This reports includes an interview with historian Jacques Rupnik, who makes what we might call a Marcusian point:
It is taking place with the active participation of all the great achievements of the last 15-20 years. Google, internet, Twitter... all of them have participated. All the things that we consider formidable advances in horizontal communication have proven to be means of enhancing control from above. This is, I think, food for thought for those who reflect about new media and democratisation.No technology is inherently liberating. Unless it controlled by a society that is free and protects people's freedom, it can and will be used as an instrument of domination.
Even in societies that in recognize and practice democratic freedom, massive surveillance can be used to seriously undermine free institutions.
Since I'm making a reference to Herbert Marcuse here, it's worth noting that during the Second World War, he worked with the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a predecessor organization to the CIA. It certainly couldn't be said that he opposed all government surveillance in all circumstances!
And, yes, his perspective on technology and society was being formed by himself and others of the Frankfurt School well before that time. It was one important focus they took from existential philosophy.
Tags: herbert marcuse, frankfurt school, frankfurter schule, nsa spying