[-empyre-] Netopticon and the cops - asymmetry in play

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Fri Jan 28 22:36:06 EST 2011


Just as in the UK as it is in the USA - except there the FBI has failed to
make any arrests. I wonder how long the UK authorities will be able to keep
those it has arrested and whether they will be able to proceed with any
criminal charges against them?

The power of anonymous lies in it mirroring its obverse, the netopticon.
Just like the netopticon, anonymous is both everywhere and nowhere. It
involves many but does not exist as an organisation, not even as an informal
network. It is an idea that provokes collaborative action, just as the
netopticon, like the panopticon, is more an idea than an apparatus.
Bentham's original conception was not for an all seeing surveillance system
but for an "architecture" that would instil in its subjects the expectation
of surveillance. Whether they were being watched, perhaps even unwatchable,
was not the point. It was the idea (fear) that counted. In this respect the
panopticon eerily resembles Freud's super-ego, the socially instilled fear
of being guilty, of simply being different. The fear of punishment is enough
to embed within the individual the necessary constraints on behaviour to
assure they remain within social norms. However, once the nature of the
netopticon is recognised its power evaporates. It was never there.



Simon Biggs
simon at littlepig.org.uk

s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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