Big Data is entering our lives in undeniably BIG ways, including the broad-based prediction and
compliance policing of detail that is described in the passages above. It’s poised to become a much greater
part of your lives, as you move fully into maturity. Whether it’s the data collection, analysis and interventions
that comes from the various forms of Predictive Policing, to the massive and wholesale collection and analysis
of metadata and purloined data (from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook etc.) of the NSA (which itself mimics
while exceeding the mining of such data by private companies).
Your essay assignment:
First, watch the BBC video “Surveillance and Citizenship” (Aimee’s Day)
Then, read and watch the various pieces on “The Internet of Things;
Add in the Greenfield video on public objects;
Realize that all of this is “grist for the mill” for new forms of predictive analytics, which has become an
über-logic of contemporary society;
Reflect on the intensification of data collection and analysis that is clearly coming YOUR way, as
young adults, mostly without regulation (at this point);
Assess the usefulness of the quote (“Life is the Object of Police”).
Then, remember that previously, you were asked to assess, on a continuum of sorts, various practices around
predictive policing (which is one of these many “data-driven” activities), as to which were most laudable and
which were somewhat questionable.
This assignment EXTENDS that kind of analysis to other data-driven activities who are defined by various
agendas and practices, such as the following: (This list is NOT exhaustive)
3 Dennis, Dion. 2006. “Policing the Convergence of Virtual and Material Worlds: The True Object of Police is Man,” in CTHEORY, Arthur and
Marilouise Kroker, editors, Victoria, BC, Canada: Available at http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=567 (The article cites material
from the 1991 book, “The Foucault Effect,” Colin Gordon, editor and the 2005 book “Spychips,” by Katherine Albrecht. those who deploy data collection and analysis as part of cost/benefit equations (doing more with less,
loss reduction, etc. which are major arguments, for example, for various forms of predictive policing);
those who deploy data collection and analysis for the production of “decision advantages” (which is the
NSA’s raison d’ etre, however ambiguously, fluidly and contextually the NSA might define it in any given
those who deploy data collection and analysis as a key component of anti-terrorism activity (which
seems to be the major raison d’etre of the FBI, post 9/11);
those who deploy data collection and analysis and the enhancement of personal and groups security as
well as for convenience and profit (such transnational corporations such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo,
Microsoft, LinkedIn, etc.). Often, the fruits of such continuous data gathering and compilation go to
insurance companies and their actuarial allies in other institutions, including marketers, governments,
credit bureaus and the like.
Question 1.1. Beginning with “Aimee’s Day,” and then adding in the likelihood of devices
hooked to the Internet of Things adding to the density of data flows (something certainly
suggested by the scene in the Tesco grocery story), speculate (with facts, logic and inferencing)
how the details of “Amee’s Day” might fit into one or more types of predictive policing? If
so, which one(s)? How? If not, why not?
Question 1.2. Does “data-driven” preventive/predictive policing, augmented by continuous and
intensive data-flows represent, as fact or possibility, a Dictatorship of Data? If so, how? If not,
why not? (Please analyze using the SPECIFIC types of pitfalls
Question 1.3.1. In my article, I suggest that the fundamental activities and nature of policing
have changed – Life is now the Object of Police . . . the objects it embraces are infinite in
nature . . .,” particularly given the emergence of the Internet of Things, and the spread of cheap,
To what extent do you think (again, use logic and evidence) that the fundamental activities of
policing are changing, from the mid-20th Century model, to this new model of total surveillance,
continuous and multiple collection of data flows, flow that are subject to real-time assessment?
On the other hand, if you think that basic policing functions and objects are not fundamentally
changing, explain how that is so, as well (while taking into account the technological and
informational changes that are now well underway).
Question 1.3.2. How do you view your potential future career possibilities in the field, given the
rise of these new zones of visibility?
Question 1.3.3. Have the revealed activities of the NSA, beginning with the Snowden revelations
in 2013, been an example of these trends (collecting everything, knowing everything), in whole or
in part? If so, how? If not, why not?