When it collapsed some 30 years ago, the GDR (East Germany) was the most invasive surveillance state ever attempted, employing one out of every 60 people in the country to snitch on the rest, running dirty tricks campaigns against anyone deemed "subversive."
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In 1984, the Stasi -- East Germany's notorious secret police -- searched the flat of an auditor to determine if he'd leaked files that put the country in a bad light to Stern, a West German magazine, published in Hamburg. They recorded the clandestine search for posterity, and used it as the basis for a training video explaining to other secret police operatives how to search a dissident's home without alerting them that they were under suspicion. (via Grugq) Read the rest
Canadian Adrian Fish is one of the few photographers who've been permitted to take and publish photos from the archives of the Stasi, the legendarily invasive secret police of the former East Germany, who employed one snitch for every 60 people at their peak. Read the rest
East Germany's secret police, the Stasi, were the most aggressive surveillance force of their day -- at the Stasi's peak, one in 60 East Germans was snitching for the agency. Read the rest
Here's a small gallery of the East German secret police's 26th Division, hard at work during the 1980s. Read the rest
My latest Guardian column examines the relationship between technology, surveillance and wealth disparity -- specifically the way that cheap mass surveillance makes it possible to sustain more unequal societies because it makes it cheaper to find and catch the dissidents who foment rebellion over the creation of hereditary elites. Read the rest
From Laura Poitras to Jacob Appelbaum to Sarah Harrison, Berlin has become a haven for American journalists, activists and whistleblowers who fear America's unlimited appetite for surveillance and put their trust in Germany's memory of the terror of the Stasi. Read the rest
A trove of photos from an East German secret police guide to disguise reveal an ineptitude that borders on the comical. No wonder these guys managed to miss the fact that the wall was about to come down, despite having dossiers on practically everyone on the country:
At first glance the photos look staged. They show stocky men stiffly clad in various outfits that include fur hats and thick coats with upturned collars -- and, most importantly, sunglasses. But these photos aren't stage props from a silly low-budget spy film, they are images snapped by members of the feared East German secret state police, or Stasi, for an internal course called the "art of disguising."
Berlin-based artist Simon Menner unearthed the images while sifting through the Stasi archives, which were opened to the public after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was allowed to reproduce the photos and they are now on display in an exhibition entitled: "Pictures from the Secret Stasi Archives."
(via Making Light) Read the rest