Secrets are the opposite of information. There are secrets that are kept from the public and then there are “public secrets”—secrets that the public chooses to keep safe from itself—like, “don’t ask, don’t tell” Such shared secrets sustain social and political institutions. The injustices of the war on drugs, the criminal justice system, and the Prison Industrial Complex are “public secrets” This paper will discuss the phenomenon of the “public secret” in the context information culture and present strategies for using information technologies to unmask such secrets. The presentation will reference an online audio database of statements by incarcerated women and injection drug users, which reveal the secret injustices of the war on drugs, the Criminal Justice System and the Prison Industrial Complex.
- Sharon Daniel, Berkeley, California, USA. Author, presenter and Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.