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surveyork
18:24

A Tack in the Shoe: Neutralizing and Resisting the New Surveillance

A Tack in the Shoe: Neutralizing and Resisting the New Surveillance

Journal of Social Issues, forthcoming May 2003, vol. 59 (2)

By Gary T. Marx

Professor Emeritus, MIT

In light of contemporary efforts to intensify the collection of personal information, this article, as well as articles elsewhere on this web site dealing with the engineering of social control and computer matching and profiling, may be of more than academic interest.

 

Abstract: Eleven behavioral techniques of neutralization intended to subvert the collection of personal information are discussed:  discovery moves, avoidance moves, piggy backing moves, switching moves, distorting moves, blocking moves, masking moves, breaking moves, refusal moves, cooperative moves and counter-surveillance moves. In Western liberal democracies the advantages of technological and other strategic surveillance developments are often short-lived and contain ironic vulnerabilities. The logistical and economic limits on total monitoring, the interpretive and contextual nature of many human situations, system complexity and interconnectedness, and the vulnerability of those engaged in surveillance to be compromised, provide ample room for resistance. Neutralization is a dynamic adversarial social dance involving strategic moves and counter-moves and should be studied as a conflict interaction process.

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