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Tony Bunyan: Just over the horizon  3

completeness of the surveillance tools that are available to the state. We will, then, have chipped biometric documents for a passport, ID card, driving licence and medical records. How long will it be before we have one state document carrying all this data? And how long before the same document/‘chip’ gives us access to so-called ‘e-government’ services, like borrowing a library book, going to a doctor, claiming benefit, and so on? To this scenario must be added the measures already in place in the EU for the surveillance of telecommunications and of travel. For there will not only be a mass of data stored on each individual, from a bewildering variety of entry points, there is also the potential to monitor that individual as he or she goes about their daily activities. In 2005 the EU adopted a directive on mandatory data retention, requiring all service providers to retain communications data for phone calls, faxes, emails, mobile phone calls (including the location) and internet usage. This is now being implemented across the EU. And in the autumn of 2007 the European Commission put forward a proposal for an EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record) scheme to track all travel in and out of the EU.5 Thus, a subject could, potentially, be monitored almost in ‘real time’. And the profile that can be constructed of a targeted person’s life with all this data (plus that pulled in from commercial sources) may well be highly intrusive and open to abuse – giving western states a capability the old Soviet Union would have been proud of.

If asked whether they wanted in live in George Orwell’s ‘1984’, few would say ‘yes’, but most would make no connection with the sweeping changes happening before their eyes or planned for the immediate future. This is partly because such changes are hidden in plain sight, as it were, under this directive or that directive, this draft order or that. People do not know or understand the make-up of the ‘big picture’ and, anyway, they think they will be all right – after all, this only affects ‘illegal immigrants’, criminals and terrorists, not them. Those who do understand, through their everyday experiences, are those directly affected, migrants, migrant communities (especially Muslim ones), the unemployed, the poor and the marginalised. But they have no voice and no power.

The diagnosis What, though, has driven this process? In what do its origins lie? While 11 September 2001 and the ‘war on terrorism’ are usually seen as driving the creation of a surveillance society, with its international parameters and cross-border reach, this view dehistoricises that moment. Of course, it is true that many of the substantive developments have taken off since then, particularly relating to international travel, but, in essence, the creation of the surveillance society long preceded 11 September. What 11 September did was to remove the democratic constraints on the use and development of widespread mass surveillance technologies.

The creation of the surveillance society is best understood as an aspect of globalisation. Though it has hitherto been little examined as such, it has to be seen through this prism. Globalisation was already well under way by the 1980s, although often not recognised at the time.6 By the late 1990s, its effects were

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