Surveillance in the News

June 2, 2014

A selection of quotes on surveillance from the news.


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Surveillance in the news.

“Putting whole populations—the whole human species—under continuous, total surveillance is a profoundly immoral act, no matter whether it works or not”
(Cory Doctorow, “’Cybersecurity’ Begins with Integrity, Not Surveillance,” Guardian, May 9, 2014,

“1952 – President Harry Truman secretly issues a directive to create the National Security Agency, which allows the Defense Department to consolidate surveillance activities after World War II”
(Gabriel Debenedetti, “Factbox: History of Mass Surveillance in the United States,” Reuters, June 7, 2013,

“I spend most of my time assuming the world is not ready for the technology revolution that will be happening to them soon.”
(Eric Schmidt quoted in MG Siegler, “Eric Schmidt: Every 2 Days We Create As Much Information As We Did Up To 2003,”, August 4, 2010,

“Frankly, I think just from a moral point of view, if something is seriously wrong in our society then we have a responsibility to attempt to assess it appropriately — no kneejerk responses, no mere paranoia, no mere Big Brother fear – but, we have a responsibility to oppose that which is clearly inappropriate. And surveillance often has negative effects on human flourishing, particularly because through its sorting capacities it tends to reinforce social differences and further disadvantage groups that are already marginalized.”
(David Lyon quoted in Rebecca Bowe, “Freedom Not Fear: David Lyon on Contemporary Surveillance,” Electronic Frontier Foundation, September 12, 2012,

“Reports about government surveillance have shown there is a real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information. The US government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right.”
(Mark Zuckerberg,“Global Government Surveillance Reform,” Reform Government Surveillance,

“A new drone base in northwest Africa would join a constellation of small airstrips in recent years on the continent, including in Ethiopia, for surveillance missions flown by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft”
(Eric Schmitt, “U.S. Weighs Base for Spy Drones in North Africa,” New York Times, January 28, 2013,

“The Predator system was designed in response to a Department of Defense requirement to provide to the warfighter persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information combined with a kill capability.”
(U.S. Air Force, “MQ-1B Predator,” U.S. Air Force, July 20, 2010,

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Surveillance in the news.

“The NSA data center in Bluffdale could require as many as 1.7 million gallons of water per day to operate and keep computers cool”
(Andrew Adams, “New Utah NSA Center Requires 1.7M Gallons of Water Daily to Operate,”, July 12, 2013,

“Microsoft has more than 1 million servers, according to CEO Steve Ballmer (July, 2013).”
(Rich Miller, “Who Has the Most Web Servers?,” Data Center Knowledge, July 2014,

“Data centers consume approximately 1.3% of worldwide electricity use”
(Tessel Renzenbrink, “Data Centers Use 1.3% of World’s Total Electricity. A Decline in Growth,” Tech the Future, August 2, 2011,

“Datacenters are the outward embodiment of a huge range of public and private services, from banking to electronic voting, government bureaucracy to social networks. As such, they stand as a new form of civic architecture, at odds with their historical desire for anonymity.”
(James Bridle, “Secret Servers,” [blog], September 13, 2011,

“Preserving values such as subjectivity and ambiguity is especially important at a time when it is easy to believe that all solutions are computable, and that they are hosted on a server and stored in a Data Centre.”
(Olga Subirós and José Luis de Vicente, “What data can’t tell. The tyranny of data-centrism,” Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, May 2014,

“There are between 4 million and 5.9 million CCTV surveillance cameras in the UK.”
(Tom Reeve, “BSIA Attempts to Clarify Question of How Many CCTV Cameras There Are in the UK,” Security News Desk, July 2013,

“Sentry360, a USA-based manufacturer of advanced Ultra-HD surveillance cameras and systems, announced today the successful deployment of the largest 360-degree surveillance camera system in mass transit history. The final project includes 3600 Sentry360 cameras on nearly 900 rail cars. . . . Thomas Carnevale, Sentry360’s CEO explained, ‘This project sets a new standard in public transportation video surveillance. Our solution will be examined and modeled in mass transit systems all around the world.’”
(“Sentry360 Announces the Largest 360-degree Camera Deployment in Mass Transit History,” Business Wire, March 19, 2014,

“Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States—about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images”
(Ron Nixon, “U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement,” New York Times, July 3, 2013,

“The city of Berlin, currently undergoing the biggest real estate boom since German reunification, has been chosen to pilot a global initiative monitoring urban development and decay over the next century. Instigated by experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats in cooperation with the Berlin-based team titanic gallery, the unauthorized surveillance program will use ultra-long-exposure cameras to continuously document 100 years of municipal growth and decay for scrutiny and judgment by future generations.”
(Jonathon Keats, “CenturyCamera: An Intergenerational Surveillance Program,” Team Titanic, May 9, 2014,

“Since facial-recognition algorithms rely on the identification and spatial relationship of key facial features, like symmetry and tonal contours, one can block detection by creating an ‘anti-face’”
(Adam Harvey, “Face to Anti-Face,” New York Times, December 13, 2013,

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Surveillance in the news.

“Mayors in places including Copenhagen and Hamburg hope to cut their cities’ energy and water use and waste by upgrading municipal services so they can monitor how services are delivered and pinpoint where savings can be found.”
(Mark Scott, “Old World, New Tech,” New York Times, April 21, 2014,

“In Barcelona, where the unemployment rate remains above 20 percent, the city expects to cut its water bill by 25 percent this year after installing sensors in local parks. The annual savings are expected to total almost $60 million.”
(Mark Scott, “Old World, New Tech,” New York Times, April 21, 2014,

“Chicago is one of the half-dozen key vertebrae in the nation’s digital backbone because it lies at the center of many of the fiber optic cables that stretch between New York and California, the country’s major connection points to the rest of the world via cables under the oceans. Chicago has the third-biggest fiber optic capacity of any metro area in the country, behind New York and Washington. And three of the world’s largest data centers are in Chicago or its suburbs.”
(John Pletz, “How Chicago Became One of the Nation’s Most Digital Cities,” Crain’s Chicago Business, September 17, 2012,

“Launching the World Council on City Data along with other cities provides us with an opportunity to benchmark the performance of City of Toronto services to the services of other global cities, learn from other cities, and together address challenges that our cities may face.”
(Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly quoted in Jackie DeSouza, “World Council on City Data Launched in Toronto,” May 15, 2014,

“The Copenhagen Wheel turns the bike you already own, quickly and easily into an electric bike with regeneration and real-time environmental sensing capabilities. The wheel harvests the energy you input while braking and cycling and stores it for when you need a bit of a boost. At the same time, sensors in the wheel are collecting information about air and noise pollution, congestion and road conditions.”
(The Copenhagen Wheel,

“In experiencing these machines at work, we start to understand that the Internet is not a weightless, immaterial, invisible cloud, and instead to appreciate it as a very distinct physical, architectural and material system.”
(Timo Arnall, “Internet Machine,” [blog], May 13, 2014,

“Those who cannot perceive the network cannot act effectively within it, and are powerless. The job, then, is to make such things visible.”
(James Bridle, “Under the Shadow of the Drone,” [blog], October 11, 2012,

“The ability of data to flow or be accessed across borders is essential to a robust 21st century global economy.”
(“Global Government Surveillance Reform,” Reform Government Surveillance,

“As fiber technology grew in capacity, One Wilshire became not only a staging ground for connecting to the local system, it became a peer-to-peer connection point. In the fourth floor Meet Me Room, telcos are allowed to run interconnects directly between each other without charge. The result is a dramatic cost savings for the companies that results in the highest per-square-foot rents on the North American continent.”
(Kazys Varnelis, “Towers of Concentration, Lines of Growth,” [blog], May 27, 2005,

“You are shedding data everywhere.”
(John Podesta quoted in David E. Sanger and Steve Lohr, “Call for Limits on Web Data of Customers,” New York Times, May 1, 2014,

Social surveillance is the use of Web 2.0 sites like Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare to see what friends, family, and acquaintances are up to.”
(Alice E. Marwick, “The Public Domain: Surveillance in Everyday Life,” Surveillance & Society 9, no. 4 (2012): 378-393).

“Self-quantifying is being taken seriously by start-ups, in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, which are launching new devices and software aimed at self-trackers. It may even provide a glimpse of the future of health care, in which a greater emphasis is placed on monitoring, using a variety of gizmos, to prevent disease, prolong lives and reduce medical costs.”
(“Counting Every Moment,” Economist, March 3, 2012,

“It’s a good time to revisit both public and private data collection and handling.”
(Jonathan Zittrain [Co-Founder and Director, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University] quoted in David E. Sanger, “In Surveillance Debate, White House Turns Its Focus to Silicon Valley,” New York Times, May 2, 2014,

“All of the [Public School 46 in Bayside, Queens] school’s classes, from grades one through five, meet with Ms. Elias, the technology teacher, once a week to learn about sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat”
(Alex Vadukul, “In a Queens School, an Early Start on Preparing ‘Responsible Digital Citizens,’” New York Times, April 10, 2014,

“[Fisa Amendments Act] FAA warrants are issued by the Fisa court for up to 12 months at a time, and authorise the collection of bulk information—some of which can include communications of US citizens, or people inside the US. To intentionally target either of those groups requires an individual warrant.”
(Glenn Greenwald and James Ball, “The Top Secret Rules That Allow NSA to Use US Data Without a Warrant,” Guardian, June 20, 2013,

“20 Day Stranger is an iPhone app that reveals intimate, shared connections between two anonymous individuals. It’s a mobile experience that exchanges one person’s experience of the world with another’s, while preserving anonymity on both sides.
For 20 days, you and a stranger will experience the world in your own way, together. You’ll never know who it is or exactly where they are, but we hope it will reveal enough about someone to build your imagination of their life . . . and more broadly, the imagination of strangers everywhere.”

(“20 Day Stranger,” The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT and the MIT Media Lab Playful Systems, accessed May 24, 2014,

“Blackbar is a text game set in a dystopian future of surveillance and censorship. Censorship is frustrating, but the human spirit can beat that frustration by turning it…into a game.”
(Blackbar Press Game,

“Works such as Enemy of the State, Strange Days, Rising Sun, The End of Violence, Eagle Eye, Vantage Point, Untraceable, Déjà vu, Surveillance, Minority Report, Sliver, Caché, The Lives of Others, and The Wire all organize their narratives entirely around surveillance technologies and practices, while others such as the Saw series, District 9, Body of Lies, Lost Highway, Captivity, Panic Room, Snake Eyes, and any number of contemporary action films utilize surveillance technologies as an occasional narrative or stylistic device.”
(Catherine Zimmer. “Surveillance Cinema: Narrative between Technology and Politics,” Surveillance & Society 8, no. 4 (2011): 427-440).

“Sony Pictures Entertainment has optioned film rights to Glenn Greenwald’s ‘No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State’”
(Tatiana Siegel, “Sony Nabs Film Rights to Edward Snowden Book ‘No Place to Hide,’” Hollywood Reporter, May 14, 2014,