bodies,” bodies that were ideal for the
regimented classrooms, factories, and
military of the modern state. Docility
can take many forms: Dawn Schrader,
for example, has noted the impact of
surveillance/observation on knowledge acquisition patterns; the individual under surveillance is intellectually docile, less likely to experiment or
to engage in what she calls “epistemic
stretch.” 39 Surveillance can literally
make us dumber over time. The impact
of the perception of surveillance on cellular users is thus to limit experimentation by the users, who subsequently
channel speech into “safe” and innocuous pathways. It follows that given
the growing importance of the cellular platform as a means for political
speech, the surveillance capabilities
inherent in the design of cellular networks are a problem with deep political ramifications.
Active surveillance creates another,
overlapping, set of problems for the individual and society. The first lies in the
use of the data to sort individuals into
categories that may limit their options
in various ways. In the second, the information flows themselves are manipulative. We begin with the problem of
sorting, and then move on to the latter
form of manipulation.
IllustratIon By aleX WIllIaMson
In The Panoptic Sort, Oscar Gandy investigated the means by which panoptic
data is used to classify and sort individuals. 20 Law enforcement, for example,
uses data to “profile” and thereby sort
people into those who are suspicious
and those who appear relatively harmless. Credit agencies use personal data
to perform a finer sort, allocating individuals into varying levels of credit worthiness. Direct marketers use a similar
approach to determine who is most
likely to buy a given range of products.
Gandy notes that the latter creates an insidious form of discrimination, as individuals are relegated to different information streams based on the likelihood
they will buy a given item or service, and
individual perspectives and life opportunities are correspondingly limited.
In the cellular context, such sort-
ing is performed by both the service
providers and third-party marketers.
As we have seen, exemplars from both
groups have fought against FCC re-
strictions on the use of CPNI for selec-
tive marketing of communication and