Death by Metadata: The Bioinformationalisation of Life and the Transliteration of Algorithms to Flesh



In this chapter I examine the relations of knowledge/power that undergird military technologies that transmute life into anonymous data and thereby render it killable through lethal drone targeting. I specifically focus on tracking technologies developed by the National Surveillance Agency (NSA) that have been incorporated into the United States Department of Defense’s (DoD) drone program. I examine the interlocking of the NSA’s metadata with the DoD’s algorithmic formulae used to conduct drone kills in which the identities of those killed are often not known. I situate what I term the bioinformationalisation of life in the context of Pakistan and Yemen in order to disclose the violent transliteration of abstract metadata to flesh.


Cell Phone Imminent Threat National Security Agency Killing Field Temporal Pulp 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural StudiesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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