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A Prehistory of the Cloud$
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Tung-Hui Hu

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029513

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029513.001.0001

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Seeing the Cloud of Data

Seeing the Cloud of Data

(p.111) 4 Seeing the Cloud of Data
A Prehistory of the Cloud

Tung-Hui Hu

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the ways that companies, users, and states alike navigate the overload of data in the cloud by targeting information, and argues that targeted-marketing campaigns online come out of the same ideological apparatus as military targeting. Two oppositional groups serve as case studies for this argument: first, a group of radio-frequency hackers that data mined the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, and second, the artist/geographer Trevor Paglen, who photographs U.S. reconnaissance satellites and other covert military infrastructures. As this chapter argues, these oppositional tactics may be effective, but sometimes re-animate the very structures of power that they purport to expose or overturn. The reason is due to something this chapter terms the sovereignty of data, which both co-opts user participation and also gives practices such as torture and extraordinary rendition new life within the cloud.

Keywords:   sovereignty, power, data mining, geospatial, hacktivism, surveillance, necropolitics, extraordinary rendition

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