As co-chair of the 2017 PLSC-Europe conference, which is taking place as part of the TILTing Perspectives 2017 conference at Tilburg University, I am very happy to announce the final workshop agenda (click here for a PDF: PLSC-Europe 2017 Agenda). We have 12 great papers to workshop this year, and more than 80 participants. For more about the TILTing Perspectives conference, click here.
I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be joining the University of Kentucky’s School of Information Science (part of the College of Communication and Information – the UK iSchool) as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2017. I’ll be part of the School’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) program (offering BS/BA and MS degrees). The iSchool also houses a college-wide PhD program in Communication (with an emphasis in Information Studies).
For the (open access) version of record, go to http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1938&context=jil
Citation: Bert-Jaap Koops, Bryce Clayton Newell, Tjerk Timan, Ivan Škorvánek, Tomislav Chokrevski, and Maša Galič, “A Typology of Privacy.” University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 38(2): 483-575.
My paper, “Sensors, Cameras, and the New ‘Normal’ in Clandestine Migration: How Undocumented Migrants Experience Surveillance at the U.S.-Mexico Border” (co-authored with Ricardo Gomez and Verónica Guajardo) has now been published in the journal Surveillance & Society (open access). The article is available online, and is part of a special issue on “Race, Communities and Informers.”
In her opening editorial, Simone Browne summarizes our paper as follows:
In their article, “Sensors, Cameras, and the New ‘Normal’ in Clandestine Migration: How Undocumented Migrants Experience Surveillance at the US-Mexico Border,” Bryce Clayton Newell, Ricardo Gomez, and Verónica E. Guajardo provide a necessary, qualitative analysis of the experiences of clandestine migration across the Mexico-US border. Through their in-depth interviews at the Kino Border Initiative migrant shelter in Nogales, Mexico, Newell, Gomez and Guajardo fill a gap in much of the research on surveillance at the borderlands, specifically answering how people from Mexico and Central America who are attempting to cross into the US consider the role of “the Wall” and of other surveillance technologies such as camera towers, border patrol body-worn cameras, ground sensors, helicopters and drones. In seeking to understand how their research informants (migrant-aid workers and volunteers, people who had been recently deported from the US, and those recently arrived at the border who were preparing to make their crossing) make use of their information-sharing networks to overcome dangers, smugglers and other experiences of vulnerability, the authors make a valuable research intervention at a time [when the] US government is expanding surveillance measures that could see the current administration surpass the previous one’s deportation record of over one million people, which earned former president Barack Obama the title “Deporter-in-Chief”.
I’m thrilled that my research into police adoption and use of body-worn cameras (and what I call the “collateral visibility” of individual civilians captured on video due to liberal public disclosure of body camera footage) is cited in the lead feature article in the October 23, 2016 issue of the New York Times Magazine (link). The story is very well done and worth a read.
A draft of my forthcoming paper referenced in the NY Times piece is available here.
I am happy to announce a new call for papers for an upcoming special (paper) symposium section of Law & Social Inquiry. I am co-editing the special issue with Sarah Brayne (UT-Austin, Sociology) and Karen Levy (Cornell, Information Science). LSI is a respected law and society journal sponsored by the American Bar Foundation and published quarterly by Wiley. The call follows (and is available as a PDF).
Call for Papers (abstracts due August 10, 2016)
Visual Data as Accountability, Resistance, and Surveillance
Edited by: Sarah Brayne (UT-Austin), Karen E. C. Levy (Cornell), and Bryce Clayton Newell (Tilburg)
The capture, analysis, and dissemination of visual data—including video (with or without audio), photographs, and other visual recordings—has become ubiquitous. Facilitated by digitization, globalization, and the proliferation of mobile media, visual data is transforming the documentation of activities in a wide range of contexts, including policing, legal adjudication, war, human rights struggles, and civic action. Visual data is being collected by state actors and individual citizens, each often documenting the actions of the other. The use of this data as evidence (both inside and outside formal legal proceedings) raises significant issues related to privacy and ethics, authentication and credibility, interpretation, inequality, power, and legibility. Law is implicated at both the point of recording (or documentation) and during downstream activities, such as when recordings are shared or posted online, publicly disclosed under freedom of information laws, or introduced into evidence during legal proceedings.
Different technologies afford different viewpoints. Visual data constitutes a unique form of information that presents emergent legal and policy questions because of its technical form and social effects. The mobilization of visual data can shape and reshape public opinion, representation, suppression, visibility, inequality, and admissibility of evidence; it can serve to incriminate or exonerate. Visual evidence can legitimize certain accounts of events while calling others into question. And, thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, more people can capture video and photographs than ever before, at a moment’s notice, simply by pulling out their phones—and can distribute them instantaneously, creating visual records of all types of behaviors and conflicts, from confrontations between citizens and police to political gaffes, from sex tapes to dashboard camera footage of traffic-related events. The recent adoption of police body cameras and the use of video by bystanders as a tool for inverse surveillance demonstrate our increasing reliance on video as a check on power, as well as a source of ostensible authority when accounts about “what really happened” are in conflict. At the same time, the crucial role of interpretation suggests video is not as much of an “objective observer” or independent witness as it is sometimes claimed to be, and visual evidence may have unforeseen implications for weighing evidence in civil or criminal cases—or in the court of public opinion.
Permissive freedom of information laws in some jurisdictions have also led to recordings made by the police ending up on websites like YouTube—alongside myriad channels of police misconduct videos filmed by citizens. All of this footage increases the secondary visibility of those captured in recordings, and the video itself can also be analyzed as (potentially) a new form of big data. Audio and video streams contain biometric information that can be detected, analyzed, and compared against existing databases—while also adding new data to these databases in the process.
The creation, dissemination, mediation, interpretation, and quantification of visual data are all fundamentally social processes. From citizen video of police (mis)conduct to the visual documentation of human rights abuses, the process of transforming material experience into digital evidence can facilitate accountability or resistance. These citizen-led forms of surveillance also function as forms of resistance to more panoptic forms of state-sponsored video collection and surveillance (e.g. camera-enabled drones, CCTV cameras). On the other hand, police-worn body cameras also act as an accountability mechanism, even though they face away from officers and collect evidence about—and document the conduct of—civilians. These forms of mobile, user-controlled cameras significantly alter earlier reliance on more static and passive video collection.
As technological developments far outpace empirical research on—and legal regulation of—visual data, this special paper symposium in Law & Social Inquiry will provide an opportunity to highlight new empirical work with connections to law and policy, serve as a venue to build theory about a rapidly changing subject, and showcase research relevant to a variety of stakeholders—including lawyers, judges, law enforcement, legislators and policymakers, activists and civil and human rights organizations, technologists, and academics in a variety of fields.
We welcome contributions that present original empirical research; offer conceptual, critical, or theoretical analyses; or address the unique legal, ethical, and policy questions implicated by visual documentation. We welcome scholarly contributions that come from—or that cross—academic disciplines such as sociology, law, information science, anthropology, science and technology studies, criminology, geography, communications and media studies, and computer science.
We encourage submissions addressing (but not limited to) such subjects as:
- Body-worn cameras, dashcams, policing practices
- Citizen video/video as human rights advocacy
- Covert and overt recording
- Video as surveillance and sousveillance
- Resistance to and avoidance of audio or visual surveillance
- Design and regulation of audio or visual surveillance systems
- Unanticipated consequences of audio or visual records
- Use and interpretation of audio or video as evidence in legal proceedings
- Data storage, access, and retention policies
- Algorithmic practices of metadata extraction from video content
- Image processing
- Technical means of privacy preservation and authentication
- Audio and video analytics and forensics
- Audio and video redaction and privacy concerns
- Live streaming
- Video/audio and public opinion
- Voyeurism, victimhood, and the ethics of viewing
- Affective aspects of video
- Embedding human values into the design of video-related technologies or systems (e.g. value sensitive design or privacy by design)
- Implications for inequality
- Facial recognition or other forms of biometrics enabled by audio or visual documentation and recording
Deadlines and anticipated timeline:
- Initial abstract submission deadline (~ 500 words):August 10, 2016
- Authors notified of (tentative) acceptance:August 30, 2016
- Full papers due (based on accepted abstracts):December 1, 2016
- Papers sent out for peer-review: mid-December, 2016
- Reviews returned to authors (with editorial decisions): expected, Feb.-Mar. 2017
- Publication in 2017
Specifics about submissions:
Initial abstracts should contain approximately 500 words. Subsequent full paper submissions should contain fewer than 10,000 words (including footnotes and citations), and should contain a 200-word abstract and biographical information about the authors on a cover page. Invited full paper submissions will undergo formal double-blind peer review, which is expected to take between 1 and 3 months (submissions that are not selected for peer-review will be released back to the authors quickly). All submissions should be submitted in editable Word (*.doc/x) or *.rtf formats, and should adhere to the formatting and citation requirements of Law & Social Inquiry (available at http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/pdf/lsi_author_guidelines.pdf).
All submissions should be sent to the editors via email to LSIvisualdataspecialissue@gmail.com. Please do not submit to this special call via the regular Law & Social Inquiry journal submission portal.
Additional questions may be sent to the editors at the same address.