Weaver and Pallitto, Extraordinary Rendition. View all notes The US army during the World War I was certainly among the first to develop a strategy of intelligence sharing with certain protocols organising levels of differential access. Information processing drove an imperative to share information across national lines with allies. View all notes Nevertheless, the process of extension of meaning of intelligence information, the globalisation of the risk narrative and digitization, have extended the phenomenon beyond the capacity of controls, and with internet developments it was almost impossible not to have disclosures of the practices of interception.
It remained a synonym for espionage, of course, but it also came to mean any sort of information that decision makers might need to select a course of action. Warner, The Rise and Fall of Intelligence , 1. This implies a reversal of causality. Intelligence has been the end results of many different practices, heterogeneous and on the move in terms of purposes and technologies.
It has not been an organisational principle regulating nationally state survival and interests. The government of one country has never been in practice in a monopolistic position. The state is a field of action, not an actor. And some transnational fields have intersected strongly with the national state field, even gaining supremacy where sending secret information to a foreign agency was considered as a more important loyalty to respect than the one with the national politicians. This does not mean that in other cases the national imperative is not working against foreign collaboration if sensitive matters industrial secrets for example are at stake.
There’s more than the CIA and FBI: The 17 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community
Typically, the CIA has posted advice for US government operatives infiltrating Shengen explaining how to avoid controls to conduct action on allied territories without their knowledge. But, beyond the anecdotes of commercial influences and the fact that some countries are not under a no-spy agreement, even those with such an agreement have been subjected to spying through collaboration between the agencies working on the same domain but simultaneously with the ignorance of the other national agencies, and even of the government. Allegations have been made that if the suspicion of terrorism regarding a foreigner may compromise US interests, they may not inform the targeted country, even if it is an ally.
In addition to these complex situations, where important information is not delivered, we may add also cases where the allied agencies are aware but do not communicate with their own political authorities. Paradoxically, it could be said these cases are rare, but are often among the most important to know for the national security of the country at the governmental level.
When they are kept inside a specific channel, the game is therefore more highly complex than the image on national-foreign exchange may suggest. Greenwald develops different cases including cases where the ally partner of the NSA is asked to spy, for the profit of a foreign partner, on its own citizen ot its own government as in the case of Angela Merkel phone. It is still difficult to know if it was with his agreement or not. The consequences of this de-monopolisation are sometimes not fully considered. The national state game is only one of the many games for intelligence data.
We suggest the need to de-essentialize the state even more. It is important to take into consideration the changes to the fields of power at the transnational level and how they affect politics.
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Reasoning in terms of national security is no longer a coherent way to understand how shared secrecy is connected and circulates, how public and private actors are now so intertwined that we have to speak of hybrid security and not of a public-private partnership, and in addition to explain the multiplication of the effective practices of secret services which pass through the publication of nominal lists of suspects individual and organisations and call for the collaboration of the public in the identification and localisation of these suspects.
This shift is what I have called the emergence of a digital reason of state on a transnational scale. If it is crucial to do a sociogenesis of the secret intelligence field to avoid the illusion that it is completely new, it is also important to observe the transformations connected with the eruption of the digital age and the ease of surveillance which facilitate both the sharing of information and the explosion of secrets and uncovering of them via internet technologies and the role of private companies. I insist here that the scale and scope of surveillance and the transnationalization of intelligence services we have witnessed over the last few years require a renewed investigation of contemporary world security practices on the one hand, but also a careful mapping of our very own categories of analysis on the other.
Sovereignty, secrecy, security communities, territory, border control, technology, intelligence and rule of law have inevitably ended up meaning different things for different people. What is under question is not one of these categories over another, but how all these categories have simultaneously changed.
Gary Cordner and Kathryn Scarborough
Bigo et al. This has created a spiral effect. The division between internal and external practices of intelligence and secrecy, while maintained to ease the possibility without warrant on foreign intelligence is de facto obsolete. It does not mean that we are encountering a merging of internal and external into a global without boundaries, but we observe a logic where, intersubjectively, everything is analysed either as external or internal depending on the interests of the surveillant-actors, even if, more recently, the Courts have tried to reverse the reasoning of the services and to show that they cannot choose the legislation of foreign or domestic the way they want, but have to regulate the interception with more general principles: necessity, proportionality.
Cole et al.
This is what we will examine now. What have been the consequences for the targets of intelligence of the change of regime of intelligence data privileging transnational exchanges and digitization? Certainly, digitization at the world scale has been contemporary to the phenomenon of hybridization of the public and private logic. This has created many questions about the level of participation of many private entities into the circulation of information on one side and of their participation in channels of secret intelligence, either indirectly, as provider of information they retain but do not analyse themselves, or more directly when they are asked to contribute to develop them.
These two phenomena of hybridization and digitization have transformed the relation between intelligence, surveillance and obedience or compliance in everyday democracy. This has been done in western countries without much protest, and even after the disclosures of practices in such a detailed manner and with the participation of major newspapers, the general public has considered that it was a question for professionals, not for them, to decide on the boundaries between secret procedures and democratic rulings.
Mueller, Public Opinion. Harcourt, Exposed. This is the belief of a technological determinism within surveillance that I want nevertheless to challenge because in the end this is the main argument in favour of the prolongation of secrecy procedures without proper oversight and scrutiny by public mechanisms.
People do not accept surveillance, they are just unaware of the high level of circulation of shared secrets and if they knew, they would be less keen to participate to it. But, before discussing the consequences of this circulation of shared secrets, we need to emphasize how they are exchanged today in such increasing numbers. View all notes And this is certainly true.
Nevertheless, they give indications about the ways the services enter into contact, what software helps them to automatize some type of exchanges, and the correlations between the technical systems and the judicial obligations. Obviously secret services share much data between them, but in very asymmetrical ways and through very different levels of right of access.
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Cf the notices: for US eyes only, or not for UK eyes on some messages. View all notes Exchange has never meant equality of situation.
It may be access to far more general and numerous data that can facilitate a search for identification criteria for example a bank account transaction, or vaguer criteria where the period is a full month with the criteria only that money is coming from an unknown bank account but whose country deposit is known — Mali to Norway transiting via….
It may also be a series of tools interconnecting databases via interoperability platforms or search tools but limited access to data. And it may be general results of data analytics but without any names.
- blood type on birth certificates.
- Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police;
- prison men who look like women.
All these modalities are different. Some like the first and the last are old practices. The second and third are more recent, connected with digital capacities to deliver large scale of data for imprecise criteria quickly. The human capacities to treat the data once filtered are therefore of crucial importance.
Technical skills are insufficient if they are automatized, they need to be held by specialists. Only the powerful services get a chance to use to their profit the sharing of data. Their number of personnel, budgets and position regarding the internet traffic are key elements that we have analysed elsewhere. The access in bulk to substantial quantities of the Internet supposes the interception and storage of metadata and sometimes the data related to these metadata.
To access internet cables they often work with their own private companies who have built or collaborate in the construction of cables and the latter are key actors in the interception practices of data and the secrecy about this interception. Xkeyscore allows searching and analysis of global Internet data, with specific selectors and a high speed answer.
View all notes In a nutshell, the National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.
Shared secrecy in a digital age and a transnational world
ICREACH contains information on the private communications of foreigners and, it appears, millions of records on American citizens who have not been accused of any wrongdoing but have entered into some previous profiles of suspicion and have been kept there, just in case. See annex 1. View all notes The search tool was designed to be the largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day, including more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones.
Excerpts of Gallagher Keith Alexander, who outlined his vision for the system in a classified letter to the then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. We have certainly to learn more on the right of access and to avoid the sensationalism of some media, but we are clearly beyond small numbers. Shared secrecy is about the millions of pieces of individual information and metadata circulating between transnational data bases.
This future perfect orientation of a future already known is in itself a problem as machine learning works to confirm hypotheses, not to invalidate their basic assumptions, and the correlations uncovered by the analytics cannot be considered as proof of causality, a lesson Emile Durkheim set out in his famous book on suicide with reference to the correlation of suicide and sunspots.
Durkheim, A Study in Sociology. A story is constructed based on the potentiality of the system.
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