Tag Archives: discourse

The Dark Web: It Sounds Sinister and It Certainly Does Hide a Multitude of Very Dark Dealings

It’s a technological arms race, pure and simple.

That’s how Jamie Bartlett, author of The Dark Net, sums up the constantly evolving battle in cyberspace between terrorists and the intelligence agencies trying to discover their hidden communications.

“The unbelievable growth in widely available (encryption) software will make their job much harder,” he said. “What it will mean is a shift away from large-scale traffic network analysis to almost old-fashioned intelligence work to infiltrate groups – more and people on the ground as opposed to someone on a computer in Cheltenham.”

In the Second World War there was Enigma, the German cipher machine eventually decoded by Britain. There was also steganography, the art of shrinking and concealing information inside objects such as microdots, usually only detectable by those who knew exactly where to look.

In Cold War days spies sat next to each other on park benches or left secret messages to be picked up later in “dead letter drops” behind objects such as flowerpots or in crevices in walls.

In the 1990s extremist groups used satellite phones and faxes to communicate, with paper messages from Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan churning out of a fax machine operated in North London by his UK representative. Already that sounds almost prehistoric.

For close to two decades now the internet has been the river through which most terrorist communications flow, hiding amongst the legitimate, the ordinary, the innocuous or the just conventionally criminal.

The dark web sounds sinister and it certainly does hide a multitude of very dark dealings. But the sheer volume of ordinary people now using it as a matter of course have inevitably pulled it closer into the mainstream of digital communications.

The more people who use it, the easier, in theory, it will be for terrorists to hide their own messages amongst its terabytes of data. But the dark web does have benign uses and while it presents a growing challenge to counter-terrorism authorities this is a phenomenon that is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31948818

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Discourse: A Hypersexual Society

Kenneth C.W. Kammeyer, A Hypersexual Society: Sexual Discourse, Erotica, and Pornography in America Today. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008

America today is a hypersexual society. Sexual discourse, erotica, and pornography are pervasive in the culture. Sexual materials, many times extending into erotica and pornography, are found in the consumer world, academia, sex therapy, the publishing world, mass media (especially radio, television and movies) and the Internet. The sexual materials found in all these areas of American society provoke relentless opposition by groups and individuals who want to repress or censor sexual materials. The combined effects of those who promote and produce sexual materials, and those who try to supress them, add up to a cacophony of sexual discourse.

Hypersexuality is a clinical diagnosis used by mental healthcare researchers and providers to describe extremely frequent or suddenly increased sexual urges or sexual activity.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines hypersexual as “exhibiting unusual or excessive concern with or indulgence in sexual activity.” Sexologists have been using the term hypersexuality since the late 1800s, when Krafft-Ebing described several cases of extreme sexual behaviours in his seminal 1886 book, Psychopathia Sexualis. The author used the term “hypersexuality” to describe conditions that would now be termed premature ejaculation.

Hypersexuality may be a primary condition, or the symptom of another medical disease or condition, for example Klüver-Bucy syndrome or bipolar disorder. Hypersexuality may also present as a side effect of medication such as drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Clinicians have yet to reach a consensus over how best to describe hypersexuality as a primary condition, or to determine the appropriateness of describing such behaviors and impulses as a separate pathology.

Some authors have questioned whether it makes sense to discuss hypersexuality at all, arguing that labeling sexual urges “extreme” merely stigmatizes people who do not conform to the norms of their culture or peer group.

Hypersexual behaviours are viewed variously by clinicians and therapists as: an addiction; a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or “OCD-spectrum disorder”; or a disorder of impulsivity. A number of authors do not acknowledge such a pathology and instead assert that the condition merely reflects a cultural dislike of exceptional sexual behavior.

Consistent with there not being any consensus over what causes hypersexuality, authors have used many different labels to refer to it, sometimes interchangeably, but often depending on which theory they favor or which specific behavior they were studying. Contemporary names include compulsive masturbation, compulsive sexual behavior, cybersex addiction, erotomania, “excessive sexual drive”, hyperphilia, hypersexuality, hypersexual disorder, problematic hypersexuality, sexual addiction, sexual compulsivity, sexual dependency, sexual impulsivity, “out of control sexual behavior”, and paraphilia-related disorder.

https://books.google.com/books?id=mQjIAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=a+hypersexual+society&source=bl&ots=KYZ7lm9g-2&sig=E2q5FvKU6_9OPgXulGtgSclkgaA&hl=no&sa=X&ei=PdEeVejGE8GvsQHtjYLACg&ved=0CEcQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=a%20hypersexual%20society&f=false

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Exhibition: Image Counter Image

image-counter-image

Image Counter Image, installation view Haus der Kunst, photo Wilfried Petzi

Radenko Milak, What Else Did You See? I Couldn’t See Everything! (No. 5), 2010–2012 and Installation view of the Exhibition

Image Counter Image, 10 June – 16 September, 2012
Hause der Kunst,Prinzregentenstraße 1, Munich

The exhibition Image Counter Image at Hause der Kunst, presents artistic positions that focus on the critical analysis of violent conflicts in the media, beginning with the First Gulf War of 1990-1991 to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and ending with the events of the Arab Spring of 2011.

Media coverage has changed significantly in the last two decades. While the media image of the First Gulf War was based on a memorandum that advised units of the United States military to channel information flow to serve the military operation’s political objectives, the images of the attacks on the New York World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, were transmitted on all possible channels. They showed a worldwide audience its own, and global, vulnerability. Through the Internet and, more recently, via Web 2.0’s social media, communication channels have been expanded to include opportunities for direct peer-to-peer exchange. Because of their decentralized structures, these channels are difficult to control and are used as an alternative source of reporting on political events.

The question remains who, in this changing media landscape, tries to secure control of both the production and interpretation of the content, and what purpose it serves.

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