In choosing to have a telephone you are inviting people to bring you courtesy calls about when the aluminum siding and carpet cleaning people will be in your neighborhood (you wouldn't believe the germs that live in carpets), or about important political events and charitable causes.

If you use my corporate resources in making a toll free call, its only fair that I get something in return like your phone number. If you don't like that. Fine. Then use the regular long distance number. The same argument holds for you offering me a little information when you visit our web page. We don't charge you for all the information we provide there, nor for the suggestions we subsequently offer based on our understanding of your behavior and preferences. It's a simple matter of exchange.

If you don't want your neighbors to share in your intimate moments then close the shades or live in a rural area. We can't return to that golden age of manners and respect for other's information found in the countryside If you really want privacy don't say anything, or use the earlier American invention of smoke signals. Seriously, the solution is another technology such as call screening.

There is too much talk these days and not enough action. The epicene relativists and complexifiers are the enemies of manly actions. Take that silly story about the optimist and the pessimist arguing endlessly about whether the glass of water is half full or half empty. Hell, any engineer can tell you,—just make the damn glass smaller and there will be no need for the verbiage and immobilizing politics.

It's All Needed

Unlike in a police state, our surveillance activity increasingly responds to consumer demand, whether for our material products or for our feeling products like safety. Yes, security is a product too, and we need to think about it as a marketable commodity. We have to educate the public about that, just as they are educated about dental hygiene for themselves and their pets. Even in situations of obvious conflict, where we would expect surveillance technology to be rejected, it may be welcomed. Thus in prison settings both guards and prisoners support use of video cameras and feel protected by them. The documentary record permits discovering the truth, rather than having conclusions determined by the more powerful party, or by sympathy for the underdog. Or consider the well established principle of inspection as a vehicle for mutual deterrence in international treaties.

More broadly, we can hardly keep up with the public's demands. This "listening to the people" is democracy and capitalism in action. It's what sets our government and economy apart from the despotic regimes of history and less developed countries. The public interest is whatever we the public is interested in—from reality TV shows to increased security, to the ease of using credit cards and the web, to checking up on each other.

Find a need and fill it. [35] If we don't, someone else will. For example, as the possibilities for real time monitoring of all consumer behavior and preferences have become clearer, consumers are demanding the personalized and customized services made possible by modern segmented marketing, rather than the inefficient mass marketing and service delivery of the past.

That is one reason why I love this business and why it is such a win/win situation. We get to work both sides of the street. No need to take sides here –other than in favor of growth and justice. Clients, whether government, corporations or individuals want data and to protect their data. They need surveillance and counter-surveillance. We can help market awareness of the needs and then offer ways of dealing with them, whether involving the discovery or protection of information.

With the right business communication plan we can make customers/clients aware of the cornucopia and dangers of the information that is literally falling (or is waiting to) fall from the sky with our help. It is perfidious mendacity of the worst kind to claim, as some of our critics do, that we create problems to which we then sell solutions. No! That is assbackwords. We are the problem solvers. Sadly, many of our potential clients are woefully ignorant of the risks they face. We have a moral and professional obligation to help them understand these and to bring the good news that there are solutions. Above all we must explain the modern idea of prevention and that being modern means we can almost eliminate risk. I stress "almost" because completely eliminating the risk would be bad for business. We have a delicate communications and strategic problem here in generating enough anxiety so potential clients realize they need our services, but not enough to immobilize them.

Certain About Uncertainty

A leading New York State anti-corruption prosecutor Maurice Nadjari got it right (even if he was fired for doing his job too well), "if we cannot have absolutely honest public officials, then lets have frightened public officials." [13] I would extend that to employees, tenants, customers, children, spouses. You name it. You can never be too sure. Temptation is everywhere.

You never know until you go in and take a look (and you better keep looking because things change and some of those violators are awfully clever). Lack of evidence may simply show how clever they are, especially when they have reasons to deceive. When the evidence strongly contradicts opposition to what, based on your intuition, you know is probably true, be especially on the look out for conspiracy. Sometimes the evidence is so overwhelmingly negative, that it can only mean a conspiracy (and not a very good one because it is just too perfect). I read political scientist (how's that for an oxymoron?) Hofsneider's book on stylish paranoids. 14 But never forget that being paranoid doesn't mean there are no enemies. Nor forget the importance of leadership. As leaders we need objective analysis. That means we supply the objectives and the intelligence agencies provide the analysis to help us meet them, or we get new ones who understand what a change of command really means.

Its like that gigantic mining drill –sure it will pull up mostly dross, but it gets the gold too. When we throw a big fishing net, you catch what you catch. If there is a problem there, I will find it. If not, its a small price to pay, kind of like catch and release fishing (for the innocent fish at least).

As a responsible leader, you can not know too much about those in your charge and you dare not know too little. One of our contract employees, Erich M. Paranoos the former head of the East German Security Service (Stasi) got it right when he said, "everyone is a security risk." His agency needed to keep records on more than one-third of the population, so he ought to know.

I'm no psychologist, but as an employer, a parent and a former law enforcement and intelligence officer, I know people are most likely to conform when they are afraid of getting caught. The greater the likelihood of that (or the more uncertainty about that, given the expense of catching everyone all the time), the better the result. [10] If we tail 'em, there is far less need to nail 'em and jail 'em. If they hear us they will fear us. Deterrence is the modern way—whether it results from hard-wiring the environment so violations are impossible or fear induced self-control.

Monitoring is good for subordinates because it keeps them out of trouble (they exercise self-control) and it protects them from false accusations or clears them of suspicion. When they know (and as our Code of Ethics says they have a right to know, except under certain important conditions) they are to be identified and monitored, they behave better. We recommend that all our clients give a memo to new employees which states, "to protect your job, systematic checkings are made of every employee; you never know what day or hour you are being checked".

President Nixon, one of our greatest leaders, understood the power behind technologies for gathering personal information when he said, "Listen, I don't know anything about polygraphs, and I don't know how accurate they are, but I do know that they'll scare the hell out of people." Monitoring is also good for us because it prevents bothersome litigation based on false claims and can prove that we are obeying government regulations.

Some of those closet anarchists who don't understand that there can be no liberty without order and who are indifferent to our many societal problems, worry about their so-called freedom. They conjure up fears of a "Big Brother" type of society. I don't know about you, but I loved my big brother because he looked out for me. But apart from that personal note, the United States is the longest running democracy in history. Hell, 1984 came and went a long time ago. Any way you slice it, that argument is baloney. [33]

Technology is the driving force in creating social expectations. The Supreme Court has found that as technology advances "reasonable expectations of privacy" must recede.[5] The head of a large computer company said, "you have no privacy—get over it".

Certainly privacy is a value to be considered. But history tells us that this a very new idea and one that on balance has had very negative consequences.[29] It permits dangerous dastardly deeds done in darkness. We are not a mushroom farm. In contrast, the more American ideas of openness and visibility are central to our democratic notions of accountability. Privacy as we define it has been unknown in most societies and throughout most of history. The Chinese and Russians with their righteous emphasis on the importance of family, the community and the state, until recently did not even have a word for individual privacy.

The police need to be free to search and interrogate if the streets are to be safe and to use any available means.[22] As an employer I need to be free to make a profit if my employees are going to have jobs. If our economy is to thrive, our leading edge companies must be protected from industrial espionage. They must be able to use all available means to learn about competitors and customers, not to mention aliens –where ever they might come from. To keep the cost of insurance low, companies have to be able to exclude bad risks. Parents need to be free to inspect and protect their children. To paraphrase Thomas Paine "those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must always undergo the fatigue of restraints on liberty."

Contrary to the hysterical claims of those who are against progress, there is nothing really new here other than opportunity. We are just continuing well-established practices, but more efficiently and cheaply. A computerized data base is only a file cabinet that's faster. Work monitoring is just another supervisory tool. E-mail is just like a post card. A video camera showing a street is no different than a police officer on the beat. Caller-Id harks back to the original system when all calls went through an operator. So all this talk about the need for new controls doesn't make any sense. It is the thing de Tocqueville warned us against when he said, "everywhere the State acquires more and more direct control". The traditional controls work just fine –whether the law, markets or common-sense.

The Modern Way

Maybe I should qualify that, there is something new—while the goals have not changed the new means are less coercive and draconian than the old means and very cost effective. The modern way is soft, unobtrusive and often not even noticed (never forget "crepuscular is muscular"). Our efforts are embedded and largely transparent to the subject. No need to force people to do anything, when you can create the desire within them to do what they should. Discipline is so DURE and 19th century. I get more out of my horse with an oat bag that a whip and at the summer place, I get more flys with honey rather than vinegar. Rather than punishing or coercing, we get people to do what we want, I mean what they want, through training and rewards. Behavior thus reflects the inner person manifesting democratic freedom of choice and self-restraint, whether in consumption or law-abiding behavior. If some inhibited disparagers call that seduction, that's AOK with me—we are a modern society that acknowledges the importance of sexuality. We need to learn from everyone, especially women who know you don't need a cattle prod to be in control.

Consider also how effortless it all is. Self-contained camera units the size of a matchbook have replaced the old bulky intimidating 35mm camera. We can do drug tests based on a strand of hair, no more need for the embarrassment of having to urinate in front of another person. DNA and sophisticated imaging (among the least invasive biological data collection means ever conceived) can turn your body inside out and bring your future and your past into the present. No need to break your skin to get blood or go fishing in your intestines. Ionized plasma shot at a fleeing vehicle can bring it to a halt by short-circuiting the electrical system, just as non-lethal weapons can immobilize a fleeing subject. Sophisticated sensors can now search a person without ever touching them or opening their belongings. We soon will be able to know "who goes there?" by analyzing faces and gaits, no need to even carry an id card and risk having it lost, stolen or faked. Now that's progress!

As Teddy Roosevelt, one of my heroes would have said if he were around today, "talk softly and carry a little machine." There is no need for the coercive crudeness and bad publicity of the big stick, when we have the quiet, gentle engineered ju jitsu of modern technology. [26] To paraphrase one of my distant relatives and a great American Barry Goldwater:

Technology in the defense of liberty is no vice
Limiting technology in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Rocky Foundations

As noted this speech is fictional. 15 Yet to most readers the speech is not surprising, repeating as it does ideas that are commonly heard. The speech certainly could have been made and represents a paraphrase or direct quote of actual statements intended to "make sense" of worlds that most persons know only through the accounts offered by specialists. The speech does not represent ideology as a totalizing, monolithic, closed, system as the term initially meant.

Rather it is a loosely constructed world-view or narrative created and communicated by knowledge specialists. It is a conception of the world or a form of consciousness involving problem definitions, explanations, justifications and directions for action with respect to security and control. But it shares with more comprehensive, coherent and logically consistent ideologies a limited number of basic (and often transparent) assumptions about the social world, certainty about its' truths, an intermingling of values and facts and an action program related to these.

As defined by Karl Mannheim, (1955) Bottoms' discourse shows elements of both ideology and utopia. The bottom, I mean Bottoms doctrine certainly serves the interests (however varied) of the more powerful and, as such, is one variant of a traditional particular ideology. Yet the speech also offers a utopian perspective—the love affair with futuristic technology promises to be transformative, fundamentally altering the meaning of the human and the social. As always reality is much richer than our efforts to corral it in, but with Sisyphus and Oscar Hammerstein you gotta have a dream.

Mannheim suggested that the free floating intellectual, divorced from traditional interest group social pressures, who independently analyzed belief systems could get closer to the truth than the autonomic believer. The beliefs of emotionally hooked activists are tied to their social location and interests and hence relative, partial and frequently disingenuous and distorted. Through a scientific unmasking, the more disinterested (but not necessarily less interesting) extrinsic social analyst, listening critically to all views and straining them through the lens of scholarly inquiry, could see the big picture beyond the fog of self-serving ideological stances. Such an analyst looks beyond left and right from below and above. Nice work if you can get it. The analysis of Bottoms' speech which follows seeks to be in that tradition. 16

I engage in two tasks of the traditional analysts of ideology –in a neutral fashion I report on the content and then critically analyze this (Seliger 1976, Thompson 1990). The speech above describes many of the central features of the contemporary security-control Weltanschauung. I now turn to turn to a critique based on empirical and normative issues. The emphasis here is on showing how some aspects of this world view are empirically wrong, logically inconsistent and morally questionable. This critique does not represent a total rejection of Bottom's speech which intermingles compelling values and social analysis with those which are highly dubious. Nor does it exhaust the fallacies in the speech. 17

I do not consider other important aspects such as the way the security program is communicated and diffuses, or its obvious links to inequality and dominance. Nor do I argue that this narrative stands apart from other ideological systems which invariably contain inconsistencies, deceptive facades, misleading statements, empirical errors and unsupported, as well as irrefutable claims, nor that meaning here is necessarily more dependent on context and the attributes of the believer than is the case for other world views. The dominant discourse is not necessarily richer in these than the belief systems of opponents (that is a task for systematic empirical research to assess). However consistent with Gramsci's (Forgacs 2000) observations, it is dominant and there is clearly differential access to the ability to create and propagate it. As such there is a case for analyzing it in more detail. 18

In listening to the rhetoric around information technology and contemporary opportunities and crises, I often heard things that, given my knowledge and values, sounded wrong, much as a musician hears notes that are off key. I identify a number of "information age techno-fallacies", sometimes these are frontal and direct, more often they are tacit—buried within seemingly common-sense and unremarkable assertions. 19 It is important to approach the commonplace in a critical fashion—for both those we agree and disagree with.

Approaching technology in this critical fashion follows in the broad tradition of Mumford (1934), Ellul (1964), Winner (1988), Postman (1992), Tenner (1996) and Scott (1998) and in the more focused work on topics such as computers, the environment, energy and crime (e.g., Wiener 1967, Weizenbaum 1976, Mander 1992, Hilgartner, Bell and O'Connor, Marx 1995, Grabosky 1996). While it is possible to identify fallacies (as well as truths) unique to particular information extractive tools (e.g., Corbett and Marx 1991) and privacy contexts, my emphasis here is on ideas applying across the surveillance field.

Beliefs may be fallacious in different ways. Some are empirically false or illogical. With appropriate evidence and argument, persons of good will holding diverse political perspectives and values may be able to see how they are fallacious, or in need of qualification.

Others ideas involve normative statements about what matters and is desirable. They reflect disagreements about values and value priorities. To label these a fallacy more clearly reflects the point of view of the labeler and goes beyond Mannheim's methodological neutrality. However normative positions are often informed by empirical assumptions (for example favoring a get tough approach because it is believed to be most effective). It is important to identify and evaluate the intermingling of fact and value and the quality of the facts (Rule 1978, Bell 1997). At a very general level there is often significant agreement on values. Disagreements are most likely to exist with respect to prioritizing and implementing the values and on the interpretation of the empirical evidence.

Below I discuss 38 statements in the speech which I find questionable, or worse. This discussion is illustrative and failure to comment on a given assertion in the speech should not be taken as evidence of concurrence, although there are certainly more than a few statements in the speech that I would support.

While there is some overlap, in Table 1 below I group the techno-fallacies into 5 broad categories:

  1. Fallacies of technological determinism and neutrality
  2. Fallacies of scientific and technical perfection
  3. Fallacies involving subjects
  4. Fallacies involving questionable legitimations
  5. Fallacies of logical and empirical analysis
Fallacies of Technological Determinism and Neutrality

These involve the failure to see the role played by humans in developing and applying technology and they reduce issues of cultural and political dispute into matters to be resolved by the application of technology.


This fallacy follows the advice from the Wizard of Oz in which after the dog Toto pulls away a curtain revealing an ordinary mortal, rather than an all-powerful wizard, a voice says, "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. The Great Oz has spoken." The fallacy assumes that people and social forces are irrelevant to technological wizardy.

The technology drives itself apart from human will and interests and follows an internal logic that must unfold. It's as if the technology resulted from an immaculate conception appearing out of the meshing of natural forces, transcending any social or cultural influences. Variation in outcomes and the role of values, design and choice are ignored in this fallacy of the inevitable. This unstoppable progressive (in both a technical and social sense) logic of presumed inherent development offers direction and hope. To paraphrase a traditional bumper sticker, "Relax, technology is in control." 20

Even many persons who are less welcoming have a fatalistic sense that there is no escape. The etching is on the silicon chip. This can result in a self-defeating prophecy in which believing that something undesirable can't be stopped, individuals take no action and by default can encourage it. In either case we see an insupportable belief in technological determinism which obviates any moral responsibility.

The development of surveillance technologies is hardly self-evident as Rocky claims. The statement "you can't stop progress" is equally silly, crying out for social and cultural analysis of the meanings of progress. Technology must be conceived of as a social, as well as a physical, process and as something integral, rather than external to the settings within which it emerges and is used.

There are no natural laws that require particular technical developments and applications, nor can a technology's characteristics fully capture its' social meanings and impacts (Pinch and Bijker 1984, Bijker et al 1987, Graham and Marvin 1986). Manning (1992) for example shows how police practices and local political traditions conditioned and limited (from a stand point of system designers) police use of information technology.

If surveillance technologies were developed to serve the interests of the poor, workers, children, consumers, or developing countries, would we see the same technologies as we do when the technologies and are developed and applied to serve the interests of the military, business, industry and the most developed societies?

The police leader who said, "if the technology is available, why not use it?" should first ask questions such as, "what are the likely consequences of using this technology, how does its' use compare to that of other technologies and to the consequences of doing nothing?" We live after all in a democracy, not a technocracy. the fact that a technological potential exists, or even a technology, can never be sufficient justification for it, nor can it tell us the way it will be used (e.g., the controversy around development of the hydrogen and other weapons).


George Orwell when asked, "isn't the technology neutral?" reportedly replied, "so is the jungle." Focusing on the elegance of the technology can prevent us from seeing the hidden hands and unequal social terrain often lurking in the background. The neutrality argument can mask power relations and draws attention away from social and ethical questions. This may complicate efforts at accountability, and in extreme cases make it easier to take inhumane actions. To paraphrase singer Tom Lehr's parody of Werner Von Braun regarding rockets, "where they go up and what they do when they come down depends on the technology, not me."

A technology can fail to be neutral in several ways. First as suggested above, inequality in power and resources play a role in determining what groups are best positioned to sponsor the development of new technologies. Regardless of who develops the technology, it is wrong to assume that in highly differentiated societies the benefits will be equally distributed. That is most likely in societies with a high degree of consensus and homogeneity where conflicts and divisions are minimal and where the agents and subjects of surveillance have the same goals.

In the neutrality fallacy, the political character of much surveillance is not recognized. If questions are merely technical and if the surveillance is neutral in its impact, then there is no need for discussion or negotiation and whatever the structural roots of the problem that is presumed to be addressed by the technology goes unresolved. In a related fashion Balzacq (2005) observes that a focus on the linguistic construction of securitization ignores the importance of context and the implications of power.

The neutrality perspective takes the goals and broader environment for granted. The task is to get the job done and not to ask, "is this the job that ought to be done?" An alternative, more critical approach asks about goals.

Homogeneity of interests is the case in some surveillance settings, e.g., those of "benign guardianship" (life guards at the beach, crossing guards, parents and infants). But major goals diverge in the case where there are conflicts of interest and differences in power.

But apart from conflict settings, access to the technologies is not equal. Granted that modern means of communication, starting with the printing press, tilt toward greater equality and participation in some ways. But the individual who can access the Internet as can large organizations is not therefore made equal to them. To the extent that access is restricted by proprietary codes or cost, the ease or difficulty of entering the code is irrelevant. 22

Furthermore while the cost, along with the skill required to use much of the technology has steadily lessened, 23 the skill required to understand and fix it has steadily increased, enhancing dependence on, and trust in, specialists.

Still another meaning of neutrality involves how the technology is applied –e.g., to all who meet some legitimate criteria, rather than on the basis of class, gender or skin color. One must heartily agree with Mr. Bottoms that the technology is indeed neutral in what it captures, just as a weapon can be neutral in the damage it can inflict, regardless of the characteristics of the target.

Yes, the technology will respond to whomever appropriately enters the command or pushes the buttons and can offer data on whomever is sensed or identified. Yet this egalitarian potential is undercut because the social contexts in which the technologies are applied are often far from neutral. The rich have little need to shoplift or to sleep behind malls, let alone under bridges. Nor are the "equal opportunity" monitoring tools such as video-cameras and phone and computer monitoring applied to workers, likely to be used for executives.

Granted that in principle a technology can be applied in a neutral or non-prejudicial manner, it needn't be. Those behind the curtain are protected from the ordinary reciprocity found with face-to-face interaction. Consider the finding of Norris and Armstrong (1999) that monitors of surveillance cameras may inappropriately focus on young females and minorities.

Just because there is a distancing between the surveillance, the action delivered by some automatic process and the human agents or interests creating, applying and benefiting from it, this does not mean that the technology has equal impacts across society or that moral responsibility has been eliminated.


It is important not to automatically defer to numbers without asking what is involved in the process of deciding what will be measured, how it will be measured, and who will measure it. Results reflect decisions about who to watch or test, as well as the competence of the surveillers. Measurement and interpretation have strong social components and are hardly of divine birth, although I would not go as far as a Congressman who said about a witness whose testimony he didn't like, "well, I guess everybody is entitled to his own statistics". The Congressmen might however agree with Sorokin (1965) who wrote derisively of "quantoprhenia and numerology".

The seeming objectivity of numbers should not blind us to the fact that they reflect choices (for example, which test will be used for drug testing, what drugs will be tested for, where will the threshold levels be set and how will results be used?) Even when measures are valid, the tilt toward numerical measurement may mean giving lower priority to values that are hard to assess with numbers. 24

There is a danger of being captive of one's method. Consider the story about a drunk who lost his wallet in the middle of a dark street, but was looking for it on the corner where there was a street light. When a friend asked him why he was looking there he said, "because the light is better." While precision may generally be preferred to imprecision, our sense of "reality" and the grounds for decision-making should not be equated with, or reduced to what can be most easily and reliably accessed and measured. 25

A related problem is that in emphasizing numerical measures the quantity may indeed increase but at a cost to the quality and there may be a shift in goals. In a finding well known to organizational researchers, the emphasis may be placed on what is measured, rather than the broader goal the latter is presumed to indicate.


Data are not knowledge. Seeing should not automatically be equated with believing. The facts do not speak for themselves. They are inert artifacts. We need always to look for the ventriloquist in the wings. Surveillance facts are socially defined and interpreted. Any human knowledge, no matter how powerful and useful and if based on multiple means, is always abstracted out and partial. It is only a fraction of what might be attended to and it might be intended to deceive. Whitehead noted that, "there is a danger in clarity, the danger of overlooking the subtleties of truth." We need, as he also suggested, to seek simplicity but to meet it with skepticism.

Alternative information or a fuller picture could suggest a different meaning. To adequately interpret, we need a context and a broad view. In automatically applying acontextual data to human beings, as some surveillance practices do, there are risks of error and injustice in particular cases, even if in the aggregate the approach is rational. There can be a conflict here between broadly serving the commonweal and justice in individual cases. 26

It is necessary to ask how the measurement was created and how it is interpreted. The discretionary elements in the setting of standards for alcohol and drug testing offer a good example. The red light cameras for traffic control offer an interesting example. The number of red light runners apprehended is partly a function of how the equipment is set. Once the stop light has turned red the grace period (before a traffic citation is issued) can be set at varying speeds –e.g., one second, three seconds etc. The shorter the duration, the greater the number of apprehended "violators". The "facts" as represented here by the number of violations are thus a function of how the tactic is calibrated. 27


This can be inferred from the Supreme Court case of Katz v. United States which regulates privacy according to the standard of a reasonable expectation of privacy. Reasonable has two meanings –first what society is prepared to tolerate and second what the technology is capable of. In the latter case, some court decisions imply a steady whittling away of privacy rights as the technology becomes ever more powerful. Absent protective actions taken by the subject of surveillance, a reasonable person should not expect privacy, given what the technology can do. The more important standard is clearly what society deems to be reasonable, not reasonable as meaning can it be done. We need to separate what we expect could be done given the capability of the technology, from what we expect should be done given ethical standards.

Fallacies of Scientific and Technical Perfection

Here we see an overly optimistic, even utopian faith in the efficacy of technology and its ability to solve problems without simultaneously creating new ones.


In complex environments rich in uncertainty, machines and those who run them are of course fallible. As the work of Perrow (1984) on Three Mile Island, Vaughan (1996) on the Challenger disaster and Tenner (1996) on a broad range of technologies suggests, mistakes and unintended consequences are adherent and inherent. A friendly skepticism also needs to be applied to less tightly connected systems for assessing and managing individuals.

Claims such as, "but the computer says" or "it's in the computer" are offered as equivalent to a law of nature. Even if it is "in" the computer that does not guarantee its accuracy, nor appropriateness. Human agents have set the rules for collecting, entering and analyzing it.

What may be very effective in a controlled laboratory setting may fail in the messiness of the real world. Consider some of the problems initially found with the use of electronic location monitoring devices in which mylar in the walls gave false readings. Even where the measure is in principle valid and reliable, (unlike the least expensive drug test or the polygraph), it may be incompetently applied or neutralized.

7. THE FALLACY OF THE SURE-SHOT Here we see a loose canon related to the fact that loose cannons may over shoot the target. This fallacy assumes that surveillance obtains its goal with laser-like precision and no impact on adjacent or unintended targets and broader surroundings. But in a complex world where much can go wrong, there are often second-order effects. There is also displacement. As research on video surveillance and crime suggests, a problem may simply be moved as security increases in one place, but decreases in another. With respect to such displacement a prosecutor noted, "the bad pennies never get lost, they just move from one pocket to another."


Given the limits of technology (e.g., facts that don't speak for themselves, a reactive environment, machine errors) there are obvious limitations in delegating decision-making authority to a machine, absent human review. As William James (1950) argued "the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." Discretion which is central to wise actions can be severely limited by the automatic quality of the machine. Computer programs for example are "acontextual" and are not yet able to deal with much of reality's interpretive richness the way a human can. This is particularly the situation for atypical cases and extenuating circumstances. The nightmare version of this is a war automatically generated in response to faulty data from sensors. Elephants, as well as soldiers, step on land mines.


This is an error in logic and definition. The solution chosen for a problem (if there is one) reflects assumptions and choices. Thus with respect to surveillance issues, drug education or decriminalization are alternatives to drug testing. Paying workers well and treating them with dignity will likely mean less need for intensive monitoring. The turn to a technology for surveillance should be based on analysis and a weighing of alternatives, rather than being the default position. For example, in intersections plagued by accidents from red light running, the first step should be to analyze the broader causes and to see if altering road conditions can make a difference, before turning to cameras.

Rarely will complex problems existing within contexts of human liberty, conflict and creativity yield best (or only) to simple technical solutions, let alone explanations. A related fallacy is that of the reductionist single cause or solution. 28 There are usually a multiplicity of causes at different levels. The same problem may have different causes, or at least show varied interaction among causes. There is also the fallacy of focusing on the wrong cause. In addition some problems may not be solvable, the cost of solving them may be too great, or for political reasons are not faced.

Even when all goes according to plan, should the technology malfunction (and given enough time or cases and complexity sometimes it will), the problem re-appears. A society that can only maintain civil behavior by technical means is a society in trouble.

A related fallacy is that "technical problems must have technical solutions." Thus a common response to problems created by Caller-Id (e.g., revealing unlisted numbers) or by eavesdropping devices is to come up with a counter technology that blocks or distorts. But such problems could also be responded to by regulating, prohibiting or limiting the technology and by education and manners. 29 This connects to the failure to see the larger picture noted in fallacies in the final section below.


Of course this is nonsense—there are no free meals and your teeth may hurt when the Novocain wears off. Collateral costs may be conveniently ignored or unseen, especially if they involve less powerful groups and future costs.

When dealing with competing wrongs, the less onerous is certainly to be preferred, but the choice is not a happy one. In addition any format or structure both channels and excludes. There are always trade-offs. In gaining one advantage we may lose another (e.g., breadth vs. depth, validity vs. low cost). 30

If nothing else (and in a highly interdependent world with imperfect knowledge, there almost always is something else), a given use of resources involves foregone opportunity costs. It is important to ask where the resources might go if the means are not used. For example in the case of expensive screening for currently incurable diseases, the resources might instead be used to seek cures. Even where the case for using an intrusive technology is strong, we need to ask about the creation of unwanted precedents for other less justifiable uses (fallacy 12).


Albert Einstein observed, "perfection of means and confusion over ends seems to characterize our age." To a person with a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail. Where there is a way there is often a will. 31 A major critique of industrial society is that means too often determine ends (a related form involves the ritualistic danger of the means becoming the end).

It is vital for civilization (if not always for self or organizational interests), that public policy starts with goals and ask what do we want to accomplish, instead of starting with a tool and asking how can we apply it. Problems should drive solutions rather than the reverse.

Goals may also change as a result of means. Thus the installation of red light cameras may initially be for the obvious purpose, but once installed the city may come to rely on the income and be more concerned with obtaining the fines than with stopping red light running. In a related example, some police departments have found that computers can greatly aide in the collection of revenue from parking violations. This is relatively clean work and it creates impressive success statistics and revenue. In some jurisdictions traffic enforcement has expanded at the expense of more traditional police goals without discussion of goal changes.

In considering means-ends connections, we must also attend to issues of proportionality and appropriateness found with the misbegotten cracking a nut with a sledge hammer.


We now know that today's solutions often become (or contribute to) tomorrow's problems. Contrary to Dr. Frankenstein's experience, this fallacy involves the belief that we can control the technology rather than the reverse. 32 The utopian imaginations of advocates need to be balanced by the dystopian imaginations of social critics and science fiction writers envisioning what might go wrong.

An aspect of this is failing to ask what kind of a precedent the adoption of the technology may create and what it opens the door to. A questionable means applied on behalf of an urgent goal is sometimes justified by the argument that, "we can control it and will just apply it in this one narrow area". But given power differentials, there is a tendency towards surveillance creep, as a once restricted tactic spreads to new uses, users and targets. 33

Fallacies Involving Subjects

Here we see questionable views regarding people as objects to be controlled rather than as citizens to be treated with dignity. A symbolic message of objectification and manipulation of the human is communicated.


The belief that the greater the anxiety generated over discovery, apprehension and sanctioning for normative violations, the better the behavior, gained great force from 19th century positivist theories of law and the presumed link between rationality and conformity. This is related to the several other "more" fallacies noted below.

Certainly in many settings accountability increases proportionally with visibility. But no such simple statement can be adequate for all complex human situations. In spite of surveillance developments, it is often impractical to watch everyone all the time. An efficiency measure inherent to Bentham's Panopticon was the creation of the belief that one stood a chance of being seen, even if this often would not be the case. Given the uncertainty, the rational person is presumed not to want to take the chance that the video camera is a fake, that (for a sales clerk) a difficult customer isn't a secret shopper or that a random search or drug test won't be carried out.

The get-tough-take-no-prisoners justification is an important part of contemporary political rhetoric. But taken to an extreme it is morally and empirically bankrupt in civil society. Things are usually much more complex than that and democratic principles require respect for the individual. This view may have negative consequences for the surveillers, as well as for those they watch.

Other factors being equal, good behavior is more likely to occur when individuals have participated in setting the standards, understand the reasons for them and feel respected by an organization. Adults are likely to resent being treated as children or as prisoners. Folk wisdom claims that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. When climates of fear and suspicion are created, innovation will be less likely and divisions between controllers and controlled will be deepened.

Even holding apart issues of effectiveness, means have a moral quality as well as ends. Policies to effect behavior out of fear, coercion (whether technical or social) and threat of punishment while certainly needed, need not be unleashed. The head of a very large private security agency observes, "...the best protection an employer can buy is not high-tech alarms or key card systems. It's employee trust and loyalty that will keep people from stealing or motivate them to turn in a colleague who is." 34


Here we have the erroneous assumption that environments, especially those where there are conflicts of interest, are passive rather than reactive. But that isn't the case. Innovations in surveillance must be seen as variables in dynamic situations. There is a Social Heisenburg principle. This may be particularly noticeable over time, as the effectiveness of a solution lessens. New controls create new challenges and opportunities. Every lock has a key. There is no solution which one group of smart people can create in which another group can not find a way around. If this is not done through technical means (as with widespread public knowledge of how to confound drug testing), then it may be done through compromising or corrupting surveillance agents. In Marx (2003a) I identify eleven behavioral techniques of neutralization intended to subvert the collection of personal information.


These are difficult concepts to assess. There are cognitive limits on what the individual can know and various factors limit the amount of freedom in a "free" or willing choice. An example of this fallacy is the claim of a phone company official during the Caller-Id controversy. He said, "if you don't want your phone number revealed you can always choose not to make the call". But that is almost like saying if you breath polluted air or drink contaminated water you consent to these. The conditions of modern life are often such that one can hardly avoid choosing actions that are subject to surveillance. (Marx 2006) While the surveillance may be justified on other grounds, but it is disingenuous to call it a free and informed choice.


Those in the data warehouse business often show inconsistent, if maximally self-serving attitudes towards property. On the one hand in the collection phase, personal data is treated as a free good like air which is given away. Yet once it is harvested, combined with other data and sorted, it becomes private property to be used as the possessor wishes, even including selling it back to those it pertains to (e.g., credit reports).

The personal information as property questions are complicated. One issue is initial access vs. subsequent use. 35 For example, if I intercept your radio transmissions or take your picture in public I am within in my rights in gathering what you "freely" offer. Yet if I sell these without your permission, I can be sued and the law may have been violated. Why should it be any different when selling other kinds of personal information? The law and policies recognize types of personal information and we may be moving toward greater property protection for personal information. (Rule and Hunter 1996)

However applied too broadly, the property-possession analogy fails at several points. Simply because one may easily intercept personal data, that does not mean that it is appropriate to use the information. There are parallels to strictures about not starring or averting one's eyes to avoid embarrassing another person. Legal and professional codes protecting confidentiality limit what can be done with personal data. Conversely, there are conditions under which individuals are expected not to sell (or even give away) personal information or body material.

Personal information has a special quality, something that under some conditions seems almost sacred and inviolate. It is not the same as raw materials or office furniture. Europe, in its' concern to protect the dignity of the person as broadly defined, has recognized this to a greater extent than has the United States (Drahos 2002).

Even where a property image is appropriate, there is likely need for a safety net or equity principle guaranteeing a minimum threshold of privacy for all, regardless of what the technology is capable of and the financial situation that propels some individuals to give up control over personal information. There must be limits on the extent to which privacy is treated simply as a commodity, whether for those able to pay for more or those driven to sell what they have.

An individual's private property is linked to aspects of free choice. Current proposals to create privacy platforms for internet use in which individuals specify their preferred privacy level acknowledge this. Yet even when an individual chooses to provide personal information, that may not be sufficient justification. The law and manners limit what we can voluntarily reveal. Note restrictions on public nudity and noise, restraining orders and confidentiality protections. There are little noticed privacy thresholds which individuals are expected not to go beyond. These are equivalent to other free choice limitations, e.g., against selling your kidneys or your self into slavery or prostitution.

It is also is a mistake to only apply preference and marketing criteria. For example during the Caller-Id conflict, marketing research found that West Coast customers in the United States were more concerned with privacy protection than were those elsewhere. As a result they were offered ways to block Caller-Id not available elsewhere. When matters of principle are involved, marketing research ought not to dictate policy.


This is a classic smear tactic which permits shifting the debate away from the tactic to the presumed beliefs and motives of the critic, with the implication that he or she is soft on some problem like drugs, dishonest or unproductive workers or national security. 36 The critic's concern with the moral status of means or giving higher priority to other values are not acknowledged.

This may also represent a failure to communicate in which the parties are talking past each other at different levels of abstraction or time perspectives. A theme throughout this material is that Advocates tend to be more concrete and focused on the problem they see and the technical solution, while critics are more likely to raise broader issues.

As both a strategic and humane matter, critics must be aware and acknowledge the often deeply felt concerns that motivate surveillance crusaders. Sometimes it is possible to suggest alternative means, or if not, to acknowledge the significance of a problem, while arguing that the proposed cure may be worse than the illness.


A misplaced war imagery with its rhetoric of subjects as enemies and permanent victory dominates many contexts of domestic surveillance. Yet most of those subject to domestic surveillance are not enemies in a war. They are citizens, employees, customers and children with rights and expectations of respectful treatment. This fallacy denies legitimate conflicts of interest.

In addition, human inventiveness in a free market economy with civil liberties protections, legitimate value conflicts and changing contexts, means that the interaction is ongoing, rather than ending with a clear victor. The symbolism associated with war imagery involves a lessening of inhibitions on means-ends relationships and can result in a demonization of those with opposing views. Even in external wars there are new questions about whether these can be finally won, rather than managed.


In noting how social borders and restrictions on information collection may indeed make the job of government more difficult, Bottoms fails to acknowledge that that is exactly the point and a central facet of modern democracy and limited government. We inhibit government and other organizations and persons to protect liberty and because we are suspicious of unrestrained power. That government is so deeply involved in an ever increasing number of areas of individual choice traditionally considered private –whether the family, leisure or commerce must give us pause, even as we recognize the increased interdependence and complexity of modern society and the need for new forms of accountable regulation. Bottoms would be well served by rereading De Tocqueville and Lipset on pluralism.


This can involve deceiving subjects and the broader public with respect to the reasons given for use of a tactic. The fallacy is to assume that the technology is applied only for the manifest rather than for unstated reasons, that what you see is what you get and "we know where we are going." Yet policies may reflect efforts at symbolic communication and internal organizational conflicts beyond their stated goals. For example, drug testing or the questions asked in a job interview, may have as their goal enforcing a particular morality unrelated to job performance per se. Video surveillance ostensibly undertaken to counter theft may be a cover for gathering information during a unionization drive. 37

We must also ask whose agenda? With the blurring of the lines between the public and the private ostensibly public goals may be undercut by commercial goals. Thus in delegating enforcement of red light violations to private contractors, cities such as San Diego and Washington D.C. run the risk of confounding the ostensible goal of public safety and justice with the business' goal of profit maximization. The city, while talking about traffic rules, may have as a more basic goal maximizing revenue. The mixing or obfuscation of goals with such delegation can also insulate and distance government from accountability.

Fallacies Involving Questionable Legitimations

The next fallacies involve dubious justifications and more directly reflect ethical assumptions than the other fallacies. The problem is not so much with the value itself, but the lack of nuance –it is too literally expressed and its fails to acknowledge or weigh competing values and contexts. In calling these fallacies I am speaking here as a citizen, more than as a social scientist. These may not appear as fallacies to those holding other values.


Certainly we must start with the law, but not stop with it. The fact that a practice is legal, does not mean that it is wise or just, or will not become illegal. In many cases new tactics are initially permitted by default because problems have not yet been realized or acted upon. There is often a lag. Thus before the 1986 Communications Privacy Act it was legal to intercept computer communications and before the 1988 Video Privacy Protection act it was legal to sell video rental records. In many states, as long as one party agrees, it is still legal to secretly videotape or audiotape others. In other cases there is public perception of the need for legislation, but a powerful lobby is able to prevent it (e.g., an industry coalition against a work monitoring bill that would guarantee workers the minimal right to be informed of monitoring). Judged in a broad moral and social context, law offers us a minimum standard. It is also necessary to consider the spirit as well as the letter of the law.


Certainly given a concern for justice, scarce resources, a scientific ethos and common sense, we must ask, "does it work?" (holding apart the issues around defining and measuring effectiveness). But an affirmative answer shouldn't lead to the automatic unleashing of the technology, absente consideration of other values, in particular those that are difficult to measure, or that transcend the moment.

More than instrumentality must be considered. Our culture attaches morality to means, as well as ends. Of course if you "hang them all" you will certainly get the guilty. Yet there is more to collective life than pragmatism and attention to collateral consequences and a sense of proportion are required.

Applying a technology is a form of communication. Technologies convey social and historical meanings. They make a statement about values and how individuals are viewed. Their symbolic meaning also needs to be considered. For example, police dogs can be an efficient crowd control device. Yet if you were the police chief in Birmingham, Alabama, (where citizens hold vivid television memories of police dogs attacking civil rights demonstrators) would you use dogs for crowd control? 38 Fingerprinting is a relatively reliable method. 39 Yet because of its historical association with criminals, it has a symbolic meaning that is independent of its usefulness and appropriateness in particular contexts (Murray, 2000).


A bad precedent is hardly justification for further bad behavior. 40 Folk morality suggests that two wrongs do not make a right. The fallacy of the lowest common denominator morality assumes that if your side doesn't use the technology your opponents will, thus giving them an advantage. This rational is often heard in justifying intrusive work monitoring, given the practices of competitors in a global economy. This sounds plausible until one learns that neither Japan, nor Europe, make as extensive use of new surveillance practices as does the U.S.

As noted earlier symbolic meanings can be important. Taking the moral high ground can be its own reward. A positive reputation and treating subjects with respect and dignity can be a powerful competitive resource as well.


This ignores a major social function of privacy and that means, as well as ends, have a moral component. We value privacy not because we wish to protect wrong doing, but because the control of personal information is central to our sense of self and autonomy. The ability to control informational boundaries is also necessary for autonomous groups within civil society.

This dubious justification could be subsumed under a broader fallacy of generalizing from one's personal situation to all of society. That Rocky Bottoms may not care who knows what kind of cat food he buys is not sufficient grounds for a general public policy. The "I don't care who knows" statement is one frequently encountered by researchers in this area. Certainly within limits, the norms around privacy (in contrast to those around secrecy) permit an individual to reveal information. But that hardly justifies a public policy of mandatory revelation.

A person taking AIDS medication may care a great deal about having that known. But even in the cat food example, the speaker does not realize that there may be good reasons for protecting non-stigmatizing or non-discrediting information. Here he ignores the power of aggregating bits of data into a mosaic which is greater than the sum of the individual pieces. He fails to see the potential loss of consumer and other forms of autonomy, and how the ability to be manipulated or face wrongful discrimination may increase when there are no restraints on the collection of personal information.

Borders have functions, as well as dysfunctions and both must be acknowledged. Rocky notes only the negative side of compartmentalizing personal information. While any given strand of behavior or identity may be innocuous, the collage from combining many strands brings a qualitative change. The ability to be unnoticed, or rather noticed when one wills it, is an important element of liberty. It creates vital space for both social maneuvering and solitude.


The problem of delegating decisions to unseen technical experts is a central concern in critical analyses of technology. 41 It serves to depoliticize issues which should be discussed and negotiated. The secrecy prerogatives of experts can also be a mask for bad behavior and mistakes.

There is a tension between professionalization and specialization with the implicit maternalistic and paternalistic message, "trust us, it's for your own good" and democracy, citizen initiative and self-help and breadth of perspective. As Edward Shils, observes, "a society ruled by experts, specialized in their own fields and ignorant and indifferent to the rest, would be a poor way to continue as a free society." (1956 P.156)

This justification overlaps the absolute faith in technology fallacies above. There is a revealing line in the film "Sleepless in Seattle" in which after changing data in a computer, a hacker asks her friend, "will they believe it?" and the friend replies, "if its in the computer they'll believe anything." Given the issues noted above, the aura of legitimacy that may automatically be granted technical answers is troubling.

A key question is which experts? As numerous controversies make clear (e.g., over nuclear power, the ozone layer) scientists often disagree. Even if scientific experts can agree about causes and consequences, there is usually a large leap to normative questions about what should or should not be done. One standard must be would the expert unreservedly submit to the surveillance practice in question?


However attractive, the tendency toward softer means can be beguiling. It is hard to say "no" if you are unaware of what is going on. Just because personal data can be collected relatively silently and non-invasively, does not justify it, apart from the goals. Judge Brandeis noted that vigilance was most needed when purposes were benign. The same might be said for the softer means. Their very soft, non-problematic nature may take attention away from other aspects. 42


The modern tendency to exalt in the new for its own sake must be carefully analyzed. Stressing that something is new may be good for marketing, but it is not necessarily good for public policy. New technologies with invasive potential must be subject to a broad range of empirical and ethical questions and not unreflectively accepted as good simply because they are novel. Traditional means rooted in social conditions and having developed out of trial and error, may reflect more than simply power, whether of elites or of the past (Shils 1982).

This fallacy of novelty is related to a "fallacy of intuitive appeal or surface plausibility". In believing that, "it sure seems as if it would work", commonsense and a dash of wish-fulfillment can lead to a failure to seek evidence that the technology actually works, doesn't involve undesirable side-effects, or is better than what it replaces.

Since many problems endure or re-appear there is a constant search for better ways and a hope that "maybe this will work." Here we often see a "vanguard (or osmosis) fallacy" which assumes that, "if the big guys are doing it, it must be good." The symbolism of wanting to appear up-to-date and of making progress through technology can be an important force, independent of the actual performance of the means. Innovations often move from the major to minor players. Smaller or less prestigious organizations may follow along in an effort to appear modern.

Yet many surveillance innovations have a fad-like quality involving broad media attention, quick, widespread adoption, diversification of the product and then a rapid decline in use as limitations are realized. 43 The initial enthusiasm is encouraged by a "fallacy of ignoring the past." Contemporary receptiveness to surveillance innovations needs to be located within a broader framework of fads and fashions and cycles of reform. 44

There is a strain toward consistency in ideologies, yet they also almost always contain contradictory elements. In the next two fallacies we see Bottoms advancing his cause by arguing that in some ways new means are like the old, or that because privacy rights are new, they can't be very important.


Mr. Bottoms draws on newness as way of drumming up enthusiasm for the techniques. Yet later, as a way of legitimating the techniques, he also argues that there is nothing really new here and that each of the tactics has an accepted traditional counterpart. This is convenient, since, if that is the case, or if changes are merely incremental, then there is no need for additional law or policy to permit, or restrict use of the tactic. Conceptually and practically there is an enormous amount that is new and needs to be controlled. In Marx (2004) twenty-seven dimensions are identified by which new and traditional surveillance can be contrasted.


It is correct that privacy as we know it in democratic mass society is a historically recent phenomena, not experienced, or perhaps even valued in many forms, by much of the world's population, or for most of human history. But what does that imply? Our assessments of good and bad ought not to be exclusively defined by individual preferences, majority rule, experts or unquestioned reverence for standards applicable to other time periods and societies. Standards such as those in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights offer a useful corrective to the undue glorification of local historical traditions.

Fallacies of Logical or Empirical Analysis

Of course all of the preceding beliefs involve empirical and logical assumptions, but the fallacies for those below seem particularly important.


This is a common failing of those in the persuasion business, as well as social scientists who should know better. Given dynamic conflict settings and the large number of variables, it is often difficult to say with the certainty that tactics work as well as advocates claim, nor that they fail as badly as critics claim. Even when the desired outcome is present, inferences of causality are often difficult to draw. A story is told about a young man who each evening played the flugelhorn in the town square illustrates this. He refused the tips that he was offered. When asked why he came each night to play he responded, "to keep the elephants away." He was told, "there are no elephants here." To which he replied, "you see." While not reflecting a politicized or self-interested perspective, this illustrates one of the he perennial problems of proving cause and effect.


This is a common fallacy regardless of attitudes towards control technologies and reflects a broader romanticized nostalgia for a time that never was. Rural areas and small towns may by default have offered some privacy from direct observation as a result of lower density. But the small size of the community was often associated with intense curiosity about neighbors, gossiping and intolerance of non-conformity. There was far less formal protection of personal information, whether in the family, at work, in the marketplace or from government.


This is illustrated by a cartoon which shows a seated man with a knife stuck in his back. A doctor leaning over him says, "this will have to come out, but of course it doesn't address the deeper problem." And so it is with many quick-fix technical solutions to organizational problems. Technical solutions to social problems are sometimes no more than Band-Aids on a hemorrhaging wound. 45

The emphasis may be on the wrong problem as a result of bad analysis or political factors. Technical solutions are often sold as cleaner, quicker and less expensive—as something that can be done—relative to the messy business of dealing with people and trying to understand the complex cultural and organizational reasons for many problems. It may be the case that, "if you can't fix the real problem, fix whatever the technology permits you to fix." In such cases Thoreau's observation in Walden holds:

but lo! Men have become the tools of their tools.
Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys
which distract our attention from serious things.
Attention to deeper causes and bigger pictures (with the implication that broad changes in a system may be required) do not play very well in the short run with a focus on the bottom line.

Such analysis might even lead to the pessimistic conclusion that there are no realistic solutions, or none that do not bring other problems. To be sure, symptoms must often be treated as well as broader causes (if a bathtub is overflowing one does need to mop the floor, as well as turn off the faucet). Yet too often the turn to a surveillance technology only deals superficially with the issues. Like an investigating committee, it can convey concern and give the illusion of action. An aspect of this is a shortened time frame.


A focus on success in the present may mean a failure to consider longer range negative consequences, including undesirable precedents and creeping encroachment upon liberty. Initial successes may not be repeated for a variety of reasons (favorable expectations, provision of the best resources and lack of time to develop means of beating the system). There may be an initial immunization effect which over time wears off.

There is a story about a farmer who was having a hard time making ends meet. Someone advised him to feed his animals less, so he cut down their feed by 25%. It worked—he saved a lot of money. He then said "hey, this is great, I'm going to cut their feed in half" and he saved even more money. And of course he kept on reducing their feed and you know what happened. 46


It may be exciting to skate on thin ice, but it's a dumb thing to do. A standard response to critics of technology who point out possible negative consequences is, "that has never happened and is unlikely to". Yet foresight remains better than hindsight. It is unwise to wait until the damn breaks to decide to re-enforce or move it. There was a time when the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island and the large Exxon oil spill in Alaska had not happened as well. It is not enough to show that a tactic has thus far been without disastrous consequences. In considering risks and worse-case scenarios we must ask about the probability and cost of catastrophic failures and possible responses. In a factor related to the quantitative-qualitative distinction scale can matter here.Thus for one person to skate on thin ice may often be relatively safe, but not for 100 persons. 47


This overlaps the notion of free choice and implies that consumption "needs' or perceptions of an appropriate level of security, rise up spontaneously within the individual, rather than being generated by entrepreneurs. Of course there is always a mixture, but advocates seek to soften the harsher edges of manipulation by claiming that they are simply giving the public what it wants. Here they deny the role played by propaganda and marketing strategies.


This is the American inspired ideal that bigger is better, it might be termed a techno-phallicsy as well. With respect to opening up the coffers and ratcheting up the technology, there are issues of the appropriateness of the technology, proportionality, threshold and time frame. There's nothing inherently good or bad about the increased power of a technology. Our judgements must flow from analysis, not from the ability to increase the dosage.

As Simmel (Coser 1964) ) noted long ago, in situations of conflict more may simply result in escalation, as opponents turn to equivalent means and discover ways of neutralization.

Ironically with more power, the possibility for doing both more good and more bad may increase in tandem. There also are factors that pull in opposite directions—thus speed is an obvious advantage, especially for prevention or apprehension. Yet with speed there is less time for considering later developments and the careful deliberation that can be essential for wise decision-making. With the emphasis on speed there is also a tilt toward the kind of data that can be immediately gathered and processed, which may not be the kind of data that is most important.

With respect to linearity, as with medicine, there will usually be a point where increases in dosage do not have equivalent therapeutic effects (e.g., some aspirin will help, but if you take the entire bottle you may die). This aspect is central to the next fallacy.


A children's poster shows 11 hippos stacked pyramid style in a canoe and a 12th jumping down onto it with the implication that the boat would capsize. It is captioned "more is not always better". This issue is treated at length in the chapter on social dynamics where issues of converting data to knowledge, data overkill, information glut and drowning in the data are considered.

Of course the enlightenment heritage of asking questions and valuing knowledge is fundamental, but that doesn't mean that all forms of knowledge must always be widely shared, or that all knowledge is good. Maximizing and full sharing of knowledge can have negative consequences in some contexts (e.g. certain forms of diplomacy or political decision making, strategic endeavors, manners). There are times when it is morally, strategically and practically better not to know and there are times when "its none of your business". 48 There are also times when, since nothing can be done about it, resources might be better used elsewhere.


To varying degrees, all of the fallacies reflect a broad unquestioned faith in the efficacy of science and technology and the denial of tradeoffs. A central policy message is understanding that data and technique do not automatically translate into knowledge and wisdom.

One Person's Fallacies Can Be Another's Truths

An academic analyst should offer data, methods, concepts and theories. Having done this, the analyst may also wish to give advice, particularly for topics of social import. In the broader work from which this is article is drawn, I offer facts and ways that these can be organized and thought about. But here I go beyond that in the hope of offering wisdom. A necessary condition of wisdom is identifying and evaluating the web of tacit assumptions that are so intertwined with opinion and action. In this limited space my goal is illustrative. I seek to call attention to claims that too often go unanalyzed and to argue for comprehensive "true fictional accounts" as a way of doing this. My major point in this article is not to argue in depth against the statements I view as techno-fallacies. 49 I do however strongly argue for the importance of undertaking a critical examination of the assumptions that are made about any new, (or old for that matter), surveillance practice.

The techno-fallacies in Table 1 differ in seriousness and I don't claim that any one person or group holds them all. But they are often present. These represent techno-fallacies of the technophile favoring maximal security and control, who fails to appreciate the virtues of civil society and traditional borders and the limits on human rationality and control, let alone human perfectibility.

By adding "never" or otherwise reversing many of the statements, we have some mirror image fallacies of the techno-phobic (e.g., the fallacy that technical solutions are never to be preferred). There are also fallacies shared by both, for example too cleanly separating the human and the machine. 50

Of course Karl Mannheim not withstanding, I label the beliefs as fallacies from a particular social location with associated interests and values which are not equally shared by those who want to unleash the technology. The latter could offer a fallacy list surfacing the tacit assumptions of their academic and social movement critics—and I hope they do. 51

Such analysis can introduce humility in the face of complex, interdependent problems and can enhance our ability to separate questions of value from those of fact. The presence of values is nothing to run from. Indeed the failure to acknowledge values and to coat them in the camouflage of pseudo-scientific necessity, certainty and precision is at the heart of many problems.

It is important to not view technologies for extracting personal information as givens that are an automatic reflection of the natural world. As with the Wizard of Oz, the social hand behind the curtain and the levers of the machine needs to be scoped out. Above all technical mastery, or even knowledge, must never be equated with wisdom.

Contrary to the fears of Rocky Bottoms in his opening speech, these techno-fallacies are not offered in a spirit of prohibiting new technology. But they are offered in a spirit of sensitizing conservatism, which asks us to pause in the face of any proposed change and ask the kinds of questions raised here.

We also need to ask by what rules a claimant is playing. The world view of those who start with advocacy rather than analysis is by definition self-serving. The rhetorical devices expected here differ from those of the academic analyst who must start with questions not answers, or at least question the claims of the claimants. The scholar of course serves his or her interests in the pursuit of truth. But truth claims are of a different order. The scholar must also strive for consistency, something less likely to be found with advocates. Beyond greater looseness with the empirical claims, the latter tend to be less consistent, opportunistically matching their rhetoric to whatever the situation calls for.

Thomas Edison suggests, "that which the hand of man can create, the head of man can control." Franz Kafka, in his short story The Penal Colony, expresses a more pessimistic view. In that story a correctional officer and his superior develop a complicated new machine capable of inflicting horrible, carefully calculated punishment on inmates. In the end, the officer who was so proud of the new technology, is horrifically consumed by it. I don't suggest that in the near future anything like that will happen with respect to contemporary surveillance. But it is clear that innovations which are not carefully thought out and offered honestly and modestly run the risk of doing great damage.


Back to Main Page  |  Top  |  Notes


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Back to Main Page  |  Top  |  References


  1. Marx, forthcoming a. Articles on other cultural aspects, social processes, ethics, types are also at

  2. Of course within the broader culture, if not necessarily within the cheering squads of the surveillance professions, there is deep ambivalence and a counter to this view in the fear and suspicion of technology. The story of Dr. Frankenstein is one example. An anti-surveillance cultural analysis is also appropriate and much of this is seen in the work of artists, cartoonists, novelists, film makers and university based social scientists. This contrasts with themes in radio talk shows, advertisements, industry sponsored think tanks and some political rhetoric.

  3. Organizational borders are rarely hermetically sealed, nor cleanly differentiated. In considering undercover police work in the 1980s (Marx 1987a) I noted 5 forms of the interweaving of public and private police joint public/private investigations; public agents hiring or delegating authority to private police; private interests hiring public police; new organizational forms in which the distinction between public and private is blurred and the circulation of personnel between the public and private sector. Although these five forms are described using examples of undercover investigations, they represent more generic forms of interdependence. The broad trends of privatization can be seen in many other public sector areas beyond policing such as in the military, prisons and education.

  4. Some recent exceptions Norris and Armstrong (1999), Goold 2004, Gilliom 2001, McCahill 2002, Newburn and Hayman 2002, Tunnell 2004, Gould 2004. A review of the last four is in Marx 2005.

  5. An earlier version is at This is the "Is there anything really new?" question. The answer is of course both yes and no depending on the aspect considered, the level of abstraction, and the context. When we go beyond a simplistic yes/no approach and specify multiple dimensions of possible change, a richer and empirically more accurate view is possible. On balance the emergence of such technologies suggests a profound, if uneven, change, although more in the area of means than goals.

  6. We need to balance the popular saying, "seeing is believing" with "believing is seeing". Note a 1960s protest message –"if I hadn't believed it, I never would have seen it." This connects to the brief consideration of Karl Mannheim in the last section of this paper.

  7. This is richly illustrated in the circulation of data between commercial providers such as Choicepoint, airlines and U.S. government programs such as "Total Information Awareness" and "Matrix", as well as the circulation of security professionals in personnel rotations involving the Dept. of Homeland Security, the military, policing and the private sector. O'Harrow, (2005) while ducking policy recommendations, richly documents the above.

    Former Attorney General Ashcroft who was central to the PATRIOT lobbies in support of technology companies, as does Tom Ridge, the first director of Homeland Security (along with 90 of its former officials). In 2001 there were two registered homeland security lobbying firms and by 2005 there were 543. (Harris 2006)

  8. The reverse of course is also possible. Note the wonderful last lines in the film Absence of Malice. A reporter asks Sallie Field about her relationship with Paul Newman. Field: "just say we were involved." Reporter: "Is that true?" Field: "No, but it is accurate."

  9. Of course, this is not a problem for those who view social science as mostly fiction anyway, whether because of the complex, ever-changing nature of its topics, its relatively weak methods, or the biases of its practitioners.

  10. Note the enduring power of Lon Fuller's (1949) article on the Speluncean explorers for generations of law students.

  11. Voire is another true fiction case which, as an add for a film claims, "is based on real life events". He is a kind of everyman who is the subject or agent of over 100 new surveillance techniques. (Marx, 2006b) In some ways Voire and Bottoms are opposites, the former is at the margins of society in terms of social position and power and the latter at the center. Yet they both oversimplify and are rich in fallacious thinking.

  12. The careful listener might tell him that on their album the chorus relativizes this in whispering, "They couldn't get much worse".

  13. The Supreme Court however was less impressed in Ferguson v. City of Charleston 532 U.S. 67 (2001) it found the nonconsensual use of diagnostic for law enforcement to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

  14. Editor's note: here I believe he refers to the work of Richard Hofstader (1965).

  15. In writing fiction and stooping to satire, there is always the danger of being taken too seriously. There is a dilemma here since to work, such writing must show enough correspondence to reality to be plausible or at least imaginable, but not so much as to be seen as real. It must seem true in an ideal-typical sense, without being literally true with respect to a specific empirical case.

  16. Of course intellectuals have social locations and interests as well. Believing in empiricism, logic and the better aspects of western civilization reflects commitment (see note 44 for a sampling of what can be seen as blind and/or obfuscatory spots). But there are some central differences as well, such as adhering to an open, self-interrogating critical standard beyond specific contexts and awareness of the paradoxical nature of the sociology of knowledge.

  17. Some fallacies reoccur in the speech but I identify them only the first time. Failure to identify a statement as a fallacy should not necessarily be taken as a sign that I concur. The number of fallacies discussed is restricted by space limitations and could easily be expanded. Some additional ones: confusing the simulacra with the phenomenon, saying I'm sorry makes it ok, crooks and suspects have no rights, contemporary wars can be won with finality.

  18. The elasticity and vagueness of symbols and concepts is also illustrated. Thus Bottoms supports his case by reference to John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, liberty, freedom and choice—resources also often found in the verbal arsenals of critics.

  19. A brief version of these is in Marx 2003b.

  20. The original: "Relax, God is in control."

  21. Here I refer to neutrality in its North American rather than European sense. In Europe the idea refers to the assumption that for law and policy, it should not matter which technological means is involved, what matters is the broader value or privacy interest that is threatened.

    The European Napoleonic inspired civil law code contrasts with the Anglo common law system. For the latter, law appears when the court is presented with a problem. Rather than responding on the basis of broad principles (such as respect for human dignity or personality), in the United States the courts and law often respond on the bases of the particular technology or subject area involved. For example until recently video rental records had greater protection than health records and in general, audio recordings require a warrant, but video recordings do not.

  22. More privileged persons have greater resources to take advantage of new technologies. This permits them to go further in invading the privacy of others and to better protect their own privacy. Links between privacy and stratification are considered in Marx forthcoming b.

  23. However with respect to stealthily and highly invasive means, ease of use and wide availability is not necessarily a virtue.

  24. Consider for example basing one's position on the death penalty only on "cost-benefit" analysis which finds that it generally costs several times as much to put someone to death as to imprison them for life.

  25. Note the self-deluding body count system of the Viet Nam war. (Gibson 1986, Bell 1979).

  26. Of course if the individual is treated unjustly, the commonweal is also damaged.

  27. A different standard would assess harm from the behavior. Thus a person who rapidly speeds up as the light turns is likely much more dangerous, yet would be less likely to be identified as a violator by the technology, because the speeder will be within the grace period.

  28. Recall H.L. Mencken's observation that, "for every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong." Yet if applied too broadly the statement illustrates itself.

  29. In a different context President Reagan's "Star Wars" program was a continuation of the early response to atomic weapons which involved building bomb shelters and bigger bombs. An alternative was to define the problem as calling for understanding of mutual grievances, negotiation and disarmament.

  30. For example a good profile may increase arrests among the less competent but make it easier for skilled offenders knowledgeable about the system to avoid detection. The smaller the camera lens the easier it is to hide, but the more limited the range.

  31. An interesting empirical question involves the correlates and links between the possibility of developing a technology, its actual development and its' use and diffusion.

  32. With this fallacy and the previous one critics and advocates switch positions. The former seeing the technology as determinative and the latter arguing that humans can control it.

  33. In the area of criminal justice, a police supervisor notes, "tactics developed for use against killers and kidnappers come to be used against junkies and whores." I discuss forms of "surveillance creep" in Marx (2005).

  34. This raises another issue re carrots and sticks and coercion and manipulation. The end result serving the interests of those in control may be the same even as the means vary significantly. This involves issues of iron fists and velvet gloves considered below.

  35. Another issue involves co-generated data, e.g., a picture of former lovers or exchanges with merchants, which raise the question, "who does the data belong to?"

  36. Sometimes this is not a fallacy. Thus the libertarian who views drug use as a matter of free choice will hardly be supportive of drug testing.

  37. Consider also the real goal of a company that advertised that it could help persons with bad credit records—the actual goal was to create lists to sell of persons with bad records. The reason some firms request phone numbers when a person pays with a credit card is not to insure the security of the transaction (it is guaranteed), but for marketing purposes. An unstated drug testing goal may be to identify older workers for termination before they become eligible for pensions. Pre-employment medical tests may reveal that a woman is pregnant and prevent her from being hired.

  38. Of course this could also be questioned on pragmatic grounds. Thus if using dogs generated a backlash and disorders escalated, it would be harder to argue that the tactic "worked" beyond perhaps the immediate moment. The use of dogs and water pressure for crowd control appears to have lessened as a result of the development of rubber bullets and pepper spray

  39. Yet note the limitations observed by Cole (2001).

  40. For example during the Caller-ID wars, local phone companies were justifiying the service by saying since long distance, commercial toll-free carriers had it, they should be entitled to it as well.

  41. With seen authorities the frightening issue is one of unquestioned deference more than delegation, as the work of Milgram (1974) illustrates.

  42. "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning , but without understanding." The same sentiment also applies to means that are soft and seemingly non-invasive. These issues are considered in more detail in Marx (2006a).

  43. Given a conflict setting and the complexity and difficulty of intervention, social control efforts seem particularly prone to cycles of reform. The recent history of the community corrections movement offers a good example moving from pretrial diversion in the late 1960s, mandatory sentencing in the mid-1970s, and intensive probation supervision in the early 1980s.

  44. Corrections and police agencies are particularly prone to such cycles, with schools and mental health not far behind. Where nothing works very well or that much better than anything else, there may be greater receptivity to reforms.

  45. In Marx (1995) offers numerous examples of engineering solutions of this nature, e.g., removing benches from public areas as a response to homelessness.

  46. A Chinese version notes that to cool the tea pot you can either add more water or put out the fire (the latter presumably being a problem when fires were harder to start). Note also the story about the person falling from the top of a 200 floor building. As the 150th floor is passed, a friend asks, "how are you doing?" The reply, "so far, so good."

  47. A related ironic factor is the observation that while the woods remain the same, hiking has a very different meaning for solitude when alone, as against being in a large group.

  48. Relevant here are questions of data overkill and information glut. For example the East Germans were apparently able to tap most phone calls of West German and NATO officials, but do not appear to have been able to make very effective use of this.

  49. More detailed argument is in Marx, forthcoming a, in chapters on ethics and on social processes.

  50. That distinction worked for much of human history. But with the increasing inter-dependence seen with cyborgs, advanced robots and people hooked up to machines, the lines are less clear now. This interdependence and mélange of people and technology can be seen to involve a surveillant assemblage, worthy of analysis as an organic unit. (Deleuze 1995; Haggerty and Ericson 2000).

  51. In the case of this article, they might start with "the risk-free fallacy of Monday-Morning Quarterbacking"; "the fallacy of the overly broad academic generalization"; "the Ockham's razor nit-picking fallacy of slicing the world into too many categories" and "the fallacy of failing to clearly enough differentiate value statements from scientific statements" and the reverse of "failing to specify how the empirical within in the value might be assessed".

    It is also easy to imagine the fallacies in a speech that might be given by privacy advocates Angela Topps or Charles "Chicky" Little: the fallacy that the sky is falling or apocalypse someday soon or if you can imagine bad things happening, they surely will; the populist fallacy that the people always know what's best; the fallacy that privacy is an unlimited good (or if some is good, more must be better); the fallacy of primal privacy (privacy ought to take precedence over other values such as accountability, security, freedom of information-the mirror image of the pragmatic fallacy above); the fallacy of seeing privacy only as an individual, rather than a social value; the fallacy of defining privacy only as taking something from, rather than imposing something upon the individual; the fallacy that because something worked in the past it will in the future; the Luddite fallacy that technology is always the problem and never the solution and related to this the fallacy that technology can only be used to invade privacy rather than to protect it.

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