ITA-Seminar, Kirstie BALL (The Open University), 11.11.2014, 16:00 Uhr

The Private Security State? Surveillance, Consumer Data and the War on Terror

The last decade has witnessed a blurring of the boundaries between public and private sector organisations in relation to national security. This blurring has shifted from the private provision of physical security services and infrastructure, to the provision of the very data which enable decisions about risk and deployment to be made. Pre-empting the moves of risky, targeted individuals using vast datasets gleaned from any number of sources is de rigueur in neoliberal government discourse and doctrine.

In this new politics of pre-emption, mined data about the past transactions and activities of citizens become the template for risk analysis about future threats. Securitised data about customers begins to flow between the private sector and government. Information about the financial transactions, locations and communications of citizens is ‘among the most important and valuable’ for national security (US Director of National Intelligence).

How do these new government demands for information intertwine with the activities of private sector organizations? How do private organizations achieve compliance with demands for customer data? How are their business operations altered and how are customer relationships and employees affected?

This talk examines the implications of this policy move to pre-emption for those private sector organizations which are mandated to provide information and empowered by government to make these sovereign decisions.


Prof. Kirstie Ball is Professor of Organization at The Open University Business School