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Private Security Blankets

 
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bshmr
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:23 am    Post subject: Private Security Blankets Reply with quote

Excerpts (from a subscription only article) that I imagined might warrant consideration: If nothing else, these bring out the creeping return of a Hobbesean way of life.

http://MondeDiplo.com/2008/03/08surveillance

Surveillance, the law and the rules
Security states
France established a national security alert system, Plan Vigipirate, in 1978 to mobilise police if a foreign power tried to provoke domestic destabilisation. After 9/11 the legislation was extended to counter terrorism. Private enterprise took advantage of the new climate of fear and now, thanks to the surveillance industry, order reigns without a police presence

...

Imperceptible slippage

According to the industry, a guard’s work “mainly consists of greeting visitors and controlling access, patrolling premises, overseeing safety procedures, responding to emergencies, alerting and guiding emergency teams, and writing reports on events” (2). But this definition entails an imperceptible slippage from investigation to prevention and thence to intervention and even repression. In most cases the public have little idea of the extent of a guard’s powers. There are certain uniform constants – epaulettes, badge, earpiece, walkie-talkie – the main purpose of which is to establish an asymmetrical relationship, based upon authority and power, that has no legal standing.

...

Just ordinary citizens

It is extraordinary that the media never make the crucial point that security guards are just ordinary citizens with no more powers, privileges or authority than the rest of us. Most of the time they exceed their authority, but they are as subject to the law as we are (6). Like anyone, a security guard can make a citizen’s arrest, as defined by article 73 of the French criminal code, but only if the offender is caught in the act of committing an offence punishable by imprisonment. Every citizen has powers that security guards are reluctant to concede. In reality such offences, along with the fires and illnesses that guards are supposed to look out for, remain infrequent. (Perhaps they’re just very efficient at preventing them.) The problem is that, unlike the official fire, police and ambulance services, who are called only after an incident, guards must wait patiently for a problem to arise. And if it does not they may be tempted to counter boredom or justify their presence by latching on to more trivial events.

...

The function of guards is purely preventive. They have the right to be present and to advise the public of the establishment’s internal regulations. But if those regulations are infringed, they have no power to deal with the offence themselves. All they can do is point out the rules, record the incident and, if appropriate, summon the police.

...

The effect of the presence of security guards in public places, or places to which the public is admitted, is to overlay the social field with the logic of what Foucault called the carceral world, giving legal endorsement to disciplinary mechanisms and the decisions and punishments that they imply. “Carceral continuity and the diffusion of the prison-form make it possible to legalise, or in any case to legitimate disciplinary power, which thus avoids any element of excess or abuse it may entail... By operating at every level of the social body and by mingling ceaselessly the art of rectifying and the right to punish, the universality of the carceral lowers the level from which it becomes natural and acceptable to be punished” (10).

...

**

Also:

http://mondediplo.com/2008/03/10statement

Surveillance, the law and the rules
‘If we’re living in a police state, could they tell us?’
A statement by a lecturer at the University Lyon-II

By Martin Mongin

“I didn’t realise we lived in a police state. If we do, maybe somebody could tell us, because that means the rules have changed. I thought we had the right to strike in this country.

“All the fire exits have been blocked off to help the police, soldiers and security guards do their work.

“Some lecturers and students are keeping classes going in a poisonous and dangerous atmosphere. If a fire did break out, they would be burned alive.”

12 December 2007
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Slumberjack
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cities are now battlefields

Quote:
Kevin Walby, a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Winnipeg, says that back in 1990s, video surveillance was sold to cities like London as an effective crime prevention tool that would keep residents safe.

But, Walby says, “that turned out to be not true at all, to the extent that [some] public police have come out and made a collective statement that we’re overspending on video surveillance and we’re not getting any bang for our buck…. We can’t prove that it has deterred crime. We can’t prove that it has deterred terrorism.”

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6079_Smith_W
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting article, though a bit bizarre.

Don't get me wrong; I agree with some of the conclusions, especially the main one about too much surveillance, but there is much of it which is completely disconnected.

In the first place cities have ALWAYS been battlegrounds when circumstances dictate.

But there is a difference between de facto war zones and police states, just as there is a difference between security rings and Baron Hausmann's rebuilding of Paris so it could accomodate the firing of cannons (the real reason for those beautiful broad streets and rings.)

I am just as opposed to cameras and security in places where they can get you fined for dropping litter as in places where they fail to stop bombings.

And the comparison with global warming is kind of apples and oranges. London's Ring of Steel (kind of the benchmark for urban surveillance and security) came at the same time as the Thames flood barrier became operational.

Again, I think there are very good arguments against over-surveillance. That we should better spend our resources elsewhere isn't a main one for me. The real ones are privacy (which the article didn't touch on at all) and the question of whether it is effective - and in what way (which is disputed, and really got just a passing reference).
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Slumberjack
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few things can be taken from the article, apart from the binary argument between surveillance good/surveillance bad. It's funny for instance that some police are now complaining about over-surveillance, whereas we were once led to believe that ever heightened security postures were in everyone's best interest, especially as the police were in the habit of singing the praises of the latest security related technology advancements. Nowadays of course municipal budgets can hardly keep pace with all of the expensive security related requirements, such as the HR demands of policing and the monetary demands that flow from the technology side of the business. There's not enough money to lock everything down. Ultimately something must give. The surveillance technology companies are winning and expanding as the police rank and file grows wary about the rationalization of municipal policing budgets as it concerns the number of ‘uniforms on the ground.’ So the police are not really coming out against police state surveillance, the fullest extent of which they're normally in favour of, but only when it impacts upon their own jobs which today primarily constitutes serving as more heavily armed versions of mall cops, ensuring nobody steals or breaks anything belonging to multi-billion dollar corporations.

Ultimately its the misappropriated, gargantuan spending on security related activities that sucks everything else dry, including people's inhibitions with respect to criminal activity, especially as they come to realize that security only protects institutionalized corruption. Obviously with the courts and jails overflowing with cases of petty crimes of opportunity awaiting trial, the encroachment and costs associated with the entire corporate state security apparatus has been an abysmal failure.
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al-Qa'bong
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Security blanket? Here's the mother of all security blankets:



Quote:
The alarming rate of school shootings across the country appears to have added an unsettling new item to parents' list of "back to school" items: bulletproof armor for their children. Among such items, the Bodyguard Blanket, a portable, bulletproof covering for children, has seen its sales exceed its manufacturer's expectations in less than two weeks on the market.


Sales Of Bulletproof Blankets Beat Maker's 'Wildest Expectations'
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