Christophe Jaffrelot et Nicolas Belorgey
In 2009, India embarked on a scheme for the biometric identification of its people. This project was conceived by IT companies based in Bengaluru. The programme’s main architect, Nandan Nilekani, was in fact the head of one of these firms. The idea behind the project was to use digital technology – and the data it enables to collect – for economic ends. But to register the entire Indian population, the State had to be persuaded to be involved in the project, later named as "Aadhaar". The rationale that secured the government’s engagement was financial: using Aadhaar would help disburse aid to the poor while minimising the "leakages" caused by corruption and duplicates among beneficiaries. Yet, possessing an Aadhaar number gradually became necessary for a number of other things, too, including tax payment. When approached to rule on this matter, the Supreme Court dragged its feet and did not seek to decisively protect people’s privacy. As for the avowed aim of the scheme itself, Aadhaar did not improve the quality of the services rendered to the poor – far from it – and its economic impact, too, remains to be proven, even if operators who believe that "data is the new oil" consider benefits in a long term perspective.
We hereafter make the case that a certain technostrategic knowledge regime exists that builds a good reputation to military interventions. This contributes to normalizing the latter within the apparels responsible for the execution of foreign policies, since the end of the cold war. Supported by a contemporary military and security discourse analysis, this work analyses how this regime of knowledge was elaborated, how it circumscribes a field of possibles for intervention and how it attributes great credibility to this very field of possibles.
Boaz Dolev, Assaf Keren
Cyberspace, of which the Internet is a major but not the exclusive component, is more than an informational or an economic network : it is also a political space, which deserves to be analysed as such, through the collective mobilisations, the imaginary and the surveillance practices that it conveys. Rather than looking at the internet’s world politics, this paper focuses on transnational political solidarities that are now emerging on and through the Internet. This differentiation suggests that the Internet is both the vector of social struggles focused on the “real” world, and the cradle of new identifications and new modes of protest that remain and will remain primarily virtual. Activists operating through transnational “advocacy networks” may use the Internet to receive or spread information, but their use of the Information Technologies (IT) remains purely instrumental and does not imply any paradigmatic shift in the tactical uses of the media by protest groups. “Hacktivism” and “cybernationalism” appear far more promising, as far as the invention of new repertoires of collective action is concerned. “Hacktivism”, which refers to the use of hacking techniques for political ends, emerged during the 1990s, at the crossroads between activism, play and art. The emergence of “hacktivism” was made possible by the meeting of two social actors that epitomize our late modernity : new social movements and the “digital underground”. “Cybernationalism”, for its part, was given shape in the last decade by ethnic entrepreneurs who rely on the IT to challenge the political authorities of their home states and to materialise, through words and images, the communities they are (re)inventing beyond borders.
The present paper examines current dynamics of surveillance regarding the fight against “terrorism” and its financing. Close analysis of the so-called “SWIFT Affair” and the US terrorist finance tracking program draw attention to one specific case-study which allows us to question the contemporary politics of massively accessing commercial data-banks for intelligence purposes. With reference to the SWIFT affair, the paper explores a sensitive aspect of transatlantic cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism
Antoine Vion, François-Xavier Dudouet, Eric Grémont
The study proposes analyzing the complex links between the standardization and regulation of mobile phone markets from a political economy perspective. Moreover, this study examines these links by taking into consideration, from a Schumpeterian perspective, the market disequilibrium and the monopolistic phenomena associated with innovation. It aims firstly to underline, with respect to different network generations (0G to 4G), the particularity of this industry in terms of investment return, and the key role that network standardization plays in the structuring of the market. This key variable of the standard explains in large part the income that GSM represented in the industrial and financial dynamics of the sector. The study thus explores the relations between the normalization policies, which are certainly neither the sole issue of public actors nor are they simple industrial property regulations, and the regulation policies of the sector (allocation of licenses, trade regulations, etc.). It underlines that the last twenty-five years have made the configurations of expertise more and more complex, and have increased the interdependency between network entrepreneurs, normalizers, and regulators. From a perspective close to Fligstein’s, which emphasizes the different institutional dimensions of market structuring (trade policies, industrial property regulations, wage relations, financial institutions), this study focuses on the interdependent relations between diverse, heavily institutionalized spheres of activity.
Since the mid-1990s, a global political battle has developed around one of the most promising industries of the future: biotechnology. While transgenic technology showed great promise and became widely adopted in North America, it also became the target of a global resistance movement including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), key states, and international organizations. The emerging consensus among OECD countries embedded in the 1994 WTO agreement quickly collapsed after 1999, as the EU, Japan, Korea, and other countries led a counter-movement. The battle entails several dimensions—modern technology and human progress, global trade, environmental protection, health, food security, development, democratic deficit, and cultural identity—making it one of the fault lines in globalization. State policy with respect to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) includes both national regulations and support for global standards in international negotiations such as the 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. This study analyzes the stakes in the battle for global governance, the key actors, and the principal battlefields. It then focuses on the roles of two key players, the EU and Japan, and how they led the move toward a more precautionary approach. The study reveals the political mechanisms behind this transformation, emphasizing the role of emerging civil society movements as the determining trigger for policy change.
The « new economy » in South Korea rhymes with the Internet. In 2003, the “land of morning calm” has actually become the most connected country in the world. The present study tackles this phenomenon from a number of angles. The Internet is not only considered as a physical network but a lever of transformation of the country’s economic and social life. Although the role of the state has been decisive and remains focal, it is not enough to explain the extreme rapidity with which the new electronic medium spread, which is due to a broad range of causes. The Korean experience differs from former ones in that it extends well beyond the market sphere (e-commerce) to areas such as education, volunteer associations and even politics. The emergence of a national dimension constitutes another characteristic that at first seems paradoxical, since the Internet is so universal in scope. Yet observation of the evolution of Internet traffic on the national level confirms this trend. South Korea is far from an exceptional case in Asia, but the country has taken the lead over its neighbors, becoming a new “model.” Beyond these singular features, the Korean experience in the use of the Internet again demonstrates that a global “information revolution” – in other words, a process that is quickly reshaping the material bases of an entire society – is underway.