A Gig Surveillance Economy

16 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2021 Last revised: 3 Feb 2022

See all articles by Elizabeth E. Joh

Elizabeth E. Joh

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: July 19, 2021


Eighteen years ago, the New York Times Magazine reported on a proposed online project aimed at protecting the country’s 47,000 strategic facilities, including oil pipelines, power stations, and dams. How do you protect such a vast network of sites vulnerable to sabotage, with limited government resources and personnel? The answer: pay freelance “spotters” eight to ten dollars an hour to check pictures sent to their home computers in order to answer the question: “do you see a person or vehicle in this image?” A confirmed positive sighting would prompt a law enforcement response, “in less than 30 seconds.” This is an early version of a phenomenon identified and discussed in this essay: a gig surveillance economy.

Keywords: policing, surveillance, automation, artificial intelligence, gig economy, fourth amendment, criminal justice, algorithm

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Joh, Elizabeth E., A Gig Surveillance Economy (July 19, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3889795 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3889795

Elizabeth E. Joh (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

400 Mrak Hall Drive
Davis, CA 95616-5201
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics