More than a number: The telephone and the history of digital identification

Article by Jennifer Holt and Michael Palm: “This article examines the telephone’s entangled history within contemporary infrastructural systems of ‘big data’, identity and, ultimately, surveillance. It explores the use of telephone numbers, keypads and wires to offer new perspective on the imbrication of telephonic information, interface and infrastructure within contemporary surveillance regimes. The article explores telephone exchanges as arbiters of cultural identities, keypads as the foundation of digital transactions and wireline networks as enacting the transformation of citizens and consumers into digital subjects ripe for commodification and surveillance. Ultimately, this article argues that telephone history – specifically the histories of telephone numbers and keypads as well as infrastructure and policy in the United States – continues to inform contemporary practices of social and economic exchange as they relate to consumer identity, as well as to current discourses about surveillance and privacy in a digital age…(More)”.