chapter  5
Surveillance assemblages and lines of flight
WithWilliam Bogard
Pages 26

Like all machinic and enunciative assemblages, surveillance assem­ blages are both territorial and cut across by lines of deterritorialization or ‘flight’. Indeed, one way to describe the evolution from panoptic to post­panoptic systems is from territorial to deterritorialized forms of social control, for example, from guarded or confined spaces to digital networks. Often, this evolution is depicted in Orwellian terms – no more privacy, no more secrets, universal tracking, perfect customized identification. Deterritorialized controls are far from perfect, however; they produce deterritorialized forms of resistance as a function of their own organization. Networked information is hard to secure and easy to reproduce. This fact of the digital age explains both the power of surveillance assemblages today (the ease with which they gather and share information on us) and their potential weakness or vulnerability. There are even good reasons to see prospects for freedom in surveillance assemblages, since networks make it very hard for power to monopolize the machines that identify and track us, or determine the flow and price of information. Control of information becomes more impossible the closer an information network gets to the model of a ‘rhizome’, in which every node must connect to every other node in an open structure. Perhaps here we can discover what Guattari describes as a paradoxical ‘safety’ in the machine, even an Orwellian machine that watches and records everything.