Surveillance, Self and Smartphones: Tracking Practices in the Nightlife

Science and Engineering Ethics 24 (3):853-870 (2018)
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Abstract

This paper is the result of the EMERGING ICT FOR CITIZEN VEILLANCE-workshop organized by the JRC, Ispra, Italy, March 2014. The aim of this paper is to explore how the subject participates in surveillance situations with a particular focus on how users experience everyday tracking technologies and practices. Its theoretical points of departure stem from Surveillance Studies in general and notions of participatory surveillance and empowering exhibitionism :199–215, 2004) in particular. We apply these theoretical notions on smartphones and its users to investigate the combination of participation and surveillance. Empirically, the paper uses interviews held with urban nightlife visitors to uncover practices of smartphone use. This qualitative and explorative study contributes to the concept of participatory surveillance by discussing to what extent smartphone-users’ actions and motivations can be seen as forms of surveillance and how that influences these actors in a public space. We finish by setting out directions for studying mobile technologies of the self.

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