Together with the development of the Internet, many sophisticated and powerful tools of surveillance on data (dataveillance) have emerged. Network activities can be easily traced not only by the state, its institutions but also by corporations and individuals.
Between the classical and pioneer works that deal with those issues must be named Welcome to Security Land (1995) by Julia Scher, that deals with subject of social control and questions the boundaries between the public and the private. Makrolab by Marko Peljhan (1997-2003), is a laboratory based on the model of the Russian station MIR that traverses and intercepts data-flows emitted by mass media apparatus. Makrolab designed to support collaborative works deriving from analysis of data, climate and migrations.
Maximum Security, a work by Yucef Merhi, is the product of intrusion into the email account (from 1998 to 2003) of the former presidential candidate of Venezuela and its current president :Hugo Chavez. The intercepted messages were reused in installations-murals that revealed the fragility of the electronic systems and published some surprising data related to the political scene of Venezuela.
The Carnivore project of the Radical Software Group, is one of the most important projects on the field. The project takes its name from the Carnivore/DCS1000 software developed by the FBI. The RSG, offers to artists to download the CarnivorePE application and to become its "client". Each client can collect the information from a local network where CarnivorePE is installed and create his own interface to interpret and represent the data. The projects made within this framework move from parody of the use of information, and the translation of the data-stream to the physical plane like Police State by Jonah Brucker-Cohen, to formalistic interpretation of information flow like Mark Napier's Black & White.
Insert Coin by odem.org is an intervening work that reveals the facilities by which the content of the net is manipulated, in this case the alteration of the proxy settings of the browser. The concept of freedom and authenticity of information is questioned, as well the users' awareness of genuineness of data circulating on the net and the ways of controlling sent or received information.
Also the 0100101110101101 have produced two works related. Life Sharing, inspired in file sharing practices, deals on one hand with the concept of sharing on the net and with the paradox of privacy on the technologies of information era, on the other hand. They do it through the complete release of the computer contents through the net. During three years the users could enter the 01dotorg personal computer and "walk" around it freely. Vopos focuses its attention on the amount of information that can be obtained by traversing an average cellular devices and the facility with which corporations can use it.
Between the works submitted for Netopticon is Poem for Echelon from Jaka Zeleznikar. A netart work, inspired by both - the visual poetry and the poetry of code, aiming is to wake up the "Echelon" , a multinational network of spying on emails, telephone calls, fax, sms. The work proposes to copy the poem and to send it via email causing the consequent unavailing work of the Echelon system, triggered by the keywords considered by Echelon "suspicious", of which the poem is constructed. The work calls to an act of a collective and poetic subversion, a poetic interference in the operations of "controlling eye".
Lo_y, known by his/her artistic work in different Internet spheres proposes a work of "ready made" for the Internet network, a poetic-textual reference about being Lo_y, only in the realm of the network but not in the physical plane. According to Lo_y: "there is nothing to describe, Lo_y is what Lo_y writes". This self-inquiry raises a comment about the nature of the internet search engines, emphasizing their being search-and-control instrument.
Etay by Jhave is a residence project , which investigates the use of surveillance cameras for studying the behavior of people conscious of being monitored. Around fifteen artists were invited to a two months residence. Cameras were put in different spaces of loft in attempt to document and to memorize the live experiences. Unlike cameras of monitoring, to Etay cameras no political criteria, neither racial profile, nor notion of criminality in the shooting. The collected materials were edited in real-time and displayed online.
The Mall of the Future (2001) from Andrew Venell questions the culture of the consumerism and introduces the reframe of the infinite possibilities that the network possessed before the dot.com era. The project introduces the network as shopping centre, where the user is guided and directed by corporations, and the information collected by surveillance serves a trump card.
Avi Rosen in his work Big Optics_2 investigates use of video fragments filmed with monitoring cameras, presenting an interactive matrix of control, a parabola to the Big eye, and a metaphor of the great matrixes of video formed by multiple police monitors. Here the monitored subject and the monitoring object become the one. The shooting concentrates on the artist body, specially on his face and on the personal use of a control system. "I see everything" is heard as an incidentally song at the sound track.