Matt Hannah Interviewed on Dark Territories

Exploring Geopolitics has an excellent lengthy interview with Matt Hannah on his latest book Dark Territories in the Information Age.

On the parallels to protest today:

It is perhaps more interesting to note that the parallels between issues of anonymity in physical public spaces and anonymity in the virtual world of electronic information were already clear then. At the same time that boycotters were challenging the state’s ‘epistemic sovereignty’, its right to know everything about the people living within its borders, struggles raged in the streets and courtrooms over whether protestors should be allowed to cover their faces and wear improvised armour (motorcycle helmets, etc.).

The right to see faces and to coerce or injure bodies, like the right to gather personal data and use it to coerce compliant behaviour, were explicitly seen as part of the emergence of what Hamburg activists called ‘cybernocracy’.

In the Occupy movements of today, these links remain clear, even if the strategic and tactical struggles have moved into new areas, for example in protestors’ use of their own camera drones to track police movements.

On the possibilities of “informatinal citizenship” (one of the big takeaways from the book, for me):

By the term informational citizenship I mean a way of seeing many different kinds of knowledge about people, not just knowledge about their preferences among official parties or candidates, as forms of political representation. To exercise informational citizenship would thus be to get involved actively in decisions about what kinds of knowledge are gathered about us, linked to what sorts of social ontologies, by what organisations, to what purpose, what is done with that knowledge, how is it stored and for how long, etc.


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