NeoConOpticon - The EU Security-Industrial Complex by Ben Hayes

25/09/2009 - 13:38

In this new report by Statewatch and the Transnational Institute: NeoConOpticon - The EU Security-Industrial Complex, Ben Hayes claims: "Despite the often benign intent behind collaborative European ‘research’ into integrated land, air, maritime, space and cyber-surveillance systems, the EU’s security and R&D policy is coalescing around a high-tech blueprint for a new kind of security. It envisages a future world of red zones and  green zones; external borders controlled by military force and internally by a sprawling network of physical and virtual security checkpoints;  public spaces, micro-states and ‘mega events’ policed by high-tech surveillance systems and rapid reaction forces; ‘peacekeeping’ and ‘crisis  management’ missions that make no operational distinction between the suburbs of Basra or the Banlieue; and the increasing integration of defence and national security functions at home and abroad.

It is not just a case of “sleepwalking into” or “waking up to” a “surveillance society”, as the UK’s Information Commissioner famously warned, it feels more like turning a blind eye to the start of a new kind of arms race, one in which all the weapons are pointing inwards. Welcome to the NeoConOpticon."
Our attention was recently drawn to a FP 7 Security Research brochure (pdf) that lists the interim results of 45 projects that are examples of this kind of inward thinking. We believe that this security paradigm is detrimental to building trust, to business opportunities (who makes money in a prison?), to innovation (scared people do not innovate) and to the idea of vital life itself. Therefore we believe the "winning solution" to making the most open, inclusive and innovative Internet of Things is to transcend the short-term opposition between social innovation and security by finding a way to combine these two necessities in a broader common perspective.