HOUSE RULES: AN EXAMINATION OF SPATIAL SURVEILLANCE AND SOCIAL CONTROL IN LAS VEGAS, NEVADA DURING AN ERA OF GLOBAL TERRORISM Daniel Overbey AAE-751 â€“ Contemporary Theory December 5, 2005
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION: THE BIRTH OF THE ELECTRONIC PANOPTICON
CHAPTER ONE: THE CASINO HOTEL RESORT AND PANOPTICISM
CHAPTER TWO: FORTRESS LAS VEGAS
CHAPTER THREE: PROTECTION VERSUS PRIVACY: A NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
PHOTO ESSAY: RISE OF THE FIFTH UTILITY: CONTEMPORARY SPATIAL SURVEILLANCE & LAS VEGAS
HOUSE RULES: AN EXAMINATION OF SPATIAL SURVEILLANCE AND SOCIAL CONTROL IN LAS VEGAS, NEVADA DURING AN ERA OF GLOBAL TERRORISM Daniel Overbey AAE-751 – Contemporary Theory December 5, 2005
INTRODUCTION: THE BIRTH OF THE ELECTRONIC PANOPTICON
Morals reformed—health preserved—industry invigorated—instruction diffused— public burthens lightened—Economy seated, as it were upon a rock—the Gordian knot of the Poor-Laws not cut, but united—all by a simple idea in Architecture!1 - Jeremy Bentham
Technology helped insulate this paranoid esprit de corps. In doing so, it virtually established a new epistemology of policing, where technologized surveillance and response supplanted the traditional patrolman’s intimate ‘folk’ knowledge of specific communities.2 - Mike Davis
Each street is placed under the authority of a syndic, who keeps it under surveillance… Inspection functions ceaselessly. The gaze is alert everywhere… At each of the town gates there will be an observation post; at the end of each street sentinels.3 - Michel Foucault 1
Jeremy Bentham opened the preface of his famous series of letters entitled Panopticon; or, the Inspection-House (short title). Originally written in 1787, these items have been published in The Works of Jeremy Bentham, John Bowring ed. (New York, 1962). 2 Mike Davis, City of Quartz, (New York, 1990), p. 251. 3 Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), p. 195-196.
Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon In its most essential definition, Bentham’s Panopticon is an architectural body in which every portion of the interior is visible from a single, central location. Following the assumption that the vigilant occupant of this innermost position may observe (-opticon) every other person within the form (pan-) without, him/herself becoming visible, an omniscient surveying presence is conveyed. To Bentham, the Panopticon was an idealistic architectural scheme capable of creating social and political reform.4 He acknowledged various disciplinary mechanisms that resulted from the design’s composition of form. Bentham believed that his Inspection House typified a new tenet of construction by which “any sort of establishment, in which persons of any description are to be kept under inspection,” could be efficiently managed.5 Bentham emphasized the importance of the inspector’s centrality in plan, coupled with the aforementioned “contrivances for seeing without
Recall the introductory quote, “Morals reformed—heath preserved—industry invigorated—instruction diffused—public burthens lightened—Economy seated, as it were upon a rock—the Gordian knot of the Poor-Laws not cut, but united—all by a simple idea in Architecture!” This statement was written in the introduction to Bentham’s famous series of letters entitled Panopticon; or, the Inspection-House (short title). These items have been published in The Works of Jeremy Bentham, John Bowring ed. (New York, 1962). 5 Bentham makes statements to this extent throughout his Works. This quote in particular is, in fact, an extract from the full title of his aforementioned collection of letters regarding the Panopticon, p. 37.
being seen.”6 However, the general form of the Panopticon—which has typically assumed the “most commodious” circular or semi-circular form— is recognized by Bentham as “not an absolutely essential circumstance.”7 Moreover, one may dispute whether architecture constitutes the determining
Bentham’s contemporary, Michel Foucault is one such opponent.
Michel Foucault and the Panopticon In Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison, twentieth-century French philosopher
recognized the Panopticon’s
“disciplinary mechanisms.” He explains, “Visibility is a trap,” and attributes this to the Panopticon’s fundamental characteristic of inducing “a state of conscious and permanent visibility” upon the subordinates of the system that guarantees “the automatic functioning of power.”8 In fact, Foucault proceeds to equate panopticism with the perfect exercise of power over an assemblage. According to Foucault, the Panopticon can efficiently “reduce
Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, John Bowring ed. (New York, 1962), p. 44. 7 Bentham, op. cit, p. 44. Bentham further states, “Of all figures, however, this, you will observe, is the only one that affords a perfect view, and the same view, of an indefinite number of apartments of the same dimensions…” While “indefinite” number of apartments is an obvious exaggeration, the point here is that Bentham foresees bastardized versions of his Inspection House design that incorporates an elliptical or polygonal orientation of monitored. Only a perfect circle enables identical “perfect” views to each every surrounding space. 8 Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison, (New York, 1979), p. 201.
the number of those who exercise it, while increasing the number of those on whom it is exercised.”9 The system’s disciplinary mechanisms encourage an economy in time, personnel, and materials. The mere prospect of an attentive watch guard in the central tower assures the system’s continuous functioning, preventive character, and automatic mechanization. Foucault resolutely disagreed with Bentham’s contention that panopticism is accomplished solely through architectural design. In the 1982 Skyline interview with Paul Rabinow entitled Space, Knowledge, and Power, Foucault states, “I think that [architecture] can and does produce positive effects when the liberating intentions of the architect coincide with the real practice of people in the exercise of their freedom.” He continues, “I think it is arbitrary to dissociate the effective practice of freedom by people, the practice of social relations, and the spatial distributions in which they find themselves.” Foucault goes on to claim that these three elements are only comprehensible through each other and that space, not form, is paramount in any mode of communal life or exercise of power.10
Foucault, op. cit., p. 206. This information comes from the interview Space, Knowledge, and Power and can be found in the following publication: Michel Foucault, Power: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Volume 3. James D. Faubion, Robert Hurley, and Paul Rabinow ed. (New York, 1994), pp. 355-356, 361.
Thus, panopticism is foremost dependent on its effective brand of spatial surveillance, regardless of formal composition.
The Emergence of the Disciplinary Society To Bentham, the Panopticon was a faultless design concept capable of righting society’s wrongs. It was also an ideal financial endeavor. He actually aspired to reap monetary rewards from an investment by the British government—which failed to materialize. However, for Foucault, panopticism is a harsh, undesirable social reality. He perceived its principles pervading various institutions. In Discipline & Punish, he ponders:
Is it surprising that the cellular prison, with its regular chronologies, forced labour, its authorities of surveillance and registration, its experts in normality, who continue and multiply the functions of the judge, should have become the modern instrument of penalty? Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons? 11
According to Foucault, there are two basic types of discipline. The first type is the “discipline-blockade,” or the enveloped institution, turned inward towards unfavorable purposes. It’s a system that apprehends, 11
Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison, (New York, 1979), p. 227-228.
isolates, and suspends the wicked. The other type, epitomized by panopticism, is the “discipline-mechanism.” Through this system, a gradual extension of the mechanisms of discipline improves the exercise of power by making it progressively more disencumbered and efficient. Foucault defined it as, “a design of subtle coercion for a society to come...what might be called in general the disciplinary society.”12 According to Foucault, this disciplinary society arose from the inevitable state-control of the institutionalized disciplinary mechanisms. The police, originally conceived of as an “apparatus” of the state, endowed with the function of ensuring justice and political sovereignty, had in the eighteenth-century extended its sphere of supervision beyond the threshold of institutionalized discipline to encapsulate the entire populace. A centralized disciplinary machine was established, which could be manipulated to meet the wishes of the monarch.13
Foucault, op. cit., p. 209. Foucault, op. cit., p. 215. Foucault further defines the newly acquired roll of the police, “It was a complex function since it linked the absolute power of the monarch to the lowest levels of power disseminated in society; since, between these different, enclosed institutions of discipline (workshop, armies, schools), it extended an intermediary network, acting where they could not intervene, disciplining the non-disciplining spaces; but it filled in the gaps, linked them together, guaranteed with its armed force an interstitial discipline and a meta-discipline.” 13
To be sure, Foucault does not wish to identify “discipline” with any type of institution; rather, it should be understood as a “type of power.”14 Moreover, late twentieth-century French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, a close friend and colleague of Michel Foucault, contended that he perceived of the Panopticon as a diagram for obtaining power and imposing conduct on people. Deleuze declared:
When Foucault defines Panopticism, either he specifically sees it as an optical or luminous arrangement that characterizes prison, or he views it abstractly as a machine that not only affects visible matter in general (a workshop, barracks, school or hospital as much as a prison) but also in general passes through every articulable function. So, the abstract formula of Panopticism is no longer ‘to see without being seen’ but to impose a particular conduct on a particular human municipality.15
Hence, Foucault considers the Panopticon a delineation of societal domination, or as Deleuze stated, “a function that must be ‘detached from any specific use’.”16
Foucault, op. cit., p. 215. Foucault defines discipline as, “a type of power, a modality for its exercise, comprising a whole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of application, targets; it is a ‘physics’ or an ‘anatomy’ of power, a technology.” 15 Gilles Deleuze, Foucault, (Minneapolis, 1988), p. 33.Deleuze, op. cit., p. 33. 16 Deleuze, op. cit., p. 33. Gilles Deleuze states, “Categories of power are therefore determinations unique to the ‘particular’ action and its particular medium. … Discipline and Punish defines the Panopticon in this way: it is the pure function of imposing a particular taste or conduct on a multiplicity of particular individuals, provided simply that the multiplicity is small in number and the space is limited and confined. No account is taken either of the forms which give the function ends and means (education, care,
The Imperativeness of Discourse In The Electronic Eye: The Rise of Surveillance Society, David Lyon cites the relationship between modernity and the Panopticon brought to light by Foucault. Lyon holds that the Panopticon’s mechanism of using uncertainty as an instrument of social control is re-emerging with the advent of electronic surveillance systems. According to Lyon, the debate over postmodernity follows since a key characteristic of modern thought was the individual’s central place in history. Thus, panoptic spatial surveillance via electronic instruments, which Lyon terms Electronic Panopticism, aligns itself with this postmodern discourse.17 While that particular discourse will not be elaborated upon within this text, if one assimilates the Panopticon with contemporary methods of electronic spatial surveillance, a compelling metaphoric relationship does emerge. Amidst the onset of infrared cameras, caller-ID’s, closed-circuit television networks, global positioning systems, and various other forms of high-tech digital
apprehension regarding the possible establishment of an illusive,
punishment, production) or of the formed substances acted upon by the function (‘prisoners, the sick, schoolchildren, madmen, workers, soldiers’, and so on). And in fact, at the end of the eighteenth century the Panopticon traverses all these forms and is applied to all these substances: it is in this sense that a category of power exists, as a pure disciplinary function. Foucault will therefore name this the diagram, a function that must be ‘detached from any specific use’, as from any specified substance.” 17 David Lyon, The Electronic Eye: The Rise of Surveillance Society, (Minneapolis, 1994), p. 62.
omniscient syndicate. Perhaps Bentham would smile insidiously at the sight of Robert Clayton Dean attempting to escape the clutches of a corrupt National Security Agency in Enemy of the State or Fox Mulder trying to thwart the intentions of a conspiratorial, ubiquitous federal government in The X-Files. Foucault was very aware of an emergent panoptic police establishment. However, he also observed its more immediate manifestation in the commercial sector. Foucault states, “…during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there appeared – rather quickly in the case of commerce…this idea of a police that would manage to penetrate, to stimulate, and render almost automatic all the mechanisms of society.”18 Hence, Las Vegas, with its service-reliant economy, offers an ideal stage—at it were—to commence an examination of spatial surveillance and social control. The proceeding text will examine this issue with an emphasis given to the most recent technological upgrades and changes in scope that have resulted from the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks and the subsequent so-called war on terror. Chapter One will examine the security infrastructures of casino hotel resorts on the Las Vegas Strip in terms of social control. Chapter Two will broaden the scope of the 18
This information comes from the interview Space, Knowledge, and Power and can be found in the following publication: Michel Foucault, Power: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Volume 3. James D. Faubion, Robert Hurley, and Paul Rabinow ed. (New York, 1994), p. 351.
investigation in order to disclose the emergence of a sophisticated surveillance and security citadel in the Las Vegas Strip. The text will also recognize the increasing role of closed-circuit television (CCTV) networks. Chapter Three will carry the dialogue to a national scale. The intention of this iteration is to advance the new historicists’ discourse regarding State power and how it is maintained by examining aspects of electronic spatial surveillance during an era of global terrorism. The dichotomy of public security and individual privacy is not new, but technological advancements have necessitated its reassessment. Substantial advancements in spatial surveillance techniques have already taken place in Las Vegas. In general terms, it is important that the public is aware of such changes. Many new historicists believe that if a society fails to recognize such subtle, yet considerable changes, it could conceivably fall victim to a monolithic ideology that, as Peter Barry claims, “encloses the thinking of all members of a given society.”19 The very “thought control” Michele Foucault and the other forefathers of new historicism were trying to prevent.20
In Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, Second Edition, (New York, 2002), p. 176, Peter Barry emphasizes the essentiality of discussing issues of State power over a citizenry. He states, “Discourse is not just a way of speaking or writing, but the whole ‘mental set’ and ideology which encloses the thinking of all members of a given society.” 20 Barry, op. cit., p. 176. Barry continues, “On the whole, new historicism seems to emphasize the extent of this kind of ‘thought control’, with the implication that ‘deviant’ thinking may become literally ‘unthinkable’ (or only thinkable), so that the State is seen as a monolithic structure and change becomes almost impossible.”
CHAPTER ONE: THE CASINO HOTEL RESORT AND PANOPTICISM To what degree, and under what circumstances, might the electronic surveillance in casino hotel resorts on the Las Vegas Strip display panoptic characteristics? No consensus currently exists. However, it is essential that one first separates myth from reality. In recent years, popular culture has supplied us with plenty of imaginative conspiracy theories. For instance, from the 2001 remake of Ocean’s 11, recall Danny Ocean's description of how to liberate the financial resources of the Bellagio Hotel & Casino during the night of the Lennox Lewis-Wladimir heavyweight bout, “Okay. Bad news first. This place houses a security system which rivals most nuclear missile silos.” 21
rights to privacy—in a recent episode of the NBS series Las Vegas, James Lesure’s character, Mike Cannon used a high-resolution Pan-Tilt-
Ocean’s description continues, “First: we have to get within the casino cages – which anyone knows takes more than a smile. Next: through these doors, each of which requires a different six-digit code changed every twelve hours. Past those lies the elevator, and this is where it gets tricky: the elevator won't move without authorized fingerprint identifications – and vocal confirmations from both the security center within the Bellagio and the vault below. Furthermore, the elevator shaft is rigged with motion detectors. Once we've gotten down the shaft, though, then it's a walk in the park: just three more guards with Uzis and predilections toward not being robbed, and the most elaborate vault door conceived by man. Any questions?” Ocean's 11. Dir. Steven Soderbergh. Perf. George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts. 2001. Digital Video Disc. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2002. 22 This is a far cry from the heist caper from the original Ocean’s 11, In the 1960 classic, Danny Ocean’s crew sabotaged the city’s power grid, rewired several casinos’ electrical wiring to utilize the power from the back-up generators, and tip-toed around casino personnel—a scheme which simply wouldn’t get you past the first set of double doors in today’s electronically-monitored and controlled casino hotel resort.
Zoom (PTZ) robotic camera installation (operated from the control center of the fictitious Montecito casino hotel resort) to retrieve a phone number off of a suspected patron’s cell-phone. He then ordered a security staff member to illegally run the number against a list of calls made from the casino’s payphones.23 Fiction? Perhaps. However, some analysts suggest that it is actually quite easy to bypass lawful barriers to private information. In his book The End of Privacy, author and research fellow at the Hoover Institution Charles J. Sykes exclaims, “With less than $50, a writer for the on-line publication CNET found that a complete stranger (or disgruntled employee, or ex-lover) could obtain a wealth of personal data with only a fax machine and a connection to the Net.”24 In addition, David Lyon suggests that different analysts concentrate on varying features of panopticism—characteristics
computers.”25 These aspects include the unobservable gaze of the “inspection,” its continuous and automatic functioning, and its “power of mind over mind.”26 Lyon continues to highlight that “different analysts emphasize different spheres of operation of the putative panopticon: in workplace organization and especially, electronic monitoring, in criminal records and policing, in consumer behavior and transactions, and in the 23
"Big Ed De-cline." Las Vegas. NBC. KVBC, Las Vegas. 17 Oct. 2005. Charles J. Sykes, The End of Privacy, (New York, 1999), p. 26. 25 David Lyon, The Electronic Eye, (Minneapolis, 1994), p. 67. 26 Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), p. 206. 24
myriad administrative activities of the state.”27 All of which are encapsulated by the contemporary casino hotel resort on the Las Vegas Strip. Therefore, the proceeding text will investigate whether casino hotel resorts’ spatial surveillance systems lend themselves to panoptic power.
Panoptic Surveillance: Myth or Reality? While some conspiracy theorists may lay claim that Steve Wynn or George Maloof have concocted an elaborate system of social control by implementing
establishments, the truth is actually irrelevant.28 The fact is, it does not matter whether it was devised intentionally or not. In Discipline & Punish, Foucault holds that the Panopticon, the perfection of exercised power, “should tend to render its actual exercise unnecessary” by instilling “a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power.”29 With its armada of ceiling-mounted, tinted glass domes, the casino hotel causes even the most mild-mannered patron to
David Lyon, The Electronic Eye, (Minneapolis, 1994), p. 67. Steve Wynn is the owner of Wynn Resorts, Ltd.; and George Maloof is the owner of the Palms Casino Hotel. 29 Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), p. 201. 28
become “the principle of his own subjection…” for he never knows when he is or is not being monitored.30 The reality is, even though panopticism may not have been intentionally employed, the disciplinary mechanisms still exist. And while the intentions of casino hotel resort surveillance traditionally focused on theft control, as Tony Catalanotti, a surveillance representative at the Stratosphere Las Vegas Hotel Casino, recently stated, “All casinos became aware of themselves after [the events of September 11, 2001].”31 Catalanotti insists that the 9/11 attacks prompted many casino hotel resort owners to acknowledge their global prominence and susceptibility. They now consider their establishments to be legitimate targets to Islamic extremist groups like al Qaeda—who view these resorts as extravagant testaments of dissentful Western values. Thus, appropriate security measures are now necessary. Let us examine the panoptic effects of the aforementioned security cameras in greater detail. Bentham pronounced that with regard to his Inspection House, “Ideal perfection, if that were the object, would require that each person should actually be in [a state of constant and unverifiable
Foucault, op. cit., p. 202. Foucault continues, “He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself.” 31 A personal interview was conducted with Tony Catalanotti on October 11, 2005.
surveillance], during every instant of time.”32 Foucault concurred, “So to arrange things that the surveillance is permanent in its effect, even if it is discontinuous in its action.”33 This is accomplished effectively by the tinted, hemispherical glass domes of the casino surveillance cameras. In a recent interview, MGM Grand Security Supervisor Bill Cooper, admitted that some of the tinted domes in the casino were in fact “dummies” that were not being monitored.34 Obviously, without the tinted glass, patrons would be able to readily distinguish whether they are being watched. The presence of the dome communicates that the camera could be monitoring anything visible in its hemisphere—anything reflected in the glass. Its unverifiable presence causes each camera to function as a Panopticon for its respective hemisphere of visible space. The nature of the glass dome is analogous to Bentham’s provisions for the central observation hall. “Bentham envisaged not only venetian blinds on the windows… but, on the inside, partitions that intersected the hall at right angles and…not doors but zig-zag openings; for the slightest noise, a gleam of light, a brightness in a half-opened door would betray the presence of the guardian.”35
Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, John Bowring ed. (New York, 1962), p. 40. 33 Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), p. 201. 34 A personal interview with Bill Cooper was conducted on October 4, 2005. 35 Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), p. 201.
A Panopticon for 40,000 People One apparent shortcoming in the alignment of casino surveillance systems with panopticism is the issue of what Foucault calls “lateral invisibility.”36 Indeed, the patrons of the casino hotel never engage in direct communication with resort’s control center. They also are not isolated into individual spaces (as patients in the hospital, or criminals in a prison). Rather, they are continuously corralled in massive numbers through various access points at multiple levels in the public realm of the establishment. According to Bill Cooper, the MGM Grand alone receives 30,000 to 40,000 people per hour. Initially, this information may seem to debunk the panopticism theory. For a Foucault clearly stated with regard to the Panopticon, “The crowd, a compact mass, a locus of multiple exchanges, individualities merging together, a collective effect, is abolished and replaced by a collection of separated individuals.”37 However, a thorough analysis will reveal a brilliant deciphering and individualizing of patrons at multiple scales—the Panopticon is, in fact, a very relevant model for understanding the casino hotel resort surveillance. 36
Foucault, op. cit., p. 200. Foucault continues to define the Panopticon’s principle of lateral invisibility, “Each individual in his own place, is securely confined to a cell from which he is seen from the front by the supervisor; but the side walls prevent him from coming into contact with companions. He is seen, but he does not see; he is the object of information, never a subject in communication.” 37 Foucault, op. cit., p. 201.
There are three basic levels of separation by which the crowd is filtered and broken down into easily managed portions. The first layer is the threshold. It is at the entryway where public and private property meet. As people enter a particular casino, they essentially separated themselves from the masses as the patrons. The second layer receives the customers as they approach their respective destinations. Mike Manning, Security Director at the Venetian, claims that many resorts break their facilities into security “zones,” each with an assigned officer.38 He claims that every officer at the Venetian is trained to serve in every zone. Similarly, the MGM Grand’s Bill Cooper affirmed that every person working in their security department is highlytrained and capable of managing any zone—even the control room. This further lends itself to panopticism, for as Foucault stated with regard to the brilliant simplicity of the system, “Any individual, taken almost at random, can operate the machine: in the absence of the director…”39 Thirdly, as people arrive at their respective destinations—be it the hotel registration counter or the blackjack table—they willfully engage in particular codes of conduct that ensure the subordinacy of both the
Assistant editor of Security Management and editor of ASIS Dynamics, Ann LongmoreEtheridge, conducted an interview with Mike Manning entitled Illusions of Grandeur (originally published on July 29, 2000). The full publication is available at http://www.securitymanagement.com/library/000729.html 39 Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), p. 202.
patrons and the employees.40 Any of these workstations, if you will, have their own surveillance camera and their own procedures to ensure that there is no slight of hand (i.e., dice may not leave the threshold of the craps table, hands must be withdrawn to the periphery of the roulette table before the marble drops, driver’s licenses are turned face-up in view of the camera at the hotel registration counter, etc.).41 At any one of these workstations, the customer is locked into a position. Imagine the apprehension that would follow if two guys randomly switched chairs at a blackjack table. The result is a pricey, but efficient, exercise of power. As Foucault stated, “The Panopticon is a marvelous machine which, whatever use one may wish to put it to, produces homogenous effects of power… it is a perpetual victory that avoids any physical confrontation.”42
From “House of Security” To House of Luxury Bentham marveled at the Panopticon’s ability to be architecturally light in relation to social control. Instruments were unnecessary. The
In Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), p. 206, Foucault also states, “The Panopticon is a royal menagerie…” He continues, “The Panopticon may even provide an apparatus for supervising its own mechanism.” Cooper, who has a military and law enforcement background, confirmed that it is imperative that casinos monitor their own employees. Manning claimed that an investigations unit conducts thorough background checks on all employees. Furthermore, he prefers that all security personnel candidates have a military, law enforcement, and/or public/private security background. 41 Both Cooper and Manning confirmed the presence of electronic surveillance at all table games and many automated games within their respective casinos. 42 Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), pp. 202-203.
mechanisms of discipline stemmed solely from spatial relationships and visibilities. The dark, despairing, fortified “house of security” was displaced by a more economic, geometrically-simplistic “house of certainty.”43 Void of its neighbors’ metal detectors and iron bar-lined windows, the Strip’s casino hotel resorts exhibit their own degree of architectural certainty— permitted, of course, by their elaborate surveillance and security infrastructures. Moreover, these establishments are adorned with lavish testaments of their economic vitality. Rather than a houses of certainty, they
pronouncements of affluence venture well beyond confidence and, even, intrusion—for they typically intimidate crooks and deviants as well. William Thompson, a Professor of Public Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), attests to the two-fold service of public safety and economic lucrativeness posed by these houses of luxury. He contends that the Strip’s perceived safeness is what makes it so successful compared to other districts in Las Vegas.44 The homogenous efficiency of power, so characteristic of panopticism, serves the casino hotel resort from both a disciplinary and economic standpoint.
Foucault, op. cit., p. 202. A personal interview was conducted with William Thompson on October 7, 2005.
Power Belongs To Those Who Seize the Rules In Discipline & Punish, Foucault contends that advancements of power proceed specialized knowledge.45 A conviction that success belongs to those who seize the rules is common throughout Foucault’s assessment of the disciplinary society. In Truth and Juridical Forms, Foucault uses the anecdote of judicial inquires executed by royal prosecutors between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, by which specialized “knowledge [cannaissance]” was acquired, in order to perfect the exercise of power over the populace. Foucault concluded, “Through inquires about population, wealth, money, and resources, royal agents were able to establish, secure, and increase royal power. In this way, a whole economic knowledge, a knowledge of the economic administration of states, was accumulated...”46 Hence, in a very economic sense, Foucault perceived the retention of power to be in direct correlation with a regular acquisition of specialized knowledge. Again, the Panopticon model presents casino hotel resort administrations with an alluring vehicle for acquiring specialized knowledge—for as Foucault defined it, “[the Panopticon] could be used as a machine to carry out experiments, to alter behavior, to train or correct 45
Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), p. 204. Exert from Truth and Juridical Forms, p. 49 from the following publication: Michel Foucault, Power: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Volume 3. James D. Faubion, Robert Hurley, and Paul Rabinow ed. (New York, 1994), pp. 1-89. 46
individuals.”47 The Panopticon’s lateral invisibility and mechanisms of observation enables didactic experimentation. To this extent, the casino hotel resort may, like Bentham’s Inspection House, become a “laboratory of power.”48 Casinos acquire cannaissance through various sociological and/or technological experiments. To exemplify this point, consider the following information sourced by the author’s personal observations during an interview with MGM Grand Security Supervisor Bill Cooper:
The MGM Grand’s 115-acre resort is surveyed by approximately 4,500 networked CCTV security cameras. Both digital and analog VHS cameras are employed by the casino.
Some digital CCTV cameras are high-resolution Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) robotic cameras—easily capable of reading a patron’s personal identification card.
When a person checks into the hotel, the casino has the ability to run the customer’s personal information (gathered from a driver’s license or by other means) through various databases. Any matches
Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), p. 203. Foucault, op. cit., p. 204. Foucault describes the Panopticon as a laboratory of power.
If a customer gets “flagged” as a result of such analyses, his/her information goes to Corporate Security—who collaborates with other organizations such as the [Federal Bureau of Investigation] and [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] among others. This information is shared with other MGM Mirage resorts (such as New York, New York and the Mirage).49
Mike Manning, Security Director at the Venetian, affirmed that guest room door locks from his casino can be used to supply security personnel with data regarding times and frequencies of door openings. As well, guests’ electronic keys log the times and locations of their usage. Manning also acknowledged that the Venetian uses networked CCTV cameras of the PTZ robotic variety. Vice President of Table Games for the Wynn, Rick Doptis, recently divulged that Steve Wynn’s newly completed, $2.7 Billion dollar, casino hotel resort is experimenting with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in their casino chips.50 As RFID technology becomes more
Flagged is a labeling term applied to an individual who has been identified as a potential public and/or corporate threat. 50 The FRID devices in the chips disclose serial numbers to casino computer systems— whereby legitimate chips will be distinguished from counterfeits. This technology is designed to deter misconduct at gaming tables. The complete article, written by CNET staff writer Alorie Gilbert, may be retrieved at: http://news.com.com/ Vegas+casino+bets+on+RFID/2100-7355_3-5568288.html
familiar, casinos may be able to readily monitor casino-patron transactions with unprecedented precision. Perhaps the most controversial of these so-called experiments is the employment of Facial-Recognition Software (FRS). FRS enables security personnel to extract facial imagery from high-resolution digital surveillance cameras and identify individuals based on measurable facial variables (such as the distance between one’s eyes). The software focuses geometric bone structures as opposed to readily altered facial features such as hair, eye, or skin color. The results are compared to a number of advanced surveillance databases, including the famous Griffin GOLD casino security database system.51
The Visionics Corporation is
widely considered as the leading producer of biometric software.53 Visionics is administered by Identix Incorporated and provides a popular line of facial-recognition software known as FaceIt® technology.54
Griffin Investigations provide a number of security services and software databases to Las Vegas casinos. Their website is http://www.griffininvestigations.com/ 52 In a personal interview, Tony Catalanotti stated that FRS software can be run against databases from the Department of Motor Vehicles and prison records per state, among others. However, he clearly stated, “I’m not saying we have it or not have it.” Also, Viisage Technology, Inc. (who has since merged with the Visionics Corp.) reported in a February 2000 press release that their facial recognition biometrics technology could utilize voter registrations, national ID’s, and social services documents. 53 Biometric is a term commonly applied to the science of using biological features for identification purposes. 54 This is according to various press releases provided by the Identix Incorporation. Company press releases are posted on the internet at http://www.shareholder.com/identi x/releases.cfm
In December 2001, Wired Magazine’s J.C. Herz published an article in which he claimed, “Vegas security systems have been running face-recognition software 24 hours a day for three years, to suss out cheaters and scam artists, not to mention the professional care-counters.” Perhaps, this was not exactly the most attested brand of journalism; but the deployment of such a technology is worth further investigation. Cooper, Catalanotti and Thompson all admitted that the technology exists. However, nobody would confirm or deny its utilization. Cooper and Catalanotti humorously dismissed the use of FRS as Hollywood fiction. An admission to the utilization of FRS is problematic because of privacy and security concerns. Catalanotti cited confidentiality and legal hurdles. Archived press releases from Identix Inc. and Viisage Technology confirm that the Stratosphere, the Bellagio, the Venetian, and MGM Grand Las Vegas have been using FRS as early as 2000.55
Thompson stated, “[The casino hotel resorts] don’t want to discuss it.” Thompson alluded to the two-fold motive of corporate secrecy and public security.57 This dyad will be examined further in the next chapter; but for
Viisage Technology is another developer of FRS who recently merged with Visionics Corp. and Identix Inc. 56 This chronology is revisited in the next chapter. The press releases are cited in the bibliography. 57 This information is from the personal interview conducted with William Thompson on October 7, 2005.
now, it should be simply stated that this duality is indicative of the rationale behind these pedagogical experiments by casino hotel resorts. While these experiments aren’t cheap, they may potentially improve a casino’s exercise of power over its patrons. For the casino, as the accretion of profit is inextricable from the amassment of power, so the accumulation of patrons is inextricable from the accretion of profit. As Foucault remarks, “If the economic take-off of the West began with the techniques that made possible the accumulation of capital, it might perhaps be said that the methods for administering the accumulation of men made possible a political take-off in relation to the traditional, ritual, costly, violent forms of power, which soon fell into disuse and were superseded by a subtle, calculated technology of subjection. In fact, the two processes – the accumulation of men and the accumulation of capital – cannot be separated…”58 Clearly, the casino hotel resorts have the capital and, hence, own the means of acquiring and amassing power.
At the recent Creative
Economy Forum of Las Vegas, the Richard Florida Creativity Action Team, Catalytix, determined that the city’s service industry accounts for 56.4% of the Las Vegas workforce and 42.8% of its wages. The majority of this industry, as well as the city’s economic vitality, revolve around 58
Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, (New York, 1979), p. 220-221.
tourism along the Strip.59 However, as the proceeding chapters will examine, in lieu of these surveillance technologies, their reactive nature may be leaving the casinos and the city susceptible to a violent attack. On the other hand, while they may combat Las Vegas’ potential vulnerability, the developmental proactive measures cited in this text may also be infringing on the public’s privacy rights.
Space and Power Earlier, it was established that for Foucault space, not form, was the determining factor for any mode of communal life or exercise of power. To illustrate this claim, consider the effect of networked CCTV cameras within the casino hotel resorts. In his book Towards the Fifth Utility? On the Extension and Normalisation of Public CCTV, Stephen Graham contends that CCTV networks are becoming so extensive in certain cities, such as London, that within 20 years they could become “technologically standardized, multi-purpose, nationally-regulated utilities, with virtually universal coverage.” Thus, they would have established a national, perhaps
The 2005 Creative Economy Forum of Las Vegas was held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) on September, 29 2005.
telecommunications and water.60 The broader implications of the “fifth utility” will be examined in the next chapter. However, it is important here to recognize how such technological advancements may, for the first time in the history of civilization, effectively disjoin form from the issue of special surveillance. This could dramatically transform the approach of casino hotel resort design. As Foucault pointed out in Space, Knowledge and Power, the “three great variables – territory, communication and speed” are increasingly escaping the architect’s hand and falling into the hands
technologies’.”61 In other words, design responsibility is shifting from the architect to the other professionals—such as those in the realm of spatial surveillance. Progressively, these professionals may become the masters of space, for it is their products and methods that are prompting the concept of space to (as Foucault described) “extend far beyond the previously-established limits of urbanism and architecture.”62 This is essentially what media historian Mark Poster was referring to with his
Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong, The Maximum Surveillance Society: The Rise of CCTV as Social Control, (New York, 1999), p. 206. 61 This information comes from the interview Space, Knowledge, and Power and can be found in the following publication: Michel Foucault, Power: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Volume 3. James D. Faubion, Robert Hurley, and Paul Rabinow ed. (New York, 1994), p. 354. 62 Foucault, op. cit., p. 353.
conception of the “Superpanopticon” in The Mode of Information: Poststructuralism and Social Context.63 Not unlike the advent of the railroad in nineteenth-century Europe, CCTV networks will usher in a “new aspect in the ever-evolving relations of space and power. (my italics)”64 Moreover, Foucault holds that technological advancements may cause particular “dangers” inherent within urban space to gain in relevancy. As he pointed out with the railroad anecdote, “These spatial problems, which were not new, took on a new importance.”65 One such familiar danger that has gained in relevancy due to technological advancements is terrorism. This will be examined in the proceeding chapters. CCTV networks have also permitted casino hotel resorts to exhibit what Foucault identifies as an “appearance of pure and simple openings” by which one may enter from the street, the parking garage, a skywalk, or perhaps even the monorail. This characterizes Foucault’s “fifth principle”
Mark Poster, The Mode of Information: Poststructuralism and Social Context, (Chicago, 1990), pp. 93. Poster exclaims, “Foucault notes the new technology but interprets it as a mere extension of nineteenth-century patters.” He continues, “Today’s ‘circuits of communication’ and the databases they generate constitute a Superpanopticon, a system of surveillance without walls, windows, towers or guards.” 64 This information comes from the interview Space, Knowledge, and Power and can be found in the following publication: Michel Foucault, Power: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Volume 3. James D. Faubion, Robert Hurley, and Paul Rabinow ed. (New York, 1994), pp. 352-353. 65 Foucault, op. cit., p. 352.
of heterotopias.66 While casinos may appear to have porous boundaries, visitors are, in fact, corralled within the designated public realm—thanks in great part to the unverified monitorization afforded by the resort’s panoptic spatial surveillance. As Cooper stated, “The CCTV systems have allowed the casinos to permit multiple points of entry.” The same institutions that permits the free flow of public circulation also fortifies the separation between public and private space.
Outro With the acquisition of capital, the ownership of casino hotel resorts continues to amass knowledge and power. Subsequently, a “new reality” is becoming entrenched as their administrators acquire increased degrees of social control. As explained above, these resorts basically operate as private, self-contained entities for exercising their power. In many ways, their power structure resembles a small municipality, Cooper stated with regard to the MGM Grand, ““[the resort] is a city… and we (the security department) are the police department.” But does this trend of electronic 66
Michel Foucault, Utopias and Heterotopias, (New York, 1997), pp. 350-356. Foucault essentially defines heterotopias as those particular spaces created in a collection of given social spaces whose functions are the opposite, or in some way dissimilar, to the others. On p. 355. Foucault states, “Fifth principle. Heterotopias always presuppose a system of opening and closing that isolates them and makes them penetrable at one and the same time…Other heterotopias…have the appearance of pure and simple openings, although they usually conceal curious exclusions. Anyone can enter one of these heterotopian locations, but, in reality, they are nothing more than an illusion…” This seems to define the contemporary casino resort with its integrated Electronic Panopticon quite accurately.
spatial surveillance and social control exist at the larger urban scale? Many exerts contend that panopticism is similarly embedding itself in the public realm of urban spaceâ€”and they say itâ€™s here to stay.
CHAPTER TWO: FORTRESS LAS VEGAS Can the future of Las Vegas be deciphered from the history of Los Angeles? In his book, City of Quartz, Mike Davis identifies Los Angeles as the “utopia and dystopia for advanced capitalism,” whose history and development may predicate the future of younger, growing U.S. cities, such as Las Vegas.67 While visitors to the cities may identify several indications of Las Vegas’ assimilation to Los Angeles (i.e., the rampant network of intertwined concrete and asphalt roadways, the ever-increasing cost of living, or hetero-architecture), David Lyon points out, “…now another kind of future, equally ambiguous, is discernible [in Los Angeles].”68
According to Mike Davis, today, the grassy lawns of many
affluent Los Angeles citizens are capped by ominous signs notifying “Armed Response.”70 Several shopping malls exhibit an uncanny resemblance
Mike Davis, City of Quartz, (New York, 1990), p. 18. Hetero-architecture is a term used by Ron Smith, Chair of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Department of Sociology. He defined it during a guest lecture entitled Urban Forms and Architecture: Chicago, Berlin, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. The lecture took place on October 6, 2005 at the UNLV School of Architecture as part of the 2005 Graduate Lecture Series (GLS). Originally coined by Charles Jencks, the term is used in reference to a “hybrid architecture that [integrates] racial and ethnic groups” as opposed to urban developments with designated ethnic neighborhoods. 69 David Lyon, The Electronic Eye: The Rise of Surveillance Society, (Minneapolis, 1994), p. 199. 70 Mike Davis, City of Quartz, (New York, 1990), p. 223. Davis states, “Welcome to postliberal Los Angeles, where the defense of luxury lifestyles is translated into proliferation of new repressions in space and movement, underdirded by ubiquitous ‘armed responses’.” 68
Moreover, by 1990, the LAPD had already brought their in-house technology “up to the levels of the Vietnam War and early NASA.”72 ExLos Angeles police chief, Ed Davis, had even proposed the use of a geosynclinal space satellite “eye” to combat the city’s car theft pandemic.73 Mike Davis refers to this amalgamation as Fortress L.A.74 Davis continues to explain, “Technology helped insulate this paranoid esprit de corps. In doing so, it virtually established a new epistemology of policing, where technologized surveillance and response supplanted the traditional patrolman’s intimate ‘folk’ knowledge of specific communities.”75 As a result of these technological advancements, the roles between the LAPD and the private-sector police are continually evolving:
Davis, op. cit., p. 242, Davis points out that the “prototype plan” shared by four example shopping centers in Los Angeles (the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Watts, the Crenshaw Plaza in Baldwin Hills, another mall scheduled to be built in the Willowbrooks area, and an old Sears site at Vermont and Slauson), “plagiarizes brazenly from Jeremy Bentham’s renowned nineteenth-century design for the ‘panoptic prison’ with its electronic central surveillance.” He continues on pg. 243, “The King center site is surrounded by an eight-foot-high, wrought-iron fence comparable to security fences found at the perimeters of private estates and exclusive residential communities.” In addition to such security features as video cameras equipped with motion detectors, there is also an LAPD substation in a central surveillance tower. 72 Davis, op. cit., p. 252. 73 Davis, op. cit., p. 252. 74 Davis, op. cit., p. 221. Mike Davis epitomizes the contents of chapter four with the title Fortress L.A. 75 Davis, op. cit., p. 251.
The private sector, exploiting an army of non-union, low-wage employees,, has increasingly captured the labor-intensive roles (guard duty, residential patrol, apprehension of retail crime, maintenance of security passages and checkpoints, monitoring of electronic surveillance, and so on), while public law enforcement has retrenched behind the supervision of security macrosystems (maintenance of major crime data bases, aerial surveillance, jail systems, paramilitary responses to terrorism and street insurgency, and so on). The confusing interface between the two sectors is most evident in the overlapping of patrol functions in many neighborhoods and in the growing trend to subcontract jailing (with the privatized supervision of electronic home surveillance as another potentially lucrative market).76
Communications Systems], together with the LAPD’s prodigious suspect citizenry, have become the central neural system for the vast and disparate, public and private, security operations taking place in Los Angeles. …we are at the threshold of the universal electronic tagging of property and people – both criminal and non-criminal (small children, for example) – monitored by both cellular and centralized surveillances.”77 In the words of David Lyon, “Who needs Blade Runner or Die Hard when
Davis, op. cit., p. 251. Davis, op. cit., p. 252.
Hollywood itself can evoke images of the future without using film? The freeway web is now overlaid by an electronic web.”78 As mentioned in the previous section, those with power also have access to the technologies that enable specialized knowledge to be obtained. Such information is gathered via the two basic components of spatial surveillance: visual control and data collection. Technological advancements are creating new forces of social control. In Postscript on the Societies of Control, Gilles Deleuze responds to these new forces, “We are in a generalized crisis in relation to all the environments of enclosure.” He states that those with power “never cease announcing supposedly necessary reforms…” Deleuze continues, “It’s only a matter of administering their last rites and of keeping people employed until the installation of the new forces knocking at the door. These are the societies of control, which are in the process of replacing the disciplinary societies. (my italics)” According to Deleuze, even Michel Foucault recognized this “new monster” as “our immediate future.”79
David Lyon, The Electronic Eye: The Rise of Surveillance Society, (Minneapolis, 1994), p. 199. 79 Gilles Deleuze’s Postscript on the Societies of Control can be found in the following publication: Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory. Neil Leach ed. (New York, 1997), pp. 309-313. The information cited by this footnote can be found on p. 309.
The Las Vegas Strip as a Security and Surveillance Citadel Evidence of this “control” can be found at virtually every street corner in Las Vegas, where at least four closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras fix their gaze upon the city grid.80 It is not clear who exactly operates and maintains the city’s CCTV cameras. According to local officials, this municipal network of “traffic cams” is supplied by the Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation (FAST).81 However, the author’s investigation into the specifics of the matter suggests otherwise.82 As a result, it is not clear whether the private- or public-sector presides over the local CCTV network. Hence, there is a debate regarding the capabilities and possible multi-jurisdictional use of this new technology.
This does not include publicly-accessible web-cams. Web-cams permit anybody with internet access to anonymously gaze upon the public. Among many other locations, webcams are currently mounted in the Casino Royale, The Beach dance floor, Fremont Street, the Red Rock Visitor Center, A Little White Chapel, the Hard Rock Hotel swimming pool, and atop the Stratosphere among many other locations. To access these web cams and many others, visit http://www.LasVegasWebCams.com 81 According to the City of Las Vegas’ official website, the FAST is a “multi-jurisdictional agency that provides coordinated timing for most traffic signals in the Las Vegas valley and handles calls for signal timing concerns.” For more information, or to view selected traffic cams, visit http://www.lasvegasnevada.gov/Watch/traffic_cam.htm# 82 LasVegasNevada.gov identifies the Public Works Department as the official contact for questions regarding the city’s traffic-oriented CCTV network. After failing to contact any person with knowledge pertinent to this investigation, the author contacted the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LAMPD). From there, the author was directed back to the Traffic Engineering Division of the Public Works Department and given another phone number unlike the number listed on LasVegasNevada.gov. A representative of the Traffic Engineering Division informed the author that an outside, privately-owned entity known as ART actually presides over the city’s traffic-oriented CCTV network. The author was specifically directed to an ART representative named Tom Cruise. The author has attempted to contact Mr. Cruise, but has not received a return phone call.
However, something that does appear certain is that Las Vegas won’t abandon CCTV surveillance any time soon. In their book The Maximum Surveillance Society: The Rise of CCTV as Social Control, Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong outline five specific reason why CCTV employment trends are forecasted to continue:
First, negative findings are crowded out by the industry and practitionerled claims of ‘success’ which dominate the newspapers and trade magazines… Second, as the evidence of displacement firms up, areas without CCTV will fall under increasing pressure to introduce systems as well… Third… As cities are increasingly competing to attract and keep inward investment from ever more mobile multinational corporations, CCTV is seen as part of a package of measures to attract… Fourth, regardless of its effects on the overall crime rate, CCTV can be a very useful tool in investigating statistically rare but serious criminal offences… Finally, even when CCTV is shown to have a limited impact on crime, it provides a very useful tool for the police to manage the problem of informational uncertainty and for allocating resources to incidents.83
Following this disposition, one may logically conclude that casino hotel resorts are inclined to “follow suit” with each other. Failure to progress one’s own security infrastructure may leave one more susceptible (and for that matter, criminally attractive) and perhaps liable. If a serious crime was to occur in an area of a given casino hotel resort not 83
Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong, The Maximum Surveillance Society: The Rise of CCTV as Social Control, (New York, 1999), pp. 205-206.
under surveillance, would not the absence of the cameras be seen as irresponsible and subject the establishment to public scrutiny? Therefore, it has become imperative that the most lucrative resorts on the Strip “keep up with Joneses,” so to speak. In response to both security concerns and economic viability, the Las Vegas Strip is in the process of establishing a powerful security and surveillance citadel. Recall the information regarding Facial-Recognition Software (FRS) and other surveillance technologies from the previous section of this text and consider the following chronology:
Feb. 25, 2000 – A press release from Viisage Technology, Inc., primary rival of Visionics Corp. in the development of FacialRecognition Software, states that the Stratosphere “has a number of unique security challenges and has deployed the Viisage non-intrusive facial recognition technology to reduce fraud costs.”84 The scope of the biometrics technology is quite remarkable.85
March, 14, 2000 – Visionics Corp. announces that four world-class casino hotel resorts, namely the Venetian and Mirage Resort’s Bellagio
Press release accessible at the following web address: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgibin/stories.pl?ACCT=105&STORY=/www/story/02-25-2000/0001150333 85 The same press release states, “Viisage combines its patented facial recognition technology, systems integration capability, software design expertise, proprietary products and other best-in-class products to create turnkey customized customer solutions. Applications include Internet, electronic and physical access control; real-time image identification and verification; drivers' licenses; voter registration; national ID's; law enforcement; and social services. Domestically, Viisage products annually produce more than 20 million identification documents at more than 1,500 locations in 13 states.”
have “adopted the Griffin On-Line Database (G.O.L.D.TM) casino security system enabled by Visionics' FaceIt® facial recognition software engine.”86
March, 29, 2000 – Viisage Technology, Inc. and Biometrica Systems, Inc. (which is also owned by Viisage) announced the “fiftieth order and installation of its full surveillance suite of Visual Casino loss-reduction systems, which has been successfully installed at Mirage Resort, Las Vegas.” Biometrica's President, Robert Schmitt, states, "Surveillance and operations managers see the immediate benefit of this technology in quickly identifying selected patrons while they are still in house. Casinos can dramatically cut their losses to the individuals and teams working to cheat and defraud the casinos."87
Press release accessible at the following web address: http://www.shareholder.com/ide ntix/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=53278 87 Press release accessible at the following web address: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgibin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/03-29-2000/0001176861&EDATE= The press release also states, “The Visual Casino product suite additionally includes the Casino Information Network and the Casino Information Database, as well as unique copyrighted training tools that assist operators in learning to recognize faces stored in a casino's database. The Casino Information Network is a secure, closed-loop, nonInternet network used by surveillance and security departments to exchange timely information and queries about casino suspects. The Casino Information Database, published by CVI, LLC, is a state-of-the-art subscription database of casino undesirables, which provides updated data and photographs that are facial recognition ready.”
Oct. 18, 2000 – Visionics Corp. announces that the MGM Grand Las Vegas, now a subsidiary of MGM Mirage, has adopted the FaceIt®enabled Griffin G.O.L.D. casino security database system.88
Nov. 2000 – Digital Biometrics Incorporated and the Visionics Corporation announce a definitive merger agreement. They agree to maintain Visionics Corp.’s namesake.89 90
Feb. 22, 2002 – Identix Incorporated and Visionics Corporation agree to a “strategic merger of equals to create the world’s leading multibiometric security technology company…” According to the press release, the all-stock transaction is valued at approximately $600 million.91
Apr. 26, 2005 – PR Newswire US reports that MGM MIRAGE and Mandalay Resort Group have competed a $7.9 billion merger.92
Press release accessible at the following web address: http://www.shareholder.com/identix/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=53235 According to the same press release, after the merger, MGM Mirage’s holdings on the Las Vegas Strip include: The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino – The City of Entertainment, Bellagio, The Mirage, New York - New York Hotel and Casino, Treasure Island, the Boardwalk Hotel and Casino, and 50% of Monte Carlo. 89 Digital Biometrics Incorporated is a third, lesser-known developer of biometric software. 90 This is according to the November 2000 issue of Biometric Digest. 91 This press release accessible at the following web address: http://www.shareholder.com/identix/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=72896 92 See PR Newswire US article entitled, “MGM MIRAGE Completes $7.9 Billion Acquisition of Mandalay Resort Group.” The document was released on April 25, 2005.
As a result of this chronology, it is evident that the upper tiers of casino hotel resorts on the Strip have fashioned an elaborate system of coordinated visual control and data collection. The fact that both the casino hotel resort security departments and the various biometric software developers utilize local and federal databases of both criminal and non-criminal records exemplifies this. Bill Couple this with the reality that casino hotel resorts share pertinent information with other resorts under the same ownership, not to mention their ever expanding corporate ownership, and the true extent of the Strip’s spatial surveillance comes to light.93 Thus, the casino hotel resorts’ breadth of panoptic social control has transcended traditional boundaries of private- versus public-sector jurisdiction. In pursuit of social and financial safety, security/surveillance alliances have been fashioned between various institutions in both the private- and public-sector, as well.94
Cooper offered further testimony that Las Vegas resorts share information with other resorts under the same ownership, “The information is shared with New York-New York and all of the other MGM Mirage casinos.” 94 Cooper has acknowledged that MGM Mirage’s Corporate Security collaborates with such organizations as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, among others. Tom Catalanotti would not state if the Stratosphere employed FRS, but claimed that, among other databases, the technology could utilize DMV and criminal records from specific states.
Measures and Counter Measures In his book, The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau describes a man’s gnostic experience from atop the 110th floor of the now-demolished World Trade Center in New York City:
His elevation transfigures him into a voyeur. It puts him at a distance. It transforms the bewitching world by which one was “possessed” into a text that lies before one’s eyes. It allows one to read it, to be a solar Eye, looking down like a god.95
However, despite this voluptuous experience, De Certeau contends that from such a vantage point the all-seeing eye is incapacitated. He asks rhetorically, “Is the immense texturology spread out before one’s eyes anything more than representation, an optical artifact?”96 Hence, the panoptic view is merely a theatrical construction. De Certeau continues to claim that true “visibility” is not perceptible from the stature of “the voyeurgod created by this fiction.” As he stated, “The ordinary practitioners of the
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1984), p. 92. 96 De Certeau, op. cit., pp. 92-93. De Certeau states, “Is the immense texturology spread out before one’s eyes anything more than a representation, an optical artifact? It is the analogue of the facsimile produced, through a projection that is a way of keeping aloof, by the space planner urbanist, city planner, or cartographer. The panorama-city is a “theoretical” (that is, visual) simulacrum, in short a picture, whose condition of possibility is an oblivion and a misunderstanding of practices. The voyeur-god created by this fiction, who, like Schreber’s God, knows only cadavers, must disentangle himself from the murky intertwining daily behaviors and make himself alien to them.”
city live ‘down below,’ below the thresholds at which visibility begins.”97 In simple terms, De Certeau contends that from a greater distance, a panoptic eye may seem to be more powerful in the sense that its perspective has broadened. However, that very distance also hinders effective administration beyond the threshold of the superficial veil of visual imagery.98 In terms applicable to this text, one would compare De Certeau’s example to a surveyor atop the Stratosphere tower. According to a credible, undisclosed source, the Stratosphere has the technological capacity to peer through various windows at various distances.99 However, following De Certeau’s contention, if the Stratosphere tower does utilize such advanced visual technology, it is still incapable of strategic and tactful government. De Certeau also acknowledges a resistance to the all-seeing eye— a resistance imperceptible to the eye’s gaze, “Beneath the discourses that ideologize the city, the ruses and combinations of powers that have no readable identity proliferate; without points where one can take hold of
De Certeau, op. cit., p. 93. De Certeau, op. cit., p. 93. De Certeau continues, “These practices of space refer to a specific form of operations (‘ways of operating’), to ‘another spatiality’ (an ‘anthropological,’ poetic and mythic experience of space), and to an opaque and blind mobility characteristic of the bustling city. A migrational, or metaphorical, city thus slips into the clear text of the planned and readable city.” 99 The author conducted an “off the record” interview with an unidentified source with reliable knowledge regarding Las Vegas casino security. Since the source will not be disclosed, and cannot be subjected to academic scrutiny, it will only be used here for a theoretical discussion. 98
them, without rational transparency, they are impossible to administer.”100 This point may be extended to include networked surveillance at pedestrian scale. In CCTV London, Alex Haw depicts several ways in which deviant citizenry have attempt to screen or otherwise evade London’s elaborate CCTV networks—including driving on curbs, using maps of network blind spots or spaces of resistance, and using $1 laser pens to disable individual cameras.101 As well, there are other legitimate “screens”. Casinos are not allowed to visually monitor individual hotel rooms or restrooms.102 Even Jeremy Bentham’s Inspector House, the prototypical Panopticon, contained provisions for restrictive screens. However, Bentham warns that they must be strategically oriented in order to avoid the concealment of deviant activity, “A slight screen, which the prisoner might occasionally interpose, may perhaps not be thought superfluous. This, while it answers
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1984), p. 95. 101 Alex Haw’s article CCTV London may be found in the AA Files 52 (Sep. 2005). On page 60, he gives several examples of public resistance. In the first example, Haw states, “This discrepancy between target and gaze is unproblematic unless drivers decide to straddle lanes, climb pavements or travel in Alfa Romeos – the 156 and 147 models have non-central front number plates, which can easily slip out of camera shot.” Haw continues with to describe another example, one regarding spaces of resistance, “Signage for CCTV is mandatory and ubiquitous; maps of networks offering ‘the path of least surveillance’ multiply on the web.” (Compliments of the ACLU, Hay also identified a web page from which the general public may access a similar map of Manhattan). Hay also explains that $1 laser pens can disarm or even permanently damage CCTV cameras. 102 This is according to the interview conducted with Bill Cooper at the MGM Grand.
the purpose of decency, might be so adjusted as to prevent his concealing from the eye of the inspector any forbidden enterprise.”103 It should also be noted that the counter measures taken by those who desire to resist the system have increased in sophistication. David Lyon holds, “Technology is not simply a tool of dominant social groups.”104 The same technology used to build the system can be used to manipulate or destroy it. For example, consider data collection. Lyon states, “With the twentieth-century rise of credentialism and the constant demand for identification, the temptation to invent or enhance personal documentary details has for some been too hard to resist.” As a result, fraudulent identification and distorted biographical details have called into question the extent to which data can be trusted.105 As mentioned earlier, Foucault recognized that the advent of the railroad in Europe was a technological advancement that created a new aspect of the relationship between space and power. With it, familiar dangers, such as epidemics of cholera, increased in relevancy.106 Similarly, the advent of air travel, fraudulent ID’s, digital video surveillance, and the information superhighway has enhanced the age-old danger of terrorism in the Western world and has 103
Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, John Bowring ed. (New York, 1962), p. 42. 104 David Lyon, The Electronic Eye, (Minneapolis, 1994), p. 60. 105 Lyon, op. cit., pp. 59-60. 106 Recall the information from Foucault’s interview Space, Knowledge, and Power, p. 352.
rendered Michel de Certeau’s observation atop the 110th floor of the World Trade Center an unduplicable experience.
The True Effectiveness of Las Vegas’ All-Seeing Eye This beckons the logical questions: how well does Las Vegas’ methods of electronic spatial surveillance protect its citizens? Mayor Oscar Goodman has adamantly insisted that the Strip as well as the greater metropolitan area is safe and should be one of the least enticing targets of deviants. “If I were the enemy, Vegas would be on the bottom of my list,” declares the Mayor in a recent interview with The Boston Globe.107 For a city built upon a service-reliant economy, the perception of safety is vital to fiscal success—this is especially true for the Las Vegas Strip. Bill Thompson contends that it is the perception of safety that makes the Strip so successful compared to other districts in the city. Thompson attributes much of this psychological conveyance of security to the CCTV networks laced throughout the indoor and outdoor environments. Thompson advocates the employment of CCTV surveillance and insists that such networks of visual control are working for the people. “If you
Friess, Steve. "Terror Threats Loom Over Las Vegas Officials Fear Blow To Economy." The Boston Globe. 28 Dec. 2003, Third ed.: National/Foreign; Pg. A7.
have nothing to hide, they carry many benefits,” claims Thompson. He also maintains that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) is not using the cameras to scan license plates and pull people over for, say, speeding by 3 miles per hour. Rather, they are being used to curtail more serious offenses that put other people in danger—such as reckless driving. “They could use them to catch people who run red lights,” said Thompson.108 With some certainty, data provided by the LVMPD indicates that the Las Vegas Strip is safer than its immediate vicinity.109 However, following De Certeau’s assertion, one may conclude that it is impossible for methods to spatial surveillance to prevent deviant acts and malevolence that occur beyond the thresholds of visibility. For example, in March of 2005, the Las Vegas Review-Journal confirmed that “despite a slew of post-Sept. 11  security restrictions” an unidentified man managed to access the rooftop of the MGM Grand, climb atop the marquee and
This information is from the personal interview conducted with William Thompson on October 7, 2005. 109 The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s web site provides several tools for assessing crime data throughout the city. A cross-analysis of information gathered from their CrimeView® Community interactive crime-mapping system and the city’s population distribution indicates that there are considerably fewer reported violent and non-violent crimes per capita within a one-mile proximity of Las Vegas boulevard compared to regions approximately three to five miles east and west of the Strip. To access the LVMPD’s crime data tools, visit: http://www.lvmpd.com/Crime_Information/
urinate onto the public realm below.110 Moreover, on September 22nd, 2005 a man drove his vehicle onto the sidewalk in front of Bally’s casino, killing at least one person, and hospitalizing over a dozen others.111 Another shortcoming of conventional casino hotel resort spatial surveillance systems is their reactionary nature. David G. Schwartz, Coordinator of the Gaming Studies Research Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, asserts that casino surveillance and security techniques are “too reactive rather than proactive.” Schwartz, who was once a Surveillance Operator at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, maintains that, typically, systems of spatial surveillance within casino hotel resorts are divided into two departments— security and gaming surveillance. Schwartz also points out that, traditionally, the two departments were not been very coordinated and priority was usually given to gaming surveillance.112 However, Schwartz clarifies that as a result of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, this nonalignment of departments has given way to a new protocol that urges interdepartmental and inter-resort collaboration and synchronization. Stratosphere Safety Manager Tony Catalanotti 110
Jones, Chris. “Prankster’s Rooftop Stunt Highlights Security Challenge.” 19 Mar. 2005. Las Vegas Review-Journal. 9 Oct. 2005 <http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_hom e/2005/Mar-19-Sat-2005/business/78 5620.html>. 111 Geary, Frank, Brian Haynes, and Jens Manuel Krogstad. "Death on the Strip: Car Plows Into Crowd." Las Vegas Review-Journal. 22 Sep. 2005: 1A. 112 A personal interview was conducted with David Schwartz on November 11, 2005.
states, “All casinos have become aware of themselves after 9/11.” Bill Thompson also stresses, “Don’t be fooled… their (casino hotel resorts’) awareness of possible dangers is relatively high.” Thompson suggests that the casino hotel resort owners are concerned that terrorism could devastate the Las Vegas economy.113 Consider the following: Among others, the Associated Press, The Boston Globe, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal have confirmed that video imagery of the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, the Luxor, and Excalibur were seized from an alleged terrorist sleeper cells in Detroit, Michigan and Madrid, Spain in 2002.114
This is an exemplification of Lyon’s assertion that
technology (and subsequently Foucault’s “specialized knowledge”) now transcends many hierarchies of societal power. According to the Washington Post, government officials have recognized the threat of terrorism in Las Vegas, citing al Qaeda’s perception of the city as “a citadel of Western licentiousness.”117 A board member of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently stated, “Everybody knows that 113
The information from Schwartz, Catalanotti, and Thompson is from their respective interviews with the author. See the Works Cited section of this text for more information. 114 Associated Press. “Why Was Vegas Threat Silenced?.” 11 Aug. 2004. CBS News. 1 Oct. 2005 <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/07/30/national/main633064.shtml>. 115 Friess, Steve. "Terror Threats Loom Over Las Vegas Officials Fear Blow To Economy." The Boston Globe. 28 Dec. 2003, Third ed.: National/Foreign; Pg. A7. 116 "Week in Review: Videotapes Seized in Terror Cases Stir Debate on LV's Public Safety Efforts." Las Vegas Review-Journal. 15 Aug. 2004, Final ed.: B; Pg. 3B. 117 Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) / Associated Press. “Was Las Vegas The Terror Target?.” 26 Dec. 2003. CBS News. 1 Oct. 2005 <http://www.cbsnews.com/stori es/2003/12/28/terror/main590379.shtml>.
Las Vegas is something of a soft target because there are so many outdoor attractions on the Strip that can never been secured.” He continued, “A truck bomb at a busy intersection is almost impossible to prevent, and bam – our economy’s dead.” Thompson asserts that this vulnerability is precisely what casino hotel resort owners are concerned about. He cites, “Our economy was killed the four months after September 11th…” To be certain, the Los Angeles Times, an Associated Press writer at the Houston Chronicle, and CBS News were among those who cited the rapid economic recession immediately following the 9/11 attacks. According to CBS News, “In Las Vegas, one in every 20 casino jobs was cut in the six weeks after the attacks.”118 119 120 Ironically, according to various media outlets, city officials may not be gambling that they can fully prevent a devastating attack on the nation’s gaming capitol. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Associated Press, and CBS News, Federal law enforcement officials in Detroit accused Las Vegas authorities of “valuing tourism revenue over 118
Gorman, Tom. “Las Vegas Takes Big Hit As Fear of Flying Cuts Tourism.” 30 Sep. 2001. Los Angeles Times. 9 Oct. 2005 <http://www.latimes.com/travel/destinations/lasv egas/la-093001vegas,1,3356374.sto ry?coll=la-travel-las_vegas>. 119 Snedeker, Lisa. “Las Vegas Gambling, Tourism Industry Hit Hard By Terrorist Attacks.” 20 Sep. 2001. Houston Chronicle. 9 Oct. 2005 <http://www.chron.ocm/cs/ssis tory.mpl/special/terror/econcomy/1054951>. 120 Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). “Terror’s Economic Toll.” 11 Jan. 2002. CBS News. 9 Oct. 2005 <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/11/archive/main323988.s html>.
public safety by ignoring or keeping silent about signs that terrorists wanted to strike Strip casinos…”121
It is inconclusive whether Vegas
authorities saw the footage. Supposedly, Mayor Goodman was “never told about the tape uncovered in Detroit and Madrid.” Yet according to the Associated Press, “Las Vegas authorities were alerted to some of the footage by Aug. 30, 2002.” Following this, a senior FBI agent invited Las Vegas law enforcement officials to view the footage, but the majority “spurned the invitation,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.124 While some hold that money was prioritized over public safety, Federal Prosecutor Richard Convertino, who has been harshly criticized by Mayor Goodman and other city officials, holds another theory: public liability concerns. Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, “Convertino was steadfast in his claims. He said he thinks local officials avoided the viewing to minimize legal and public relations fallout if word of the tape leaked publicly or a terrorist attack ensued.”125 With regard to the FBI video-screening invitation, Convertino states, “The reason that he (the 121
"Week in Review: Videotapes Seized in Terror Cases Stir Debate on LV's Public Safety Efforts." Las Vegas Review-Journal. 15 Aug. 2004, Final ed.: B; Pg. 3B. 122 Associated Press. “Why Was Vegas Threat Silenced?.” 11 Aug. 2004. CBS News. 1 Oct. 2005 <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/0 7/30/national/main633064.shtml>. 123 The specific quote cited here is from the following article: Solomon, John, J.M. Kalil, and Dave Berns. "Terrorism Threats: City Accused of Inaction." 20 Aug. 2004. Las Vegas Review-Journal. 1 Oct. 2005 <http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Aug10-Tue-2004/news/24502177.html>. 124 Solomon, Kalil, and Berns, op. cit. 125 "Week in Review: Videotapes Seized in Terror Cases Stir Debate on LV's Public Safety Efforts." Las Vegas Review-Journal. 15 Aug. 2004, Final ed.: B; Pg. 3B.
senior FBI agent) was given for the low turnout was because of liability. That if they heard this information they would have to act on it. It was extraordinarily unacceptable and absolutely outrageous.” Seeming to mimic the reactive nature of casino surveillance, Convertino claimed, “[An] officer told me that the amount of money that travels through Las Vegas on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – if something doesn’t go boom, nothing is going to be done.”126 127 Still another theory exists. The Las Vegas Review-Journal asserts, “While Convertino criticized the failure of casino industry representatives to meet with FBI’s [supervisory agent Paul George] to watch the video, an executive of one company offered an explanation for that decision. Each person at the meeting could have been subpoenaed to testify at the Detroit terrorism trial, possibly forcing casino operators to release details of their security plans. ‘To say we blew it off, that’s really a misperception,’ said the executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”128 Recall Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong’s hypothesis that rival establishments are
Solomon, John, J.M. Kalil, and Dave Berns. "Terrorism Threats: City Accused of Inaction." 20 Aug. 2004. Las Vegas Review-Journal. 1 Oct. 2005 <http://www.reviewjou rnal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Aug-10-Tue-2004/news/24502177.html>. 127 This claim is reminiscent of the admitted reactionary nature of casino surveillance. MGM Grand Security Supervisor Bill Cooper stated, “[Casino surveillance personnel] aren’t looking to nab criminals as soon as they enter a casino. Rather, they wait until they have a reason to do something (like if a person was to commit a crime).” 128 Solomon, John, J.M. Kalil, and Dave Berns. "Terrorism Threats: City Accused of Inaction." 20 Aug. 2004. Las Vegas Review-Journal. 1 Oct. 2005 <http://www.reviewjou rnal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Aug-10-Tue-2004/news/24502177.html>.
constantly competing for the most elaborate surveillance methods and technologies. Failure to engage in this “civic rivalry” will cause an institution to be perceived as “easy pickings”.129 This is in addition to the assimilation of spatial surveillance systems belonging to casino hotel resorts under the same umbrella of database subscriptions and/or corporate ownership. If a resort corporation is subpoenaed, its techniques of visual control and/or data collection may be exposed—thus, a light will be cast into Bentham’s inspector’s quarter, by which visibility will alas be verifiable to the figurative prisoners of these establishments. The veil will be lifted to expose the eye as the truth regarding spatial surveillance would be exposed for several world-class casino hotel resorts on the Strip.
Outro Clearly, Stephen Graham’s fifth utility is amassing itself in Las Vegas. As the upper tiers of socioeconomic power are implementing technological methods of visual control and data collection, the Strip is transforming into a stronghold for spatial surveillance. Though, the current Electronic Panopticon that constitutes today’s casino hotel resorts likely lack the proactive characteristics necessary to prevent certain deviant and malicious acts, necessary transformations may be underway. With such 129
Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong, The Maximum Surveillance Society: The Rise of CCTV as Social Control, (New York, 1999), pp. 205-206.
an elaborate system of spatial surveillance and correlating social control, the Las Vegas Strip is beginning to resemble Mike Davis’ Fortress L.A.. However, as David Schwartz was quick to assert, “The Strip is not a fortress, it’s more like a prison. They’re not trying to keep people out; they’re trying to bring people in.”130 To assimilate a casino to a prison, Foucault may not have agreed more.
Schwartz stated this during a personal interview conducted on November 11, 2005.
CHAPTER THREE: PROTECTION VERSUS PRIVACY: A NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE The concept of a “police state” is nothing new in our culture. George Orwell published his famous novel involving the omnipresent Thought Police over 50 years ago.131 However, coinciding with the arrival of
undercurrent has developed.132 New historicism’s advocacy of personal freedoms and acclamation of virtually any type of social “deviance” sharply contrasts with the notion of a repressive, omniscient state presence.133 The resultant form of theoretical discourse has increasingly gained momentum through the contributions of Michel Foucault regarding panopticism and the critical assessment of their applicability to contemporary methods of societal surveillance. Barry explicitly defines the new historicist focus on “issues of State power and how it is maintained, on patriarchal structures and their perpetuation, and on the process of colonization, with its accompanying ‘mind-set’.”134 Though he did not define it as new historicism per se, 131
George Orwell’s 1949 novel Nineteen Eight-Four expounds a totalitarian government, referred to as Big Brother, bent on manipulating society into complete mindless compliancy via ubiquitous methods of surveillance. The so-called Thought Police could not read minds, per se, but their presence instilled an illusion as such. 132 Peter Barry, Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, Second Edition, (New York, 2002), p. 179. 133 Barry, op. cit., p. 175. 134 Barry, op. cit., p. 179.
Michele Foucault also recognizes a rising popular concern with regard to a governmental police capable of permeating and controlling society, “No longer do we ask: What is the form of governmental rationality that will be able to penetrate the body politic to its most fundamental element? Rather: How is government possible? That is, what is the principle of limitation that applies to governmental actions such that things will occur for the best, in conformity with the rationality of government, and without intervention?”135 However, as alluded to earlier, Gilles Deleuze has since contended that Foucault’s disciplinary societies have given way to societies of control.136 In order to differentiate the societies of discipline from those of control, Deleuze analogically compares the factory-like operation of
This information comes from the interview Space, Knowledge, and Power and can be found in the following publication: Michel Foucault, Power: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Volume 3. James D. Faubion, Robert Hurley, and Paul Rabinow ed. (New York, 1994), p. 352. 136 Gilles Deleuze’s Postscript on the Societies of Control can be found in the following publication: Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory. Neil Leach ed. (New York, 1997), pp. 309-313. The information cited by this footnote can be found on p. 309, within which Deleuze writes, ““Foucault located the disciplinary societies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; they reach their height at the outset of the twentieth. They initiate the organization of vast spaces of enclosure. The individual never ceases passing from one closed environment to another, each having its own laws…the preeminent instance of the enclosed environment.” He continues, “We are in a generalized crisis in relation to all the environments of enclosure.” The administrations in charge “never cease announcing supposedly necessary reforms…” “It’s only a matter of administering their last rites and of keeping people employed until the installation of the new forces knocking at the door. These are the societies of control, which are in the process of replacing the disciplinary societies. ‘Control’ is the name [William S.] Burroughs proposes as a term for the new monster, one that Foucault recognizes as our immediate future. (my italics)”
internal forces (which he equates to moulds, or distinct castings) at equilibrium in disciplinary societies with the corporation-like operation of constantly varying spirit-like forces (which he equates to “a modulation, or a self-deforming cast that will continuously change from one moment to the other”) in societies of control. Essentially, Deleuze points out that the factory will create the highest possible yield in terms of production, while the corporation implements “the modulating principle of ‘salary according to merit’.”137 He then summarizes, “In disciplinary societies one was always starting again (from school to the barracks, from the barracks to the factory), while in the societies of control, one is never finished with anything – the corporation, the educational system, the armed services being metastable states coexisting in one and the same modulation, like a universal system of deformation.”138 Deleuze continues to explain that in today’s capitalistic society, the “operation of markets is now the instrument of social control” and that through fluctuating, insurmountable debt man is being controlled by contemporary societal powers.139 The inescapable costs of everyday life keep man in check.
Deleuze, op. cit., p. 310. Deleuze, op. cit., p. 310. 139 Deleuze, op. cit., p. 310-312. 138
Conversely, in The Eye of Power, Foucault holds that for those attempting to acquire or increase such power, certain inescapable costs must be incurred as well:
... We are talking about two things here: the gaze and interiorisation. And isn't it basically the problem of the cost of power? In reality power is only exercised at a cost. Obviously, there is an economic cost, and Bentham talks about this. â€Ś But there is also a specifically political cost. If you are too violent, you risk provoking revolts...In contrast to that you have the system of surveillance, which on the contrary involves very little expense. There is no need for arms, physical violence, material constraints. Just a gaze. An inspecting gaze, a gaze which each individual under its weight will end by interiorisation to the point that he is his own overseer, each individual thus exercizing this surveillance over, and against, himself. A superb formula: power exercised continuously and for what turns out to be minimal cost.140
Clearly, the acquisition and deployment of CCTV networks, PTZ video surveillance, facial-recognition software, RFID chips, and other technological conduits for intelligence data are only available at a high monetary cost. The enormous resource expenditures created by the implementation of such methods and technologies fixes them beyond the reach of smaller establishments and citizens with fewer resources. Thus, the information obtained by these systems becomes privileged knowledge 140
Michel Foucault, The Eye of Power (1974), Excerpt. This passage may be accessed at the following address: http://foucault.in fo/documents/foucault.eyeOfPower.en.html
accessible and utilizable only by those willing (and able) to pay the price. In his book The Panoptic Sort, Oscar H. Gandy, Jr. exemplifies this approach to power at a number of scales. He maintains that power “focuses not on individuals, firms, or the state, but on the networks that the elites in each of these spheres develop and maintain in the pursuit of their common interests and objectives.”141 Gandy also addresses the political costs of enacting mechanisms of panoptic control. He states that “ultimately, even a president cannot press beyond the constraints of government structure and must succumb to the internal dynamics which push government to maintain stability, provide a favorable investment climate for privately held businesses, and suppress any discontent with the outcomes of these policies.”142 Essentially, even those in power cannot bullishly instigate means of social control due to the subsequent negative reception of their constituents. In Discipline & Punish, Foucault describes how “the utopia of a perfectly governed city” was fashioned as a result of a seventeenthcentury town’s plague-stricken condition. As he states, the city was 141
Oscar H. Gandy, The Panoptic Sort, (Boulder, 1993), p. 20. Moreover, with regard to Foucault’s conception of the relationship between power and knowledge, Gandy suggests (p. 21), “Rather than to claim, as was (and is) popular, that power equals knowledge, Foucault discussed the two as being inextricable linked and mutually constitutive. Power cannot operate without a constitutive field of knowledge, and the operation of power reveals both its possibilities and its limits; knowledge is necessary for power to continue to operate.” 142 Gandy, op. cit., p. 20.
“traversed throughout with hierarchy, surveillance, observation, writing; the town immobilized by the functioning of an extensive power that bears in a distinct way over all individual bodies…”143 The panoptic establishment created in this municipality was the result of an “exceptional situation.” As Foucault defines it, “against an extraordinary evil, power is mobilized; it makes
mechanisms…”144 For this seventeenth-century town, the plague afforded an opportunity to instate unprecedented levels of social control. However, if those with power are not afforded an opportunity as such; in what other ways might the elite overcome various societal obstacles and change an existing system? In her essay, Places to Intervene in a System, systems analyst Donella H. Meadows defines ten “leverage points” from which one may intervene in the functioning of a system.145
Beyond introducing new
“rules” or setting different goals, Meadows holds that the most effective way to cause change in an established system is to alter the mind-set or paradigm out of which the system arises. Meadows describes a paradigm 143
Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison, (New York, 1979), p. 198. 144 Foucault, op. cit., p. 205. 145 Meadows, Donella H. "Places to Intervene in a System." The Independent Magazine for Software Development Professionals. 23 Aug. 2005. 20 Nov 2005 <http://www.devel operdotstar.com/mag/articles/places_intervene_system.html>. 146 The term system is used here to represent a “whole” consisting of entities and relationships. Systems function through interrelated components and possess existential properties independent of these components.
as, “The shared idea in the minds of society, the great unstated assumptions—unstated because unnecessary to state; everyone knows them—constitute that society's deepest set of beliefs about how the world works. There is a difference between nouns and verbs. People who are paid less are worth less.” According to Meadows, “Paradigms are the sources of systems.” She explains that a system’s goals, positive and negative feedback, stocks, and information flows all stem from its paradigm. While it is more difficult to accomplish than any of the others, those who manage to change the paradigm may totally transform a system—something the other leverage points cannot fully accomplish. Meadows continues, “But there's nothing physical or expensive or even slow about paradigm change. In a single individual it can happen in a millisecond. All it takes is a click in the mind, a new way of seeing.” Meadows references the twentieth-century American philosopher Thomas Samuel Kuhn to explain how one may instigate paradigm change:
So how do you change paradigms? Thomas Kuhn, who wrote the seminal book about the great paradigm shifts of science, has a lot to say about that. In a nutshell, you keep pointing at the anomalies and failures in the old paradigm, you come yourself, loudly, with assurance, from the new one, you insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visibility and power. You don't waste time with reactionaries; rather you work with
active change agents and with the vast middle ground of people who are open-minded.147
To the American public, the events of September 11th, 2001 pointed out the failures of our old paradigm. Hence, the birth of the war on terror—and the controversial Patriot Act. The USA PATRIOT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act of 2001 was swiftly enacted on October 26th, 2001 with the intent to “deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to
purposes.”148 A direct response to the 9/11 attacks, the Patriot Act features a number of “enhanced surveillance procedures” under Title II. Among others, Title II, Section 201 of the Patriot Act grants “authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism.” Title II, Section 202 extends this authority to include “communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses.” The Act also grants authority to “share criminal investigative information” and the “seizure of
Meadows, op. cit. United States. Cong. “Public Law 107–56—OCT. 26, 2001: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (US PATRIOT Act) Act of 2001.” Public Law. US 107th Cong., 26 Oct. 2001. The specific quote identified here is from p. 272.
voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants.” Through the Patriot Act, the federal government may also require the “disclosure of customer communications or records.” 149 Regardless of its cited well-intended purposes, the Patriot Act has become the center of an ongoing debate. While some feel that the penetrating scope of the Act’s surveillance permissions helps ensure public safety, other feel that the Act may be infringing on privacy rights. Clearly, the federal government believes that such measures are necessary. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice states, “The Act brought the law up to date with current technology, so we no longer have to fight a digital-age battle with antique weapons-legal authorities leftover from the era of rotary telephones. When investigating the murder to Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, for example, law enforcement used one of the Act’s new authorities to use high-tech means to identify and locate some of the killers.”150 Contrastingly, American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) staff attorney Jameel Jaffer described a “profound chilling effect" with regard to the type of surveillance authorized by the Patriot Act. Jaffer states, "If the
United States. Cong., op. cit. Please refer to Title II, Section 203, Section 209 and Section 212, § 2703. 150 "The USA PATRIOT Act: Preserving Life and Liberty. " Preserving LIfe & Liberty. United States Department of Justice. 20 Nov. 2005 <http://www.lifeandliberty.gov/highlig hts.htm>.
government monitors the Web sites that people visit and the books that they read, people will stop visiting disfavored Web sites and stop reading disfavored books. The FBI should not have unchecked authority to keep track of who visits [al-Jazeera's Web site] or who visits the Web site of the Federalist Society."151 With regard to Las Vegas, it appears that either side could make a strong case for or against the Patriot Act and high-tech spatial surveillance by the federal government. In December of 2003 a U.S. intelligence source triggered a national Code Orange terror alert as 13 people who were scheduled to board Air France flights 68, 69, and 71 from Paris to Los Angeles were detained and later released.152 According to the Washington Post, one informed government official stated, “The only big city near this route is Las Vegas, which they would consider a nice, attractive target.”153 Officials also recognized Los Angeles as a possible target as they stressed the improbability that al Qaeda would again try to divert a flight far from its intended path.154 As a result of such threats, the Department of Homeland 151
Gellman, Barton. "The FBI's Secret Scrutiny: In Hunt for Terrorists, Bureau Examines Records of Ordinary Americans." Washington Post. 6 November 2005: A01. 152 Locy, Toni, Kevin Johnson, Mimi Hall and John Diamond. "Source Gave U.S. Details of New Plot." 12 Jan. 2004. USA Today. 20 Nov 2005 <http://www.usatoday.com/news/ nation/2004-01-12-code-orange-cover_x.htm> 153 Mintz, John, and John Burgess. “Suspicious Passengers Questioned In France.” Washington Post. 26 Dec. 2003: A01. 154 Mintz and Burgess, op. cit.
Security promptly installed an unspecified number of outdoor air-handling sensors throughout Las Vegas.155 Most pertinent to this text, however, is the source from which federal agents obtained information regarding this possibly thwarted Christmas/New Years terrorist attack in Las Vegas. According to USA Today, “U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials are cryptic about the new source, whose identity is a closely guarded secret. They will not describe it as ‘human intel,’ and suggest that the information came from high-tech surveillance.”156 However, in November of 2003, the Patriot Act stirred up jurisdictional controversy in Las Vegas. According to local attorneys, the Patriot Act was used in public corruption probe—an unprecedented extension of its sphere of authority. According to the Las Vegas ReviewJournal, “The investigation of strip club owner Michael Galardi and numerous politicians appears to be the first time federal authorities have used the Patriot Act in a public corruption probe.”157 Las Vegas attorney Dominic Gentile stated, “My research today indicates that this is the first time the government has used Section 314 [of the Patriot Act] in a purely
Mintz and Burgess, op. cit. Locy, Toni, Kevin Johnson, Mimi Hall and John Diamond. "Source Gave U.S. Details of New Plot." 12 Jan. 2004. USA Today. 20 Nov 2005 <http://www.usatoday.com/news/ nation/2004-01-12-code-orange-cover_x.htm> 157 Kalil, J.M. and Steve Tetreault. "Patriot Act: Law's Use Causing Concerns." 5 Nov. 2003. Las Vegas Review-Journal. 1 Oct. 2005 <http://reviewjournal.printthis.clickability. com/pt/cpt?action=cpt&expire=&urlID=8164533&fb=Y&partnerID=565> 156
white-collar criminal investigation.”158 However, Special Agent Jim Stern of the FBI’s Las Vegas field office claimed, “It was used appropriately by the FBI and was clearly within the legal parameters of the statute.” Investigations such as these have prompted “coalitions of civil libertarians and conservatives concerned about a too-powerful federal government” to criticize U.S. officials, citing an unconstitutional invasion of citizenry rights of privacy.159 In fact, according to the Washington Post, “Records turned over as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit also indicate the FBI has investigated hundreds of potential violations related to its use of secret surveillance operations.” Staff writer Dan Eggen stated, “In one case, FBI agents kept an unidentified target under surveillance for at least five years – including more than 15 months without notifying Justice Department lawyers after the subject had moved form New York to Detroit.”160 Fellow Washington Post writer Barton Gellman also recently
Title III, Section 314 defines “Cooperative Efforts to Deter Money Laundering.” The section authorizes federal officials to acquire information from any financial institution based on “credible evidence” of “engaging in terrorist acts or money laundering activities.” 159 Kalil, J.M. and Steve Tetreault. "Patriot Act: Law's Use Causing Concerns." 5 Nov. 2003. Las Vegas Review-Journal. 1 Oct. 2005 <http://reviewjournal.printthis.clickability. com/pt/cpt?action=cpt&expire=&urlID=8164533&fb=Y&partnerID=565> 160 Eggen, Dan. "FBI Doing Secret Surveillance." Evansville Courier & Press. 24 Oct. 2005: A4. Mr. Eggen is a writer for the Washington Post.
reported that the FBI now issues over 30,000 national security letters every year.161 162 As a result of privacy concerns and alleged misuse of the Act, the Associated Press reported on November 17th, 2005 that “a bipartisan group of senators” will attempted to “block reauthorization of the Patriot Act to protest the elimination of Senate-pushed protections against ‘unnecessary and intrusive government surveillance’ in a House-Senate compromise.” According to the article, Congress is facing a number of deadlines—including the expiration of over a dozen provisions to the Patriot Act at the years end, barring a renewal.163 Congress did not renew the Act before its Thanksgiving break. Thus, one would expect a vote to take place after Congress reconvenes on December 12th, 2005.164
Gellman, Barton. "The FBI's Secret Scrutiny: In Hunt for Terrorists, Bureau Examines Records of Ordinary Americans." Washington Post. 6 November 2005: A01. 162 According to the article, national security letters or NSL’s were “created in the 1970s for espionage and terrorism investigators, originated as narrow exceptions in consumer privacy law, enabling the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents. The Patriot Act, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed those letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.” 163 Associated Press. "Senators Threaten to Block Patriot Act." 17 Nov. 2005. FOX News. 20 Nov 2005 <http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,175911,00.html> 164 "Planned Coverage: December 2005." FedNet! - Broadcast Coverage of the United States Congress. Federal Network, Inc. 03 Dec. 2005 <http://www.fednet.net/schedule/>.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know it part; then I shall know full, even as I am fully known.165 - Saint Peter
This text has demonstrated that Jeremy Bentham’s Inspection House is a valid model for understanding contemporary methods of acquiring social control through spatial surveillance. Characteristics of panopticism now exist and engage man at various scales. It also operates simultaneously within multiple spheres of social interaction. The study of spatial surveillance and social control is especially pertinent to Las Vegas where the dichotomy of public safety and corporate secrecy has prompted the creation of an Electronic Panopticon that permeates many traditional boundaries of form and space. It is clear that the events of September 11th, 2001 have redefined the scope of surveillance in both the privateand public-sector. Digital methods of visual control and data collection are changing the urban environment. In Surveillance as Social Sorting: Privacy,
contemporary methods of high-tech spatial surveillance and the prospect of social control as a derivative. He concludes, “…it is the computer – not 165
1 Corinthians 13.12, The Holy Bible: New International Version, (Grand Rapids, 1995).
the camera – that heralds the panopticonization of urban space.” As anonymous bodies may now be deciphered electronically as they are converted into “digital subjects,” they may also be readily “identified and linked to their digital personae residing in electronic databases.” He states, “The automated algorithmic scanning of digital images can alert the guardians to potential acts of deviance and those classified as “deviant” on the database are automatically excluded. But it is not the inclusionary project
operationalized by the spread of digitalized enforcement, but exclusion.”166 Moreover in Autonomy, Freedom and Rights: A Critique of Liberal Subjectivity, Emilio Santoro suggests that as these digital technologies become increasingly accessible to society’s non-elite, an invisible Panopticon is taking shape. Santoro contends that unlike Bentham’s Panopticon, with the invisible Panopticon visibility “is not ‘organized entirely around a dominating, overseeing gaze’, neither as the guardian living in Panopticon’s tower.” Santoro continues, “The relevant given is, however, that in social interaction the individual replaces God as the regulator of her and others’ behavior.” According to Santoro, within this pervasive, metastasizing Invisible Panopticon “every person becomes the 166
Clive Norris’ chapter, entitled From Personal to Digital: CCTV, the Panopticon, and the Technological Mediation of Suspicion and Social Control, can be found in Surveillance as Social Sorting: Privacy, Risk and Digital Discrimination, David Lyon ed. (New York, 2003). The cited information is from p. 278.
overseer of other people.â€?167 The digital age now allows every person to watch each other. The gaze has become both internalized and externalized; it is available to anybody and permeates all levels of society. It reaches to the highest levels of power, and is increasingly extending into the lives of every man, woman and child on the face the face of the planet.
Emilio Santoro, Autonomy, Freedom and Rights: A Critique of Liberal Subjectivity, (Boston, 2003), p. 165.
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2005; Full title: House Rules: An Examination of Spatial Surveillance and Social Control in Las Vegas, Nevada, During an Era of Global Terro...
Published on Dec 31, 2007
2005; Full title: House Rules: An Examination of Spatial Surveillance and Social Control in Las Vegas, Nevada, During an Era of Global Terro...