Sensor- Census- Censor
Investigating Circuits of Information, Registering Changes of State
A sensor is a device that indicates a change of state in response to an event or stimulus. A census is an instrument by which the changes in state in a given population are registered through counting. A censor is a filter which selects and screens information that can be made public. The management, control and deployment of information in society generally involves different combinations of the sensor-census-censor triad.
This colloquium, early in the history of the Information and Society Research Cluster at Sarai-CSDS, reckons that the ‘sensor-census-censor’ triad may be a useful way in which the histories and contemporary realities of South Asia and Europe may be investigated. Here, we mean the historic affinities, networks and resonances pertinent to the traffic of information between the colony and the metropolis, especially with regard to the operations of knowledge as power. We also point towards the contemporary (and projected) operations of biometric technologies, internet filtering systems, networked surveillance and data retrieval and outsourcing systems that inflect the global traffic in information today. The rhetoric of ‘Information Society’, with its ideological commitment to notions of ‘e-governance’ and ‘e-citizenship’ and ‘ICT in development’, conveniently obscures both older continuities and inequities as well as recent parallels between the politics of different kinds of information regimes as they stretch between India/Asia and Europe.
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Detailed report forthcoming