Data Retention in the European Union: When a Call Returns

Oliver Leistert


Retained (via digital storage) metadata of telecommunications acts change and transform into the content of something else: a surveillance program. Originating from telecommunications as a protocol necessity, the metadata is fed into a data space that freezes and manipulates the time axis. This measurement of post-9/11 governing is only one item in an assemblage of surveillance technologies that are not watching, in the manner of traditional CCTV, but processing the population under observation. Since data processing is a more recent, counterintuitive, and still relatively opaque principle, its capacities are not adequately understood, nor are they established in the general understanding. The concept of a data space that provides movement within and between data described here illustrates the powers of data retention in an imaginable way.

Full Text: