Video surveillance, public records, fingerprints, hidden microphones, RFID chips: in contemporary societies the intrusive techniques of surveillance used in daily life have increased dramatically. The war against terror has only exacerbated this trend, creating a world that is closer than one might have imagined to that envisaged by George Orwell in 1984. How have we reached this situation? Why have democratic societies accepted that their rights and freedoms should be taken away, a little at a time, by increasingly sophisticated mechanisms of surveillance? From the anthropometry of the 19th Century to the Patriot Act, through an analysis of military theory and the Echelon Project, Armand Mattelart constructs a genealogy of this new power of control and examines its globalising dynamic. This book provides an essential wake-up call at a time when democratic societies are becoming less and less vigilant against the dangers of proliferating systems of surveillance.