Digital data and the transnational intelligence space
Since Edward Snowden disclosures on NSA’s practices, many articles have been written about the relationship between digital data and Intelligence Services (IS), although few of them have investigated the use of these data by IS’ in their everyday practices. Presenting the first results of a three years research including interviews with practitioners and adopting a Bourdieusian perspective, this chapter proposes first to reflect on data ownership and the way IS intercept data and construct them for their own purposes, second with whom and how do they exchange data (trans)nationally. To this effect, we draw a transnational space of the objective positions of the different forms of capital mobilized by the various types of IS. As a result, three distinct groups emerge depending on the structural proximity of the type of institutional objectives they defend and by the way they use digital technology in order share data. Cooperation appears to be stronger at the transnational level than at the national one. In that respect, the linkage between positions, professional habitus and practices constitutes a challenging counterpoint both to the methodological nationalism, that presupposes the existence of a national intelligence community, and to a fairly common perspective in international relations and security studies that provides a disembodied analysis of intelligence practices and an history without actors.