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Living in the Electromagnetic Spectrum

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Title Living in the Electromagnetic Spectrum
Title of Series re:publica 2015
Part Number 36
Number of Parts 177
Author Bridle, James
License CC Attribution - ShareAlike 3.0 Germany:
You are free to use, adapt and copy, distribute and transmit the work or content in adapted or unchanged form for any legal purpose as long as the work is attributed to the author in the manner specified by the author or licensor and the work or content is shared also in adapted form only under the conditions of this license.
DOI 10.5446/32174
Publisher re:publica
Release Date 2015
Language English

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Subject Area Computer Science
Abstract Artist and writer James Bridle explores how politics is manifested in technology, and how the the things we build shape the world in unexpected ways. In particular, he will detail the ways in which networks and communications affect notions of citizenship in the 21st Century, as explored in his recent art works and writings.
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hello and thank you for that introduction thank you for the invitation to be here and I wear many hats and writer
artists journalists I make stuff generally and i'm going be wearing all of those today animals so logic and we had to be talking about my work and I'm aware that has the possibility of self-indulgence and apologize for that but I don't really feel qualified to talk about stuff unless I investigated it myself I worked with it if I have made things exploded so my starting point for thinking about anything is always kind of a deep investigation of its exploration making stuff writing about and ultimately talking about as well all those things so parts in important parts of Y. D. stop at about these guys an they on all these are not seen these before and I call this the rainbow planes and if you spend enough time scanning Google Maps I wish I did I you starts come across these things everywhere uh they they appear kind of near airports near large cities there's thousands of them scattered around Google Maps around around the Earth itself during the plane is an artifact of satellite mapping it's a glitch but like all glitches it's not just a mistake it's the opportunity to get a glimpse of the underlying systems that are at play here in this case it's the way the world of satellite mapping is a function of how technologies and systems see the world I've been staring at
these pages thinking that they were kind of beautiful and very interesting but took a long time to try to understand a whole bunch of stuff from from how aviation works to how satellite words to how satellite imaging works to understand how and why this image comes together and reason the Weimar
planes exist is because satellites don't take photographs satellites you something caught a multispectral sensor a range of instruments that but we not light as we understand it not just the visible spectrum but but it's
purely electromagnetic radiation for and they do that in small increments than we did so they sent the red the green and the blue separately they said deep in the infrared and ultraviolet as well places that all vision doesn't go and they also build those together in order to allow us to see if they can bind those letters in this
case red blue green and you can just
see a resolution black band as well in order to produce the images that we see a via so no to see this picture they've already gone through this kind of long technological process of sensing and mediation and reconstruction but what you but what you're seeing here is a glimpse of the way that that they see the world the way in which technology constructs it differently to us so when I start to understand stuff that I start to make stuff like
this this is a one-to-one representation of the rainbow Plane and I wanted to draw it out I want to build stand on top of 1 of these things the only previously existed on the screen in all the other states can advance my understanding of this differentiation between human and technological visions of the world but I also made an image of a particular type of playing a Gulfstream 5 uh the preferred transport of oligarchy of celebrities and CIA rendition
flights because my belief in my experience is the when you see through the eyes of technology when you start to understand the way in which it constructs the world you get a startlingly clear sight of the power which lies behind those technologies as well as the powers that those technologies stand in this kind of middlemen for but this is the 1st and I draw
a number of times and types at a particular obsession with the figure of the drive by the military unmanned aerial vehicles and I call this series the drawing shadows this is a a 1 2 1 Outline again
of other military driver of the U US Air Force and all potentially will air force in my case I Reaper drones 1 of these flying death robots which have been deployed cut across the surface of the planet I wanted to make an image of that because it's something that I
never gonna get to stand in front of you I'm never gonna get to touch 1 of these machines and in fact they're very invisibility is part of the process they're designed to not be seen not be seen by people on the ground to the bomb and not be seen by the democracies he in whose name the flow in the current democratically politically invisible as well so that to sketchy get out is 1 way of addressing the system during a picture of it in order to understand the networks the underlying gives me the drugs themselves with a kind of avatar laws of the network itself but the the kind of point and a very very large complex and difficult to grasp systems how do you draw a picture of the internet how do you had you sketch out these vast network when I say I was used this term network by the way and which I should explain when I said that what I mean like the Internet and
us right the complete system Austin technologies operating together because they are
essentially technologies that we live inside the planetary scale we we inhabit them but there's a particular subset of that network of which the drawings were part which is kind of cheating to to secrecy tuned towards violence and death and likewise in the project could draw Instagram upload images of the locations of a legal drone strikes an undeclared war was to Instagram and other social media because I'm fascinated by the fact that the temporal warfare and social media share the same essential infrastructure in character they facilitate cited action-at-a-distance they run on the same substrate the same technologies which he used to find your way today that to find a way here GPS satellite imagery little slippy maps on the phones and does the same technology used to guide
these machines to their targets all I do in these processes I close this circle of supplying the missing imagery from 1 side by drawing on the amazing resources are the we've been building on the other side a spending a lot of time watching the sky at
the moment it seems I'm adding paying a lot of attention to other forms of publicly available data like flight paths and building databases of this information scraping it semi legally from various places at this for example is the last couple of months of Google loom balloon flights this is Google's bringing the Internet everywhere to projects that bring in step 2 everywhere project by putting readers on a stratospheric weather balloons and this is so
fascinating project but is also 1 that we only discussed through the language of Google itself but there are other ways of of reaching and exploring this information is another 1 this is why aerial photography looks like when applying for this I thought it was aerial photography is realize that these planes were flying at nite and what you doing is light outstanding which is the same technology do users on top because the little spinning laser to both 3 D maps of the world these planes of flying at nite over the countryside motor to map the topology of it but saying
it's again those we see through the visible spectrum but through the electromagnetic spectrum through the point cloud of 3 D data this is the number of flights by a plane registered to the Metropolitan Police in London or whether to a series of uh uh mailboxes except addresses in the name of former Metropolitan police officers at these planes circled over the UK as sucking up 1 cell phone data that I want to talk about that very much but this data is that as well for those anyone who seeks he seeks to find it and this well this is interesting this the flight path the last few months of a particular plane and the thing about this plane is that some of these planes a deportation flights some of these flights are carrying people forcibly away from Britain wanna go a bit more into into that I kind of got really fascinating about this around this case which is just something I read about in the paper in November 2013 the there is this weird story about um about this guy that Nigerian man Gleason was only been in the UK for about 10 years and he overstayed his visa and he'd being um detained uh and he was Chief deportations on hunger strike is very sick and and there was this extraordinary so where Theresa layout
delightful him Secretary I decide to get him out the country quickly and state chartered a private jet to fly him out which seemed in itself kind of extraordinary to me and but not only that the private jet this whole strategy kind of backfired massively uh when Nigeria refused to accept the plane into its airspace but they had to fly back to Europe it stops there allegedly in Malta um and then return to the UK I say allegedly because the details in the story was very clear and it struck me that there were these kind of huge holes in the story like a government using private planes support people like celebrity jets that's the thing that's happening whether these plans go how they move around but more my frustration was that this information was in the kind of journalistic stories of this account that I was reading it will it wasn't present when I knew how to find and you know and and so I started doing so and it turned out to be a brilliant old invested journalism trick i which is plane spotters and of course Malta where this plane had allegedly landed has an active community of plane spotters paste information about this online and so by uh looking what planes have cooled at Malta airport on the relevant day not just to the official flight logs but logs kept by the kind of person is plane spotted waiting by the airports uh by the runway at most record I wasn't able to get hold of a legislative plane is registration numbers model number this plane in fact and and by finding the information that I could reconstruct the actual and minute by minute flight this plane had taken and but perhaps more crucially it
was able find a bit more about the jet itself I which turned out to be a private jet public Gulfstream the pretty close to 1 of them by a company called Air charter Scotland are they
fly a lot of football is that seems to be the main gate and occasionally they the poor people and this is
useful information because when you know which companies involved in this process if you want to you can put pressure on them to change that by by knowing more about this situation as a chance to to to act about it and but I just I found this fascinating that this whole process is going on so I write up lipid online and the very quickly it starts getting calls some activist groups through a far more dedicated to this area and I am than asking for more information they want to know more about these flights could I tell them other planes that were involved and I told them I consider magic this information up this is based on a single news story and but because of their connections to migrants in detention but they did actually know when flights are going to occur and much much larger flights than that
and it turned out that these flights were departing from somewhere coded the in-flight jets center which is a private terminal at the London Stansted Airport right well less people gonna summer holidays from uh and loads of people fly on private jets for from his private terminal uh apparently in the middle of the nite is being used for
this but people have no general idea of this is going on and so I turned up there in the middle of the nite this is the way it moment when you cross over from doing like weird googling protein data around to actually turning up on the ground and sat there and this guy deserted car park in the middle the nite uh when suddenly all of these coaches started turning up I
with large uh security man with a high Vizjak it's the whole thing loads of police cars mostly from a company could wh toes which you can only just make out there I 1 of the coaches that from a company called clearly just go with an exclamation mark and and then you watch this process happening if you actually bother to go it doesn't turn up in the weird thing happens this thing that happens when Casey moved from just looking at this stuff is data on screen on news stories to seeking out of the ground truth of what's going on whatever you think of deportation programs of of immigration rules of the complexities of uh of an asylum laws all this kind of stuff when you there are 1 o'clock in the morning in the rain watching people of color being loaded of bosses by uh in heavily bulky security guards and loaded onto planes under intense secrecy the like something is fundamentally wrong here is this is the manner in which we are going about this
process is something we possibly should be ashamed of and should be querying has so they are as the so I that's was Apple might stored people like and of course I got to see what
plane was going on it uh turned that's the charter company called Titan airways of the reason they use jobs planes by the ways because the commercial airlines refused to carry deportees but because it distresses the other passengers and particularly good they killed a guy 1 of them optimum Abengoa that up and so these these charts appliance
um and that's weird as well right is the same thing as the same substrate is the same infrastructure turns our friend of mine a got on his summer holidays on the same plane uh they go some months before flying to Cyprus on it are the same within fly jets sensors used in a day for 1 thing useful another thing at nite so so these planes as well shared infrastructures and therefore accessible in the same way you can is that plane is now in this database so I can watch these deportation flights I can kind of know that their caring and and using you all these publicly accessible API is mapping programs using the technology they have to put on planes to make them visible to systems we can dig out more information which Governments to other forms of power refuse to share with us because of this kind of inherent transparency that's also built into the systems but but I wanted to let kind of further inside some of these places as well and I kind of figured that maybe there were similar strategies that might be amenable to doing so yeah good this various these sites connected with this program the sites of detention of judgment and a deportation and their close to inspection and that you can't walking you can't photograph them very easily and but I forget that if a satellite can see it from space right and this
is the view of place Good Harmondsworth Detention Center despite the threat port visible on Google Earth and its satellites consider then surely other technologies can generate other ways of
seeing the space as well because low as with all things you have to combine various forms of investigational to produce this so
start with the old school ways that's the Planning Department get get the planning documents for these buildings are all of this stuff is required by law to be filed this is the 1 of the oldest techniques in the book right you can go along in some ways to some of these places the that you can go to court if if you're lucky enough never have to have been to court under duress least are highly recommend going to court it's so always a kind of fascinating process and and it should be and often is usually is sometimes is that what the democratic foundations right justice being seen to be done yeah but this this is an old court because this 1 here is the
Special Immigration Appeals Committee which is a special committee set up in UK law to hear cases which require the provision of secret evidence this is unfortunately a real thing and that's exactly what it is is evidence presented to a court that the defendant it is not a lie against the defendant but they are not allowed to see and neither is the legal team is presented clearly to the judge and a court-appointed um reader of the case but it the that that allowed to defend again is directly because they don't know what it is usually because it's been obtained through some form of of intelligence and that would and but you can go along sometimes when they're open not the court is saying there's open sessions in this close sessions and like many courtly sneak allowed photograph inside it but you can sketch and then you can take those sketches and this is what we did that you can find you know all this information you start to build up technological view on I worked with them architecture visualizes I've had a long-standing fascination with the kind of and your CGI re-creation of architecture how that image making process you know those big glossy pictures of what this building will look like on the front of kind of you know unaffordable apartment buildings that process of image making carries through into the construction of these buildings the CAD systems is an incredible connection between dislimit making and the built environment around us so what we're going to do that all the time to reconstruct the spaces it's the same technique and used to sell those you know those luxury flats except that we using it redeploying it really not to commercialize commercializing can sell this stuff but to investigate and explore it so this is field house which is the home of
the that faculty the sigh act the Special Immigration Appeals Commission inside a relatively anonymous building in central London and this is the cover is alive
it's pretty boring these places are and but remember that secret evidence provision
right just as we can read intent into code infrastructure when we're literate in the way these technologies put together here we can see it manifest in in physical architecture itself but the curtained off witness books and this
area right in the bottom corner is wasted as the public in that then back said partition the partition here on the left is is what she of members of the security services literally from public scrutiny you can see the way in which the law generates an architecture level then we can see an address in turn my thing that's really key and so the technology allows me to represent a reality which I do not have access to it and once again he's his action representation is actively denied by power not the glossy website images of the glamor of private aviation but a dog went nite on the on the got
all the way back to the to God knows what have to whatever puzzle my previously the state
but I'm representing something else here too and this is such a commission for the photographers Gallery in London hence the m emphasis on these unphotographed will spaces and and and and the hence my political interest in the subject matter but this film is not just about the individual stories of detainees in migrants themselves as necessary and important as those stories are Schnorkel ties be speaking for them for me when speaker his is the unaccountability and on gossip ability of Boston complex systems of nationwide architectures accumulations of laws and legal processes these infrastructures intent and prejudice and the structural inequalities and experience and understanding them intake journalistic investigation academic research artistic impression but is the technology the pool of those different approaches together to turn into an
opportunity to see describing communicate the world in ways that perhaps 1 quite possible before and tell another story so this is a a picture a ICA Mohammed Sacco when he was a teenager the members accused guy was born in London in 1985 and them about a few miles from where I live by his parents for Egyptian immigrants they moved to the UK in the early eighties as a was born in the UK the growing up as a British citizen I'd been to school in north London and able and we probably wouldn't have been friends but he had no interest in the warring to pretty much anyone frankly but nevertheless it was a lot of the like me and and and assist the UK a least he was until
September of 2010 when while he was out of
the country by his parents to see this letter from the British government and which is the deprivation of citizenship order which turns out to be something under certain circumstances under an increasing number of circumstances and on an increasing number of occasions is something that the British government can do that this latter literally stripped him of his British citizenship and everything that goes with that and 18 months later Mohammed sector was killed by a US drone strike in Somalia and we don't talk about it because he's wasn't a British citizen anymore if fact his citizenship status
was completely indeterminate is removed was based on the fact is parents still had Egyptian citizenship and therefore potentially he could have claimed Egyptian citizenship by time his death he was effectively stateless this raises the central thing here which is the citizenship is in the hand in as as Hannah and described it the right to
have rights but rights as we understand them the right protection what's life all flow from citizenship itself and citizenship is not as we often like to think about it is something quite in a direct and it malleable uh and it doesn't just affect people who have become stateless the war Refugio overboard in
refugee camps and number other ways you become stateless but it's not just an issue statelessness is an issue for wider issues assistance had been had been manipulated that at the games has to like mapping this process this is a start of a diagram of of how someone can be manipulated from being a British citizenship from a bridge assistance to being killed right so on the left you have uh the number of UK laws passed over time that define and refine our definition of citizenship 1 entails on the right you have uh the
US laws which justify drone strikes in the middle you have that basically completely ineffectual international law is also supposed to kind of containing control some of this stuff what this looks like to me is that as a program is a code is some of that background is a changelog right is someone editing the law has been deliberate provisions made here is to allow certain things to occur and we know the code is law and the law is
to some extent cos it contains the possibility of following the changelog to examine its that failure states and points that to understand the coding which is got into it and therefore possibly to rewrite the code this is for me I really the kind of reality the powers as they stand now we can read this code but this
into we fully understand it is not so much we can do about it and it was feels like is operating somewhere else to someone else and I've made this a while about which is well as holograms you sometimes you might see at ports it speaks that chain is low but I was just talking about explains to you how you may be maneuvered through this rest positions by once user because I was encounter the holograms act strange judges at airports at Railway stations eventually in places that feel like borders the point weight
crossing over whether stuff always seems to have the greatest weight in meaning so let's talk about borders for minute
and there's always been a strange kind of all border zones right this is a pictures which is M 1 of those little Spanish enclaves on the Moroccan side of the case and right where where where you got these incredibly strange border effects occurring and because it doesn't confined to our notions of borders being kind of fixed in physical space but actually as many many kind of borders that occur like that of my particular interest is in the way technology is increasingly being used
stretch redefine these borders and therefore Strachan redefined the citizenship I which follows from them but connected to technologies in in various ways the Israel Palestine separate ation war which is the area around which is this kind of crucible for this development distributed military technologies
for the US-Mexico border wall being built across along US southern border it seems self-evident to me there's a relationship between the proliferation of these walls at the same time there is an increasing perceived freedom of movement for information
this point to some quite fundamental problems with the way we can see that the importance of information itself this is the effort
Evros River border between Turkey and Greece and so another these walls there's been built in the last 18 months so sigh and and the close of this particular migration rates is in part responsible for the vast increase in particularly Syrian refugees reaching Europe fire the far more
hazardous reach across the Mediterranean from Libya and as that's occurring in Europe was starting to redefine the not just that border strip of the areas around this as
well as his organization called Frontex which stands for from the exterior which is the kind of reuse EU-wide Border Agency and the surprisingly low known but that occurring in kind of importance they have this term 1 of those exquisite pieces of double speak which describes the commentary frontier right it's everything beyond the border so in this case is going north Africa Libya is instead the Middle East this border zone isn't
just a lying like at the edge of the nation but extends for tends a hundreds even thousands of miles beyond the borders separated from from just that physical strip extends you see the same thing occurring in the US this is the ACL use map of what they called 100 mile border zone
because US border forces have the and we made to operate anywhere within 100 miles of US borders and not just to operate but to apply the laws of the border itself and if something like 80 % of the US is population actually with that lives within that 100 mile strip around the border because of the reality of US demographics which means under that law that subject to the same searches
interrogations that you are at the border if you are lucky enough to fall under the suspicion
room my whole a grand and the guy that figure for this is this is the this is the other version of that this is the the Board of force version of these things could avatar or um uh which of course stands for automated virtual agent for truth assessments in real time and this is a tool for the deployment of border crossings by users was described as things like noninvasive artificial intelligence uh and uh it relies on things like a body movement that checking your pupils saying how much a
sweating to decide retaliatory right it's a it's a lie detector with a camera and is designed for deployment of borders but I think was to be fascinating is is that was deployed for a particular border situation it was deployed the US-Mexico border with intention track tracking drug traffickers and is now being deployed at European borders its latest inflation is at Bucharest airport in order to look or false asylum-seekers
essentially immigrants who on telling the truth and the thing about these technologies is that when they're
deployed in 1 place they they carry that political intent the other no matter the people trying to get into a Romania by that route to not drug smugglers that people fleeing civil wars and violence by those subjected to the same pressure
this is what happens when those technologies a rolled out around the world right to other things they do is they can afraid the political intent with them which is why you we increasingly CIA world of
warfare defined by the by the very specialized weapons that were developed for and in particularly the Israel-Palestine conflict where you so warfare being carried out among citizens in occupied territories in urban areas that kind of warfare is now reproduced by these weapons all right around the
world the same is happening with these border technologies them and it I don't wanna talk too much about the Australian situation uh
but if you think the immigration situation in Europe is bad then you should look toward Australia and 1 of the things the Australian government's been doing it bought a bunch of life rafts it then and intersects but people at sea puts the on life rafts and pushes them back towards where
they came from and which is basically usually illegal under international law because international law you recover someone at see you have a duty not to return them to somewhere where they may be a threat and they are still doing this but also making gestures toward actually doing that check on the way of 1
of which I find particularly fascinating because he's what happens when this border at zone extend but is already extended into territory that is already extended into other
countries those already extended in this kind of totally uh distributed way through airports and border points also starts to extend in the electromagnetic spectrum of all under Australian Customs ships now they have
teleconference tweets so they could interview asylum-seekers but while they still remain in international waters and then uh and then assess their asylum claims while this to remain outside the boards of the state this artist a friend of mine could launch every Hamdan that is made work about similar stuff happening in Europe I 1 of the tasks that do migrants is uh get them to talk to allegedly skilled language specialists who
will say that person says that from here but because of the accent I know them from here right at this the system is bankrupt has been proven to be prejudicial and in many cases wrong but what Lawrence says about this process in his work and the freedom of speech itself this is the fact that in a syllable of their actual syllable contained within a word that someone said can be used to designate citizenship above the identity card
that carry they carry with them forces us to think how borders of it being made perceptible and how configurations of vowels and consonants and made legally accountable and I'd go significantly further than that and ask how bits and bytes become legally accountable as well yeah that traditionally been like a few ways of acquiring or constructing really someone's default citizenship I
and the the way the way most of us in you get it is code jus sanguinis has the right of blood right you get your citizenship based on where your parents or where they came from what citizenship they possess that holds in all
the kind of grayish areas here the dark blue areas of those under which they're just solely is the principal assistantships and just solely is the right of soil if you're born there you get citizenship no matter what I should think this is quite an interesting liberal position is the default American position interestingly and and then of course you can acquire citizenship by going through incredibly tortuous as a kind of legal procedures migrants and then this kind of stuff but just solely jus sanguinis the right of the the right of the blood those are traditionally has assisted has been acquired and also relatively stable categories when the required 1 of them you probably like it's managed to retain it sometimes but when I added to the beginning of this talk how like seeing through the eyes of technology allows us to see the power the operates it and I didn't explicitly state the corollary which is the how we're being seen by it as well because once the border encompasses the Electra matadors electromagnetic spectrum it encompasses everything at and we already know that everything we do online is being fed into databases and used to make assumptions about this SNA habits what happens when a citizenship status can be assigned as easily as a set of variables tractor on the Internet exactly the same way advertising companies build virtual profiles of people from media tell targeting as already said citizenship is the right to have rights so these commercial arrangements increasingly governmental arrangements potentially
affect far more than the ads that we see they determine that the ground that we effectively stand upon this is like some crazy future fantasy either because I try to be careful to avoid those this is the reality of being on the Internet today and this is 1 of the many documents that outlines what is effectively
a security surveillance agencies in this case the NSA but conception of citizenship so most of the state security agencies at least in in the west are not allowed by law to surveil their own citizens but when your doing dragnet surveillance of the entire Internet how do you know who is a citizen and who is not so the rules based on this and effectively they are the same as the way in which
Facebook gathers your data they assign you a citizenship based on profiling by the way you behave online by the way you browse and because of that because your citizenship is being algorithmically assigned moment by moment your rights change kind of moment by moment your ability to your your ability to resist or even to know about so changes and by the way that you behave online and we are all living in that borders and now we all participating water because it every time that we connect these networks this is the project and work in the moment I consists of acts from a series a browser extensions which calculate this idea logarithmic citizenship is a really like naive and simple look at the reality of this is very basic it's not always the most accurate thing in the world and but because it's quite hard right to see exactly where and where everything is
essentially this a visualization of a browsing patterns that makes visible the underlying infrastructure of this invisible network that we connect to every day and thus the physical space legal jurisdictions in the political manifested festations that the whole rely upon the network as well and that that network relies upon inter your citizenship and therefore your basic human rights increasingly on an already conditional upon data profiles upon the way that data is acquired stored in you I believe this In race quite important questions about the nature of citizenship itself as its tournament of rights and the way in which perhaps
for allowing organizations to redefine what we've considered to be citizenship for so for so long the academic subtlety this should algorithme and of opposition to the law the soil along the um the blood this is the the right the rights given by algorithms of algorithmic citizenship I think is really crucial to talk about is because I believe entering a time when the banks of assistantship again incredible importance because the next century is gonna see increasing attacks on on these nations as we see kind of the break-up increased and accelerated the break-up of nation states the asymmetrical wars to climate change and also just quite simply people's increased identification with non-geographical grouping people who connect across the whole world inevitably start to identify more and more with non national states and therefore how and in what ways for these rights being will be assigned and I love to say where maybe like to say that I am a citizen of the Internet and but we should start figuring out what actually means before other people do it for us what appears to us now is a is a spectrum of citizenship itself which is flickering and shifting all the time even when we're not aware of it just as the rights that derive from it all this is the condition of living in this electromagnetic borders and his wife made discussions of privacy surveillance data philosophy are important beyond no free speech beyond the specialist concerns a journalist lawyers and activists that fundamental to the very ground that we stand upon and i increasing ability define ourselves in relation to the laws was subject to time for a long time have been trying to
explain the Internet effective there was so that if I could explain you know the infrastructure the Internet will learn how to somehow deal with it better to make better use of it social progress political use whatever we wanted to do it as a stub the knowledge of like it's infrastructure how works the code was crucially important to increasing the can average agency of people in the world allow them to to to act uh now with great significance for themselves but increases in using the Internet of Services to explain everything else and the fascinating moment when you realize that secrecy and transparency and visibility invisibility the instructor inextricably linked together I technology is this is a reflection of political intent and that's often invisible but In order to a fire that politics as a technology there has to be written down right has to be put into code in that code can be red and thus for every system of dominion built into our technologies that equal and corresponding possibility of seeing understanding inter possibly arresting those forces whether that's reverse engineering and hacking was whistleblowing this is the power of of communicating in making
visible but I wanna and I with them further thought that kind of praise on me quite a lot of women forced to confront in my own work and because my work really foregrounds the the making visible of these hidden structures technological political structures and so that we can understand and act on them but I remain
unconvinced that transparency and making visible alone are enough because they exist within the same construction of the world the same philosophy of it that just by understanding more by gathering in ever more will somehow know somehow make it magically better that's that seems to be the argument as more data better database to better representations
of data and never really going to be enough the internet teachers for many really the lesson of it is not that all things are unknowable but the differences in determinants sees an unknowns and not just was present the fundamental constituents of the world as with our notions of citizenship we need to radically rethink of strategies and not just uh strategies not just a stretches in
understanding of information but understanding and underlying conceptions of the world itself thank you very much thank you so much James and so thrilled to have you here and use less time for us to have entered the minutes and questions and answers can you give
me sign of hands continue with my phone yeah In this meaning of overwhelmed if you do that can you give me a sign of hands like to ask questions I
know every he can a moment to digest everything has been
said at a fast 1 over here thank you and and new upper looking it transparency where do you see the border the to privacy and public
cyclists earlier and the border between privacy and public data because the test as you leave the that things Slosar for what where this is you see a kind of linear border between both a border between public and private data later yes and will it depends on which domain we can
talk about the 1 I'm this increases their wives to sometimes said the other is that I'm increasingly frustrated with just that debate over over the data itself over which is public on which is private and that the fact that no WikiLeaks in the NSA have essentially the same view of the world right that there is some kind of dark secret at the heart of it that we will magically make the world better by bringing it to light right I WikiLeaks at position is to start with a more complex narrative device you messing up I think
a fundamental distinction itself but the emphasis on wiki on on transparency on whistle-blowing is essentially this thing of saying what or we make the data public and its magically better but is actually the
same ontology of the world is is is is the private data stuff right it says that you know by just by knowing more about it but this is the only answer by measuring by dictating itself the and that's from seems to be a well it's a it's a position we come to
you because we can only understand the things that we can measure and so the whole history of all technologies as basic building better measuring tools building bigger collections information to
relax and we know from get James Scott and lots of other good people that the way in which power operates within those domains that that that this is the other fundamental problem with public product the is that ultimately can bring all the public data you want the table wouldn't we see the means of production and there's always going to be like a deeply unequal power relationship that and that's gonna dt disrupt that what's actually need is what I don't know what it is yet but it is something that accommodates this 2 fundamental uncertainty that allows us to operate in the world without constantly trying to gather more information about that as it takes a fundamentally different perception of the world that doesn't rely on gathering more and more information but relies on this kind of you know understanding of uncertainty that for me is what the Internet kind of shows to is that we can see all around the world these differences and loving attempting consi tent hegemonized them to actually like work out entirely different structure being without knowledge 2 questions backhand higher
and WikiLeaks here so I was a little bit curious and is your basic idea the premise of WikiLeaks in your mind that it's just about releasing information and everything instantly better diabetes maybe you could clarify the of that because I mean part of the thing we've always tried to
accomplish is to give people information so that they can take action exactly as I think you're doing with the information you see answer by reviewing those things by making them less hidden that actually helps us to correct things and a lot of journalists and they don't give you primary source information and 1 of the goals of WikiLeaks is to give you the information so you can see the biases the journalists actually bring to the table and then partnering with multiple media organizations you see each different bias come out from the same dataset so would it be accurate what you said and I I completely agree
support the stuff that the way characters of I would go back to actually at old paper geosciences in which he describes as in which he to what he does he do he talks about the kind network diagrams 60 is this kind of um army talks I think it was well basically introducing sand and grit into that system right so
the turn the system based on the song on secrecy and 1 the con function when the Wunderkinder jams the gears of it and I think that's kind of the I don't know
in any way disputes the total validity of giving people more information using that information to reveal the biases in in in other systems all of that stuff and I just think that a and I'm particularly the 1 at the at not necessary at the shop and of activism but also kind generally in everyday life like you know most of you governments and corporations or strength over big data in these kind of issues and stuff now and using that model of open data as somehow sort of magical in itself but I just for
me there's a further step beyond but what is the step beyond just educating people because actually it doesn't seem to be working is is a is a fundamental problem I have with it like that that pure
transparency on his own isn't doing it it's it's working in certain cases is applying certain things but it doesn't seem to be breeding like a different way of thinking that will restructure soft at a deeper level my my belief in was beyond border like make everyone co-teacher on programming of this kind of stuff and because the music scientist of terrible 1 a long time ago and learning to code gave me a structural understanding of the world that I applied in all kinds of domains allows me to see certain things that go by teaching people programming you automatically gain that knowledge you really don't don't we know if the number of people working in that occurred and maybe we don't you know I don't have
that position but thought is 1 of the ways of gaining a kind of systems literacy that seems like the most important literacy the 21st century I stole the same
about disclosure about transparency and I still think it's incredibly important invalid work but it doesn't seem to actually be shifting a worldview either and for me that's the question that I wanna keep putting away hi I'm you seem to have a fairly clear view of the world that we are in in 2015 if you had to paint should have a single unified picture of 2025 forward look like died don't do futurism of life style and his at this
at this uh kind of ridiculous game because it's it's it's completely unknowable it plays into and but the kind of conferences about present uh I like is said with with the kind of the NSA construction of admit citizenship and I talk about that because I know it is documented is something that is occurring now and I don't think we can very with any kind of meaningfulness talk about what the situation will being kind of 10 years time that we don't look at the the things that are happening in in the present and and look at how
we address those because it's or an incredibly rarely that we see the present clearly right head at any any talk about feature is also essentially always aware just kind of talking about the present and
. 20 20 phrase the 5 and I it's hugely contingent about decisions we make and then the strategies that we take right now in a more interesting than and any more questions
yeah OK for a lot of food for thought thought I have 1 last and system is similar to see said we a couple of times when you're on stage his his ever use the word limit of
difference and I had a number of different contexts this all question here hi I still are we supposed to be doing more transparency always supposed to be actually challenging this myth of Big data because it occurred to me right and and it's amazing that that is propagated by right
both necessary and the and to some degree can as well should our job be to show the holes in in this in this picture to show the the holes yeah absolutely every uh the we shouldn't be discounting
denote the dimple distance presence area in many many context but I think we're reaching a point because the technologies we built by this the the revolutionary pairs technologies we built the we are starting to see the world in ways that are changing our perceptions of it whether haven't done since the Enlightenment and I think that that is going to result in in serious
structural and I don't like saying you logical deliberately physical processes happen that fast but cognitive processes ways of understanding the
world that the we're hitting the limits of essentially because we're locked in his death grip of visible invisible no transparent a
page those kind of things that the they're ultimately inescapable but binary and absolutely what we should you know things that we need to be working on and they're they're useful strategies and but I also think and for me personally the more time I spend digging into these things the more than I just simply have the limits of of knowing more about them essentially and want some other form of accommodation with the world that's also that in potentially some kind of activist way some somewhere that that changes it as well so how so how do we do we do that how
do we focus on how is that the showing that we don't have a set of linear so there is you are going a show my work
uh that I was that that I proceeded this by the processes that you've seen the things that I look after mind and investigate and I don't know what that processes and I hope by showing my workings by talking to other people that we develop them as his structures the people you steal things other people a day and we we we build understand them but I am here to show not tell thanks so for most standing I good sleeping in my lap of going
back to the question of proper about so you know what's going to happen in 2025 I understand your reply that you don't do
Futuro futurology but do you have a vision really you want to be in 2025 were how and to simplify it should look like on the provision that should all
the school they should be dismantled all the all the rules should of data some labels commercial and government toward can be and do this should be and this is a thought this solution is that the re appropriation of these technologies for what your realize the reverberation redistribution of key term I I just I don't I don't know what I see is almost
completely parallel fear caring with ever greater technologies numbers is never greater inequalities occurring and you have a lot of that has not so much to technologies with capitalism with with with other kind of other forces and philosophical forces in society but there seems to be an opportunity it 3 these know cultural technologies which of all technology is always come from Somerset to to to rethink bodies and did the simple aim always the same offer starting more just saw 2 of these countries a fills me that opportunity is not actually being no where as radically explored as there as this the technology is radical itself
and that's that's that's the thing that to me is missing missing the yeah from high could draw them over here and the does matter from all who I am wondering if there's 1 thing we are which is driving all this so uh I think the last decades we saw in him demands rays of information technology so right now we have a world where everybody knows a lot of things aboard to other countries all this
from and we still have a very very big imbalance on the world's between poor rich some living on other people's costs all that and I think that this imbalance is driving a lot of this arm actions which were going on so we have 1 on 1 side we have this information going round and I was wondering if there the transparency and all this is helping to eventually use so we are in the the revolution area right now time so that so this technology will help to balance our what's that the other levels on our planet and that the end of the this whole issues will will die out or will we just strength and that so what do you think about that I have 1st not sure much much to add to us through previously said about it which
is that I I don't don't see that working by default here but I don't I don't actually see a huge amount of evidence that those kind of changes in the in medical there and I know these things take a century or more and then like I told you down further further for continuing to do them continuing to his potentials but they don't seem to be adding anything radically to understanding the world and the thing like you come back to that event c us from the repeating myself and and it's I'd I don't see them changing those a radical inequalities in a huge way and adjusted then decrease that and I don't really understand how they do it because they actually seem ultimately different from forms that existed on the political systems on under the democratic capitalism the best thing we sort of so far developed uh inside that seems to be going backwards and it doesn't seem to be being assisted by the bodies of stretches well the 1 final quiz pressing his point of cross it when I signed never here thank you hello I'm over know you can see is that of the I think that I've time consistent and then I'm sorry I'm not accustomed to their work and I would be interested Hallstein's you a bit published in traditional media in the UK the traditional media either hardware or your takes
of what it was to I think that the journalism questions quite interesting here as the article about the books for the Guardian
which is not really which is sort of connected to this uh but not really a shadow of past life so I have in with traditional media to some extent and occasionally I get the right stuff the those I think the system is analogous to those the wider situation of a particular vested journalism say which there is that the most of those media have kind of remove themselves like ground and what's really exciting is to see groups whether you know these these independent groups of the picking out where this kind of uh media came from and but you know I've always essentially use the Web primarily as as a platform for this stuff and it's nice to be up to kind of tag yourself the prestige of having similar traditional media
but the as I'm sure all of us know here like you can have more extraordinary animal wider conversations
online site it is final final 1 from right up here yes thank you James it was it like her I hadn't seen you works those values to encounter at my name is justin and I just wonder empty theory debating Jacob from Wikileaks is is fascinating in a republic a moment maybe and and how how do you some you know perhaps you were very much on the side of transparency by exposing these flights and so is your you it's house like maybe you're disappointed with the the the change you've been able to affect thus far it that you're up here now serve the holding of transparency is this flawed ideal is that perhaps I mean did you see change come as a result of publishing these
because I was sitting in the front seat like holy shit and everyone the jet center again with the straight face you know or whatever as with no I didn't I mean that's not that's that's not entirely why get up and like travels
transparency uh but but like this is my experience of it but it's also the experience loss as here happening elsewhere you know the vast grander scale that they know the main result of the Snowden revelations as important as they are as being too lossy legitimizes operation 3 like we make them clearer they got signed into law and that has been 1 of the larger effects this has you know we know about them so we can we can strategically react to the mom is really important we know that but on a grand scale the kind of everyday scales it's not too a just a simplest that I don't make any grand claims for my own work to a friend and I or people
formal organized and and then command greater organizations and do far far the grander scale work on this kind of area but what I do is
I know I didn't expect a particulars of many of these investigations as much as the unjust you know it's a funny strongly what I am capable of the up with you know a bit of curiosity and internet connection and it's really bad attitudes that I'm more interested like I'm not so interesting I guess in the ultimate in spreading the information itself I'm interested in like spreading the attitude that this information is available to you directly
and not necessarily want another organization another kind of disciplines kind of to reveal the stuff to you but that this this kind of questioning this kind of exploration action the default behavior for
everyone yeah thank you so much James and he what's brilliant thank Celestial being whether for this Republican with get in the hands of the day OK great
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