Natasha Lushetich

In former Eastern Europe, suspicion was an integral part of the ideologically imposed transparency. It went hand in hand with the ostentatious display of belief in the communist regime which culminated in the public confession where citizens who thought otherwise were forced to publicly affirm their conversion to the communist dogma. Consequently, all display of belief and all transparency were regarded with suspicion.

Adopting a media-theoretical approach, this paper theorises suspicion as the obverse of transparency via three questions: 1. Can big data be considered a new medium in the sense in which the camera, and in particular, the close-up (that disclosed a microscopic view of the world) were considered a new medium at the beginning of the 20th century? 2. If so, what is the new medium’s efficacy? (McLuhan) 3. How does big data contribute to the enclosure of the digital panopticon, i.e. how does it breed suspicion? In the final section, the paper assesses the extent to which contemporary psychopolitics may benefit from a comparison with overtly totalitarian regimes.

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