NeoConOpticon

The EU Security-Industrial Complex

28 September 2009
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Are we turning a blind eye to a new kind of arms race? One in which all the weapons are pointing inwards? This report reveals the extent to which Europe’s largest defence and IT contractors are benefiting from a €1.4 billion EU “security research” programme.

 

The EU’s security and R&D policy is coalescing around a high-tech blueprint for a new kind of security. Eventhough it is often with a benign intent behind collaborative European ‘research’ into integrated land, air, maritime, space and cyber-surveillance systems. It envisages a future world of red zones and green zones; external borders controlled by military force and internally by a sprawling network of physical and virtual security checkpoints; public spaces, micro-states and ‘mega events’ policed by high-tech surveillance systems and rapid reaction forces; ‘peacekeeping’ and ‘crisis management’ missions that make no operational distinction between the suburbs of Basra or the Banlieue; and the increasing integration of defence and national security functions at home and abroad.

It is not just a case of “sleepwalking into” or “waking up to” a “surveillance society”, as the Britain’s Information Commissioner famously warned, it feels more like turning a blind eye to the start of a new kind of arms race, one in which all the weapons are pointing inwards. Welcome to the Neo-ConOpticon.

 

 

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September 2009
In: NeoConOpticon: The EU Security-Industrial Complex
Nick Buxton, Fiona Dove (eds.)
82 pages
ISBN/ISSN: 1756-851X

About the authors

Ben Hayes

Ben Hayes is a TNI fellow who has worked for the civil liberties organisation Statewatch since 1996, specialising in international and national security and policing policies. Ben also works as an independent researcher and consultant for organisations including the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, Cordaid, the Heinrich Boll Foundation, the European Parliament and European Commission.

Ben's research has two main focuses: (i) the impact of counter-terrorism, surveillance and border control policies on democracy, human rights, civil society and international development, (ii) the influence and activities of the defence and security industries.

Ben has a PhD from Magee College (Derry/Londonderry) awarded by the University of Ulster in 2008. He is currently working on a book on climate change and international security for TNI.

Follow Ben on twitter: @drBenHayes

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