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.