Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

Federal Judges in San Francisco Resist Attempts to Surveil Them and Their Co-Workers; Bigbrother's Corporate Cousin: Christian Parenti On the Politics and History of Everyday Surveillance

August 09, 2001

It’s not just union activists and political dissidents who are upset at the proliferation of surveillance in theworkplace. Now a group of judges with the Ninth District Court of Appeals in San Francisco are waging a campaign ofresistance against government attempts to monitor them and their colleagues at work.

The judges say that the government’s use of monitoring software to watch their office computers is a violation oftheir right to privacy. They recently began dismantling the monitoring software in protest of the practice. Thejudges’ protests have forced the government to negotiate and given new meaning to the phrase "Judicial Activism."The Judicial Conference of the U.S., the ultimate governing body of the courts, will meet to resolve the matter earlynext month.

The Federal Judges in San Francisco who are resisting attempts to monitor their computers at work are a publicexample of a widespread phenomenon. The American Management Association estimates that 80% of employers monitor theirworkers. Many corporations say that surveillance and monitoring technology save money and time and are necessary toprevent workers from loafing off on the job.

Civil Liberties advocates tend focus on the threats to privacy posed by such technology.

But others say the new technology of surveillance is more than just a threat to privacy. It’s also a political toolfor, as one critic puts it, "pushing social relations on the job toward a new digital Taylorism, where every motionis watched, studies and controlled by and for the boss." And it’s a tool with a long history.


  • Alex Kazinski, Judge with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals who wrote an 18 page legal brief against theuse of the monitoring software.
  • Christian Parenti, activist and author of ??Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in an Age of Crisis.He is writing a new book on the politics and history of everyday surveillance and published an article in this week’s_Nation_ magazine entitled "Big Brother’s Corporate Cousin."



The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.