Another privacy & surveillance playlist


A collection of songs about surveillance and privacy put together in preparation for DJ Soeur Veillance‘s set at VUB’s Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) Research Group 15th Anniversary Party (and occasionally updated since). Please note this list does not pretend to be comprehensive.

  1. Ethel Merman ‘Why do they call a private a private?‘ (12″, V Disc, 1945) [HistoryOnTheNet]
  2. Hank Williams ‘Mind your own business’ (7″, MGM Records, 1949)
  3. Little Richard ‎’Slippin’ and Slidin‘(Here’s Little Richard, Speciality, 1957)
  4. Bobby Vee ‎’The night has a thousand eyes’ (7″, Liberty, 1963)
  5. The Kinks ‎’Party Line’ (Face to Face, Rye Records, 1966)
  6. Johnny Rivers ‎’Secret agent man’ (7″, Imperial, 1966)
  7. Jamo Thomas & His Party Brothers Orchestra‘I Spy (For the FBI)‘ (7″, Thomas Records, 1966)
  8. The Shoes ‘Peace and Privacy‘ (Polydor, 1967)
  9. Simon & Garfunkel ‘Mrs. Robinson‘ (CBS, 1968)
  10. George Williams No business of yours‘ (7″, Bullet, 1969)
  11. The Doors ‘The spy’ (Morrison Hotel,  Elektra, 1970)
  12. Jacques Dutronc ‘Vie privée, domaine public’ (1972, Disques Vogue, 1972)
  13. Stevie Wonder ‎’Big Brother’ (Talking Book, Tamla, 1972)
  14. Howlin’ Wolf ‎’Watergate blues’ (The Back Door Wolf, Chess, 1973)
  15. New York Dolls ‎’Private world’ (New York Dolls, Mercury, 1973)
  16. David Bowie ‘1984′ (Diamond Dogs, RCA Victor, 1974)
  17. David Bowie ‘Big Brother(Diamond Dogs, RCA Victor, 1974)
  18. Elvis Costello ‘Watching the detectives’ (1977) (7″, Stiff Records, 1977) [YouTube]
  19. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers ‎’Angels watching over me (Rock ‘N’ Roll With The Modern Lovers, Beserkley, 1977)
  20. Television ‎’Prove it’ (Marquee Moon, Elektra, 1977)
  21. Delta 5 ‎’Mind your own Business’ (7″, 1979)
  22. Devo ‎’Secret agent man’ (Duty Now For The Future,  Virgin, 1979)
  23. Cheap Trick ‎’Dream police’ (Dream Police, Epic, 1979) [YouTube]
  24. Talking Heads ‎’Life during war’ (Fear Of Music, Sire, 1979)
  25. The Roches ‎’We’ (The Roches, Warner Bros., 1979)
  26. Dead Kennedys ‘California über Alles’ (Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables,
    Cherry Red, 1980)
  27. The Fall ‘Prole art threat’ (The Slates, Rough Trade, 1981)
  28. Daryl Hall and John Oates ‘Private eyes’ (Private Eyes, RCA, 1981) [YouTube]
  29. Go-Go’s ‘Out lips are sealed’ ‎(Beauty and the Beat, IRS Records, 1981) [YouTube]
  30. Kraftwerk ‎’Computerwelt’ (Computerwelt, Mute, 1981)
  31. Siouxsie and The Banshees ‘Monitor’‎ (Juju, Polydor, 1981)
  32. The Alan Parsons Project‘Eye in the sky’ (Eye in the sky, Arista, 1982) [YouTube]
  33. The Ex ‘Watch-dogs’ (History is what’s happening, More Dirt Per Minute, 1982)
  34. Horace Andy ‘Spying glass’ (Dance Hall Style, Wackie’s, 1982)
  35. Hüsker Dü ‘Data control’ (Land Speed Record, SST Records, 1982)
  36. Judas Priest ‘Electric eye’ ‎(Screaming for Vengeance, CBS, 1982)
  37. Laura Branigan ‘Gloria‘ (Atlantic, 1982) [YouTube]
  38. Oingo Boingo ‎’Private life’ (Nothing To Fear, A&M Records, 1982) [YouTube]
  39. Originalton ‘Datenschutz’ (Mein Leben ist ein Werbespot, Neue Welt Schallplatten, 1982)
  40. Thomson Twins ‘We are detective’ (Quick Step & Side Kick, Arista, 1982) [YouTube]
  41. Anti Social Workers and The Mad Professor ‘Who’s watching you?’ (Punky Reggae Party, Ariwa, 1983)
  42. The PoliceEvery breath you take‘ (Synchronicity, A&M Records, 1983) [YouTube]
  43. Rockwell ‎’Somebody’s Watching Me’ (Somebody’s Watching Me, Motown, 1983) [YouTube]
  44. Cabaret Voltaire ‘Spies in the wires’ ‎(Micro-Phonies, Virgin, 1984)
  45. Eurythmics ‎’Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)‘ (1984 (For the Love of Big Brother), Virgin, 1984)
  46. Bibi Flash ‘Vie privée’ (7″, RCA, 1984)
  47. Tina Turner ‘1984′ (cover of David Bowie) (Private Dancer, Capitol, 1984)
  48. Beat Happening ‎’I spy’ (Beat Happening,  K Records, 1985)
  49. Paul McCartney ‎’Spies like us‘ (7″, Parlophone, 1985)
  50. Mad Professor ‎’Under surveillance’ (Dub Me Crazy Part Five: Who Knows the Secret of the Master Tape?, Ariwa, 1985)
  51. They Might Be Giants (She was a) Hotel detective(They Might Be Giants, Bar/None Records, 1986)
  52. Mercedes Herman ‎’Une vie privée publique‘ (12″, CPA Disques, 1987)
  53. Ambitious Lovers ‎‘Privacy’ (Greed, Virgin, 1988)
  54. Depeche Mode ‘Policy of truth’ (Violator, Mute, 1990) [YouTube]
  55. Bügsküll‘Eavesdropping’ (Gargamelodies, Eldest Son Records, 1992)
  56. Leonard Cohen ‎’The Future’ (The Future,  Columbia, 1992)
  57. The Magnetic Fields ‘Technical (you’re so)’ ‎(The House of Tomorrow EP, Feel Good All Over, 1992)
  58. Snow ‘Informer’ (12″, EastWest Records America, 1992)
  59. Sonic Youth ‘Stalker’ (Dirty, Geffen, 1992)
  60. Suzanne Vega ‘Private goes public’ (99.9 F°, A&M, 1992)
  61. Fugazi ‘Public Witness Program‘ (In On The Kill Taker, Dischord, 1993)
  62. Salt ‘N’ Pepa ‘None of your business’ ‎(Very Necessary, FFRR, 1993) [YouTube]
  63. Guided By Voices ‎’Peep-hole’ (Bee Thousand, Scat Records, 1994)
  64. Juggling Jugulars ‎’Selling privacy’ (…For Humanity – Early 90’s, Genet Records, 1994) [Bandcamp]
  65. Pearl Jam ‘Pry, to’ (Vitalogy, EPIC, 1994)
  66. R.E.M. ‘Star 69(Monster, Warner Bros., 1994) [YouTube]
  67. Rollins Band ‘Disconnect’ ‎(Weight, Imago, 1994) [YouTube]
  68. Against All Authority ‎’Another fuck you song’ (Destroy what destroys you, Far Out Records, 1995)
  69. Blur ‘The Universal’ (The Great Escape, Parlophone, 1995) [YouTube]
  70. Mobb Deep ‘Temperature’s rising ‎(The Infamous, Loud Records, 1995)
  71. No DoubtSpiderwebs’ ‎(Tragic Kingdom, Interscope Records, 1995) [YouTube]
  72. Pulp ‘I spy’ (Different class, Island Records, 1995)
  73. Anti-Flag ‘I’m being watched by the CIA(Die For The Government, New Red Archives, 1996)
  74. Do or Die ‘Search warrant‘ (Picture This, Rap-A-Lot Records, 1996) [YouTube]
  75. Smog ‘You moved in’ (The doctor came at dawn, Domino, 1996)
  76. Portastatic ‘Spying on the spys’ (The Nature of Sap, Merge, 1997)
  77. Killa Priest ‘Information’ (Heavy Mental, Geffen, 1998) [YouTube]
  78. Quasi ‘Our happiness is guaranteed‘ (Featuring “Birds“, Domino, 1998)
  79. Trans AM ‘Access control’ (The Surveillance, City Slang, 1998)
  80. Barcelona ‎’I have the password to your shell account‘ (ZeRo-oNe-INFINITY, 1999)
  81. Dead Prez, ‘Police state’ (Lets Get Free, Loud Records, 1999)
  82. Kings of Convenience ‘Brave New World’ (7″, Éllet Records, 1999)
  83. The Grouch ‎’Stop Spying‘ (Making Perfect Sense, G&E Music, 1999)
  84. Badly Drawn BoyEverybody’s stalking ‎(The hour of bewilderbeast, Twisted Nerve, 2000)
  85. Chicks On SpeedMind Your Own Business‘‎ (cover of Delta 5) (Chicks On Speed Will Save Us All!, Chicks On Speed Records, 2000) [Soundcloud]
  86. Coldplay ‘Spies’ (Parachutes, Parlophone, 2000) [YouTube]
  87. Deltron 3030 ‎’Virus’ (Deltron 3030, 75 Ark, 2000)
  88. Jill Scott ‘Watching me’ (Who is Jill Scott? – Words and Sounds Vol. 1, Hidden Beach Recordings, 2000)
  89. RadioheadHow to disappear completely‘ (Kid A, Parlophone, 2000)
  90. Stereolab ‘Retrograde mirror form’ ‎(The First of the Microbe Hunters, Duophonic Ultra High Frequency Disks, 2000)
  91. John Vanderslice ‎’Bill Gates must die’ (Mass Suicide Occult Figurines, Barsuk, 2000) [YouTube]
  92. Arab Strap ‘Love detective’ (The Red Thread, Chemikal Underground, 2001) [YouTube]
  93. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti ‎’Privacy(– Scared Famous/FF>>, Demonstration Bootleg, 2001)
  94. Björk ‘Hidden place’ (Vespertine, Polydor, 2001) [YouTube]
  95. Michael Jackson ‎’Privacy’ (Invincible, Epic, 2001)
  96. A Trillion Barnacle Lapse ‎’Privacy had a bad ticker (The Elemental Gearbot, Nova Recordings, 2002)
  97. Piebald ‎’The stalker’ (We are the only friends we have, Big Wheel Recreation, 2002)
  98. Snapcase ‎’Ten AM’ (End Transmission, Victory Records, 2002)
  99. Grizzly Bear ‎’Eavesdropping’ (Horn of Plenty, Kanine Records, 2003)
  100. Radiohead ‎’2 + 2 = 5′ (Hail To The Thief, Parlophone, 2003)
  101. Hard-Fi ‎’Stars of CCTV’ (Stars of CCTV,  Necessary Records, 2004) 
  102. Interpol ‘Narc’ (Antics, Matador, 2004)
  103. U2 ‘Fast cars’ (How to dismantle an atomic bomb, Island Records, 2004)
  104. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone ‘A normal suburban lifestyle is a near impossibility once you’ve fallen in love with an international spy’ (The First Two Albums, Tomlab, 2005) [Bandcamp]
  105. Ladytron ‎’Nothing to hide’ (Destroy Everything You Touch single, Island Records, 2005)
  106. David Bazan ‎’Selling advertising‘ (Fewer Moving Parts EP, self-released, 2006) [Bandcamp]
  107. Buzzcocks ‘Big Brother wheels’ (Flat-Pack Philosophy, Cooking Vinyl, 2006)
  108. The Black Heart Procession ‘GPS’‎ (The Spell, Touch and Go, 2006)
  109. Franz Ferdinand ‘Your diary’ (You could have it so much better, Sony, 2006)
  110. John B ‎’I’ve been stalking you on Myspace’(7″, Beta Recordings, 2006) [YouTube]
  111. They Might Be Giants ‘Call connected thru the NSA’ (They Might Be Ringtones, self-released, 2006)
  112. Arcade Fire ‎’Black mirror’ (Neon Bible, Merge, 2007) [YouTube]
  113. Passenger ‘Night vision binoculars‘ (Wicked Man’s Rest, Chalk Mark, 2007)
  114. Private Lives Private Life‘ (12″, Soul Jazz Records, 2007)
  115. Roboton ‘The new scare’ (Self-released, 2007) [Bandcamp]
  116. They Might Be Giants (She was a) Hotel detective in the future(The Else, Idlewild Recordings, 2007)
  117. Keny Arkana ‘Ordre mondial’ ‎(Désobéissance, Because Music, 2008) [YouTube]
  118. Lyrics Born ‘Homeland Security (skit)’ ‎(Everywhere at Once, Anti-, 2008)
  119. Cold War Kids ‎’Against privacy’ (Loyalty to Loyalty, Downtown Music, 2008)
  120. Controlled Storms ‘Surveillance’ (Abandoned Amusement Parks, Self-released, 2008)
  121. Delaney Davidson ‘Stalker’ (Ghost songs, Self-released, 2008) [Bandcamp]
  122. James Ferraro ‘Surveillance’ (Postremo Mundus Techno-Symposium, New Age Tapes, 2008)
  123. Archive‘Controlling Crowds’ (Controlling Crowds, Warner Music, 2009)
  124. Wynter Gordon ‘Surveillance’ (Self-released, 2009) [Bandcamp]
  125. Lisa Lois ‘Watching you’ (Smoke, Sony Music, 2009) [YouTube]
  126. Pet Shop Boys ‎’Building a wall’ (Yes, Parlophone, 2009)
  127. Yo La Tengo ‘Nothing to hide’ (Popular Songs, Matador, 2009) [YouTube]
  128. Cave In ‘Droned’ (Anomalies Vol. 2, Hydra Head Records, 2010)
  129. Duran Duran ‘Being followed’ (All You Need Is Now, Skin Divers, 2010)
  130. KaterineTé-lé-phone‘ (Philippe Katerine, Barclay, 2010) [YouTube]
  131. MIA ‘The message’ (– /\/\ /\ Y /\, XL Recordings, 2010) [YouTube]
  132. THOU ‘The eyes of the world are upon you’ (Dwell in the darkness of thought and drink the poison of life, split with The City is the Tower, Hyperrealist, 2010) [Bandcamp]
  133. Paul WellerWake up the nation’  (Wake up the nation, Island Records, 2010) [YouTube]
  134. Women [Philadelphia] ‘KGB’ (No reasons, 2010) [Bandcamp]
  135. Your Inner Burden ‘My Privacy 2.0′ (Every Day is a Holiday, 2010) [Bandcamp]
  136. The Middle Ones ‘High school stalker‘ (Hello Saferide cover, album unknown, year unknown)
  137. Channel In Channel OutCalculate the surveillance’ (The author and the narrator, Karaoke Kalk, 2011) [Soundcloud]
  138. Stingray313* ‎’Who’s watching the watchers (Misinformation Campaign, Trust, 2011)
  139. The Beach Boys ‎’The private life of Bill and Sue‘ (That’s Why God Made the Radio, Capitol Records, 2012)
  140. Belgrado ‘Panopticon’ (7”, La vida es un mus, 2012) [Bandcamp]
  141. dEUS ‎’Fire up the Google beast algorithm‘ (Following Sea, Play It Again Sam, 2012)
  142. Heems ‘Computers’ (Nehru Jackets, self-released, 2012) [Bandcamp]
  143. Hidrogenesse ‘Historia del mundo contada por las computadoras‘ (Un dígito binario dudoso: Recital para Alan Turing, Austrohúngaro, 2012) [YouTube]
  144. The Offspring ‘The future is now(Days Go By, Columbia, 2012)
  145. Scanner ‘Anytime (Headz)’ (Colofon & Compendium 1991-1994, Sub Rosa, 2012)
  146. The Smashing Pumpkins ‘Panopticon’‎ (Oceania, Martha’s Music, 2012) [YouTube]
  147. Bart&Baker ‘Stop Googling me!‘ (feat. Marcella Puppini) (Entouka Productions, 2013) [YouTube]
  148. Belle and Sebastian ‘Your cover’s blown‘ (Rough Trade, 2013) [YouTube]
  149. Cage ‘Watch me’ (Kill the Architect, Eastern Conference, 2013) [Soundcloud]
  150. Desaparecidos ‎’Anonymous‘ (7″, self-released, 2013) [Bandcamp]
  151. JPatterson Turn off your smartphone’ (Self-released, 2013) [YouTube]
  152. Melloquence ‘No privacy’ (Konsequence Muziq, 2013) [YouTube]
  153. Painted Caves ‘Flesh on tape’ (Surveillance, Shelter Press, 2013) [Soundcloud]
  154. Priests ‘Watch you’ (Tape Two, Sisterpolygon Records, 2013)
  155. Skull:Axis ‘Data Retention Directive’ (The Transparent Society, Peripheral Records, 2013) [Soundcloud]
  156. Stromae ‘Carmen’ (Racine Carrée, Mercury, 2013) [YouTube]
  157. Yacht ‘Party at the NSA’ (Self-released, 2013) [PartyAtTheNSA]
  158. Anti-Flag ‎’1984′ (Archives Vol. 3: The B-Sides,  A-F Records, 2014)
  159. Bone Tee & The Slughunters ‘Don’t go Googling me‘ (One Foot in the Roots, self-released, 2014) [Soundcloud]
  160. CrayOn ‘Mais qui surveille les gardiens ?’ (Sans Filet, Yes Music, 2014) [DailyMotion]
  161. DVChamBerlin ‘Privacy’ (Self-released, 2014) [Bandcamp]
  162. Identity Theft ‘Sleep’ (The Future Hates the Past, Katabatik, 2014) [Bandcamp]
  163. Identity Theft ‘Targeted individuals(The Future Hates the Past, Katabatik, 2014) [Bandcamp] [Bandcamp]
  164. Rock, Paper, Cynic ‘Hello NSA (A Love Song of Mass Surveillance)‘ (2014) [YouTube]
  165. Shellac ‎’All the surveyors’ (Dude Incredible, Touch and Go, 2014)
  166. St. Vincent ‘Digital Witness’ (St. Vincent, Republic Records, 2014) [YouTube]
  167. Teknique ‘Facebook FBI’ (Self-released, 2014) [SoundHound]
  168. Thievery Corporation ‘The Heart’s a Lonely Hunter‘ (The Cosmic Game, Eighteenth Street Lounge Music, 2014)
  169. Heems ‘Patriot Act’ (Eat Pray Thug, Megaforce Records, 2015)
  170. High Cameras ‘Daddy needs privacy’ (Self-released, 2015) [Bandcamp]
  171. Holly Herndon ‎’Home (Platform, 4AD, 2015) [YouTube]
  172. Holly Herndon ‎’Interference’ (Platform, 4AD, 2015) [YouTube]
  173. Vision Fortune ‘Stalker’ ‎(Country Music, ATP Recordings, 2015) [Beatport]
  174. AGF ‘Snowden’ (Kon​:​3p>UTION to: e​[​VOL​]​ution, AGF Producktion, 2016) [Bandcamp]
  175. Anohni ‎’Watch me’ (Hopelessness, Secretly Canadian, 2016)
  176. Beginner ‘Ahna’ (Advanced Chemistry, Vertigo Berlin, 2016) [YouTube]
  177. Peter Gabriel ‘The veil’ (Real World Records, 2016) [YouTube]
  178. Jesus on the Moon ‘Panoptic’ (Echolalia, self-released, 2016) [Bandcamp]
  179. JPEGMAFIA & Freaky ‘Big Data / The Internet ain’t safe‘ (The 2nd Amendment, self-released, 2016) [Soundcloud]
  180. MsGNU ‘Terms and conditions’ (Stuck in Cyberspace, self-released, 2016) [YouTube]
  181. Ohmyboy & Wöllstein ‎’Fuck privacy’ (Burlesque Musique, 2016) [Beatport]
  182. Wilco ‎’Locator’ (Schmilco, dPpm Records, 2016) [YouTube]
  183. Dadju ‘Bob Marley’ (Gentleman 2.0, 2017) [YouTube]
  184. Federico Sirianni ‘Mia madre sta su Facebook‘  (feat. Arturo Brachetti) (Il santo, 2017) [YouTube]
  185. Incubus Love in a time of surveillance(8, Island Records, 2017) [YouTube]
  186. Nu-Mecca ‘Watching’ (So high, 2017) [Bandcamp]
  187. Stephen James Hewitt ‘My right to be forgotten‘ (Self-released, 2017) [Bandcamp]
  188. Killa DBA ‘Data protection’ (Putting your bits where your bytes should be, Self-released, 2017) [Bandcamp]
  189. Sondre Lerche ‎’I’m always watching you’ (Pleasure, House of Hassle, 2017) [YouTube]
  190. The Magnetic Fields ‘’86 How I failed ethics’ (50 Song Memoir, Nonesuch, 2017) [YouTube]
  191. The Members ‘Smartphone junkie‘ (Smartphone, 2017) [YouTube]
  192. Prophets of Rage ‘Radical eyes (Prophets of Rage, Fantasy, 2017)
  193. Prophets of Rage ‘Take me higher’ (Prophets of Rage, Fantasy, 2017)
  194. Protect and Survive ‘Switch off your smartphone this Christmas’ (A Very Cherry Christmas – Vol. 12, Cherryade Records, 2017) [AmazingTunes]
  195. Tilsonic and <radioaddict> ‘Snowden’ (Power Mad, self-released, 2017) [Bandcamp]
  196. Yeule ‎’Death of an AI’ (Coma, Zoom Lens, 2017) [YouTube]
  197. Roger Floyd ‘The Ballad of Mark Zuckerberg Parts 1 & 2 (Another post on the wall)’ (No Service, self-released, 2018) [Bandcamp]

[For more 2018 songs: check the Best privacy songs of 2018]

Compiled by Gloria González Fuster.

A number of privacy and data protection experts who might wish to remain anonymous contributed to this list with their kind suggestions. I am extremely grateful to all of them, and also to Gary T. Marx, David Barnard-Wills, Jolien Ghyselinck, Brendan Van Alsenoy, Sebastian Golla, Loer Franck, Sarah Eskens, Niels van Dijk, Mathias Vermeulen, Jörn Reinhardt, Josep Martín, Isabel Díaz, Cristina Gallego, Justin Currie, Yolanda Gallego, Laura García, Óscar Hidalgo, Judith, and Fátima.