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ICA 2016: Resisting Surveillance: Counter Conduct of the Incarcerated


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Presentation given by Jessa Lingel and Aram Sinnreich at the International Communication Conference in Fukuoka, Japan, June 2016. This presentation focuses on how incarcerated populations resist and mitigate surveillance, and what online populations can learn from their acts of "counter-conduct."

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ICA 2016: Resisting Surveillance: Counter Conduct of the Incarcerated

  2. 2. Incodification “The term “incarceration” effectively describes not only the direct physical experience of imprisonment but also the array of social conditions that derive from this experience … For groups of people who are continually held in suspicion by the police, such as young men of color, incarceration encompasses not only jail time and prison sentences, but an entire set of relationships between oppressed people and the legal system that extends far beyond prison walls. We aim to make an analogous argument for mass surveillance by introducing the term ‘incodification.’” -Lingel, J., & Sinnreich, A. (2016). Incoded counter-conduct: What the incarcerated can teach us about resisting mass surveillance. First Monday, 21 (5).
  3. 3. You are here Incarceration You are hereIncodification
  4. 4. Incodification matters
  5. 5. Askesis and inscrutability Askesis – “An exercise of self upon self by which one tries to work out, to transform one’s self and to attain a certain mode of being.” (Foucault) Inscrutability – “Politics revolves around what is seen and what can be said about it, around who has the ability to see and the talent to speak.” (Rancière)
  6. 6. Hunger strikes and askesis
  7. 7. Media refusal as counter conduct
  8. 8. Politics of legibility
  9. 9. Alternative communication networks 1. Argot Network Society Equivalents • 1337 • Geek-speak • TXTing language • LOLcats/dogespeak • Memetic slang
  10. 10. Alternative communication networks 2. Tap Codes Network Society Equivalent • Mesh networks
  11. 11. Alternative communication networks 3. Textual Encryption Network Society Equivalents • Digital Encryption
  12. 12. Alternative communication networks 4. Smuggling Network Society Equivalents • VPNs • Proxy servers • Steganography
  13. 13. Aesthetics of incodified counter- conduct
  14. 14. Comments + Feedback? | | | @aram