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Jenny Pickerill

6 Online surveillance and counter-strategies Computerised electronic surveillance has ushered in a whole new phase of domination. (Kovel 1983: 77) The threat of surveillance has led many environmentalists to fear that CMC is another temporary, rather than a long-standing, space for resistance. Fear of a totalitarian or corporate state, a dictatorial presence which limits any space within which resistance can develop, has led to activists zealously guarding what liberties they have and constantly searching for new tools with which to widen them

in Cyberprotest
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Environmental activism online
Author: Jenny Pickerill

The politics of cyberspace is of importance both for the future use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and within traditional political arenas, commerce and society itself. Within Britain there are many different political groups that have a presence online and utilise CMC, including for example members of the far right, human rights advocates, religious groups and environmental activists. This book examines the relationship between the strategies of environmental activist movements in Britain and their use of CMC. It explores how environmental activists negotiate the tensions and embrace the opportunities of CMC, and analyses the consequences of their actions for the forms and processes of environmental politics. It serves as a disjuncture from some broader critiques of the implications of CMC for society as a whole, concentrating on unpacking what CMC means for activists engaged in social change. Within this broad aim there are three specific objectives. It first evaluates how CMC provides opportunities for political expression and mobilization. Second, the book examines whether CMC use has different implications for established environmental lobbying organisations than it does for the non-hierarchical fluid networks of direct action groups. Third, it elucidates the influence of CMC on campaign strategies and consequently on business, government and regulatory responses to environmental activism.

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Jenny Pickerill

CMC is important as it poses a significant potential restriction on environmentalists’ use of CMC. Chapter 6 examines environmental activists’ understandings of, and reactions to, online surveillance and counter-strategy and the implications of these threats for perceptions of CMC as a space for activism. The chapter also documents the responses of the State and of corporate bodies to environmentalists’ CMC use. This book employs an ethnographical focus to enable the voices and the views of activists to be heard.8 It attempts to interrogate the quandaries and

in Cyberprotest
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A new politics of protest?
Jenny Pickerill

advanced. The ways in which CMC is used are complexly embedded within existing social relations and attitudes. CMC is not a neutral, value-free, tool waiting to be appropriated, but one with constraints (logistical and legal) that require negotiation. Environmentalists have enthusiastically adopted CMC but also have had to deal with its limitations. They have had to resolve the tensions of using environmentally damaging technology, and be cautious of online surveillance. Many have secured access to CMC and, despite nuclei of control clustering around its use, have

in Cyberprotest
Modernisation abandoned
Peter Dorey

claimed, in his victory speech, that he wanted to lead a One Nation government, this was almost immediately followed by pledges to introduce a further £12 billion in the welfare budget (albeit this was openly pledged during the election campaign), repeal the Human Rights Act, legalise fox hunting, place new restrictions on trade unions’ right to pursue industrial action, introduce tough new curbs on ‘extremists’, and increase the online surveillance powers of the police and security services. The Conservative government also, via the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, spent

in David Cameron and Conservative renewal