Mapping Out Cybercrimes in a Cyberspatial Surveillant Assemblage
THE INTENSIFICATION OF SURVEILLANCE: CRIME TERRORISM AND WARFARE IN THE INFORMATION AGE, ch. 7. pp.112-36, Webster, F. and Ball, K., eds., London: Pluto Press, 2003
Posted: 13 Jun 2005
Perhaps the most transformative aspect of the Internet is its capability to foster networks of interaction that are distributed across almost infinite spans of space whilst also converging a range of different information technologies. Significant here is the fact that the networks generate multiple information flows which are also multi-directional, thus providing levels and types of connectivity not previously experienced by communications technologies. The Internet is not simply a super (Poster, 1995), virtual (Engberg, 1996) or electronic (Lyon, 1994: ch 4) Panopticon: an extension of Foucault's conceptualisation of Bentham's prison design - seeing without being seen (Foucault, 1983: 223), as has become the conventional wisdom. It is important to emphasise that Internet information flows are both panoptic and synoptic, because not only can the few watch the many, but the many can also watch the few (Mathieson, 1997: 215). The multi-directional informational flow helps to make the internet a distinctive surveillant assemblage (Haggerty and Ericson, 2000: 605) with an idolatrous dream of omniperception and a minacious twinkle in the electronic eye (Lyon, 2001a: 147). These processes can create enormous benefits for society, but the same processes also create opportunities for new and distinctive forms of criminal and harmful behaviours. Mapping out these behaviours to provide further understanding of cybercrimes will be the purpose of this chapter.
Keywords: Cybercrime, surveillance, assemblage
JEL Classification: K42, K19, K29
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation