This chapter tracks the expansion of digital surveillance across consumer activities, military actions, social media, and digital communications. It assesses a de facto commitment across corporations and state agencies to ubiquitous surveillance; that is, to real time collection of digital information and the production of large, permanent, ever-growing data sets subject to emerging and automated algorithmic assessment. Ubiquitous surveillance blurs distinctions between war and peace, intelligence and commerce, as well as public and private to an unprecedented degree. It also assumes that a full integration of data collection and data mining into everyday life is ultimately possible, encouraging the transformation of everyday objects, public spaces, expert encounters of every kind (medical, financial, communications), transportation systems, and commerce into connectible modes of surveillance. Tracking, observing, and screening, in other words, are becoming the basic tools of social institutions, making the individual less a citizen-subject than an informational node in an ever-emerging system of automated data collection and processing. Ultimately, this chapter argues that data collection is a critical terrain on which a new social contract is being forged in the 21st century.
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