NeoConOpticon: The EU Security Industrial Complex” is an 80 page report published by the Transnational Institute and Statewatch in September 2009. More than 200,000 copies of the report have now been downloaded from the Statewatch website.

This blog is a follow-up to that report, maintained by its author, Ben Hayes. Frank Slijper of Campagne tegen Wapenhandel & TNI also provides a lot of the information posted on this site.

The NeoConOpticon report examines the development and implementation of the European Security Research Programme, a seven year, €1.4 billion ”research” initiative of the European Union. The report reveals the extent to which the design of the programme has been outsourced to some of the corporations that have most to gain from its implementation. This is what Google says about the report.

The research examined all 85 of the projects funded under the EU security research programme to the end of 2008, together with several thousand related EU-funded R&D projects from other thematic programmes. It reveals the extent to which the design of the programme has been outsourced to some of the corporations that have most to gain from its implementation. Some of Europe’s largest arms companies are among those cashing-in on the EU’s desire to increase the global competitiveness of Europe’s emerging Homeland Security industry – see Guardian article.

The report also raises serious concerns about democratic control of the programme (see EUobserver article) and the impact of the kind of technologies that are being funded on civil liberties (see Brussels Journalists’ comments and New Scientist article).

New information about the EU security research programme and the companies and technologies involved will be posted on this blog for as long as Ben can maintain the enthusiasm. Hopefully it encourages others to do something… Please send any information that you think should be posted on this site to ben [at] statewatch [dot] org.


The NeoConOpticon is a play on the “Panopticon” – Bentham and Foucualt’s enduring ideas about surveillance and control – and a crude attempt to highlight the influence of industrialists and ideology in the development of the “surveillance society”.

It was inspired by research into the emerging European Homeland Security industry (security is the new defence) and its relationship with the EU that suggested a marriage of “unchecked police powers and unbridled capitalism”.

The links between the “neo-con” Bush administration and the massive government investment in Homeland Security are well documented (see in particular Chapter 15 of Naomi Klein’s book: The Shock Doctrine). And while they may be out of office, the talents of the first two Secretaries of State for Homeland Security are not being wasted (see Ridge AssociatesChertoff Group).

Few people would recognise the EU as ‘neo-con’.  The three things that convinced us to use the title were:

1) the extent to which the EU and the security industry are both promoting  surveillance-based security policies and the convergence of the corporate and EU policy agendas

2) the money involved, following the money

3) the inherently neo-con  philosophy behind the idea of defending ‘the homeland’ against threats to our ‘way of life’ that we kept seeing in policy documents of the EU and other powerful actors

There’s more thoughts along these lines in the report.