Discussion after the presentations at the Drone Warfare Seminar, including Liam Mitchell, Anas Karzai, Michael Dartnell, Christopher Parsons, Adam Molnar, and Arthur Kroker.
Christopher Parsons and Adam Molnar, University of Victoria
Faced with growing unrest that is (at least in part) facilitated by digital communications, repressive nation-states have integrated powerful new surveillance systems into the depths of their nations’ communications infrastructures. In this presentation, Christopher Parsons first discusses the capabilities of a technology, deep packet inspection, which is used to survey, analyze, and modify communications in real-time. He then discusses the composition of the Iranian and Tunisian telecommunications infrastructure, outlining how deep packet inspection is used to monitor, block, and subvert encrypted and private communications. The presentation concludes with a brief reflection on how this same technology is deployed in the West, with a focus on how we might identify key actors, motivations, and drivers of the technology in our own network ecologies.
When a person clicks a hyperlink they manifest their liberty by expressing a preference, and in the process transmit personal data to a particular website. Expressing one’s liberty is essential to the development of personal identity, but when it comes to digital expressions of self-hood what (and who) operates between the click of the button and data’s destination? This paper investigates how Internet Service Providers’ efforts to ‘secure’ and ‘manage’ digital networks, specifically as it pertains to data analysis technologies, can impact the development of individuals’ personal identities. With increasingly sophisticated data analysis technologies being deployed across digital networks online actions are associated with discrete public identities, making it increasingly challenging to hide one’s ‘real’ or ‘analogue’ identity while online . This coalescence of digital and analogue identities threatens to transform the Internet from a fertile environment that is conducive to identity-formation to one where self-censorship before the gaze of the public is commonplace.
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