Emergency Calls with a Photo Attached: the Effects of Urging Citizens to Use Their Smartphones for Surveillance

Bruce Clayton Newell, Tjerk Timan and Bert-Jaap Koops (eds), Surveillance, Privacy, and Public Space (Abingdon: Routledge)

University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 30/2018

21 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2018 Last revised: 19 Jun 2019

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

Various kinds of media and metadata, such as pictures, videos, and geo-location, can be attached to emergency reports to the police using dedicated platforms, social networking sites, or general communication apps such as WhatsApp. Although potentially a very useful source of information for law enforcement agencies, this also raises considerable concerns regarding surveillance and privacy in public spaces: It exhorts citizens to establish a supervisory gaze over anyone, at any time, and anywhere.

This chapter analyses these concerns using theories from surveillance studies. It considers the (surprisingly high) applicability of panoptical theories by Foucault and others to the effects of increased visibility of citizens in public spaces. This analysis importantly reveals how discriminatory tendencies might be introduced and exacerbated. Attention is then paid to Deleuze’s ‘societies of control’ and related notions such as database surveillance, surveillance assemblages, and predictive policing. This analysis shows that the enrichment of emergency reports with media and metadata from smartphones can pressurize people into conformity, erode the presumption of innocence, and diminish societal trust. Furthermore, this process will disproportionality affect already disadvantaged groups and individuals. Policy makers are advised to implement enriched emergency reports carefully.

Keywords: apps, crowdsourcing, GDPR, privacy, public space, surveillance

Suggested Citation

Ritsema van Eck, Gerard Jan, Emergency Calls with a Photo Attached: the Effects of Urging Citizens to Use Their Smartphones for Surveillance (2018). Bruce Clayton Newell, Tjerk Timan and Bert-Jaap Koops (eds), Surveillance, Privacy, and Public Space (Abingdon: Routledge), University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 30/2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3271578

Gerard Jan Ritsema van Eck (Contact Author)

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law ( email )

Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26
Groningen, 9712 EK
Netherlands
+3150 363 2593 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rug.nl/staff/g.j.ritsema.van.eck/

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
25
Abstract Views
265
PlumX Metrics