Automating surveillance

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This article considers the changing logics of surveillance in the era of automated data collection and processing. It argues that automation results in the emergence of post-disciplinary forms of monitoring that no longer rely on the subject’s internalization of the monitoring gaze. Such forms of monitoring do not displace other forms of surveillance but represent a new development made possible by the promise that comprehensive data collection will allow prediction and pre-emption to replace deterrence. In the context of predictive analytics, simulated futures serve as the basis for ongoing processes of intervention that take place in the present. The parsimony of the panopticon, which traded on the uncertainty provided by its partial gaze, is replaced by the tendency toward comprehensive monitoring associated with the proliferation of distributed, embedded, always-on sensing networks. The resulting forms of automated surveillance are characterized by post-representational logics that I describe in terms of operationalism, environmentality, and framelessness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalSurveillance & Society
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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