Hyper-power and private monopoly: the unholy marriage of\ud (neo) corporatism and the imperial surveillance state

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Marsden, Chris (2014)

American hyper-power world dominance by public and private agencies has replaced British Empire hyper-power world domination in the period 1815-1914. Snowden’s revelations have given rise to several important papers examining the geographical and territorial limits on the Internet, comparing it to the imperial telegraph (Kurbalija 2013) and even to the Roman imperial road (Moglen 2013). This paper recalls earlier telegraphy research (Standage 1999, Hills 2007) and explains how the previous hyperpower\ud (Marsden 2004, describing a global super-power without effective opposition, from the French hyperpuissance)\ud was able to control communications in order to extend its extraterritorial application of domestic law. I\ud explain that the telegraph ‘cables that girdled the Earth’ (Clarke 1958) were sunk into the sea in Cornwall,\ud southwest England, and that today’s Internet fibre cables are in the same places – with the result that the greatest\ud National Security Agency espionage-gathering operation is a joint US/UK operation from the small town of Bude,\ud Cornwall. Add to that espionage the invention of encryption/decryption computing, devices from Babbage’s\ud Difference Engine to Turing and Tommy Flower’s Colossus Marks I and II that broke both Enigma and Lorenz1.\ud The recipe now exists for what the National Security Agency calls ‘Total Information Awareness’ and the\ud Orwellian nightmare of totally efficient surveillance and ‘war is peace’ according to the Ministry of Truth2. But it\ud existed before, and we should learn from the past.
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