SOC Departmental Seminars: Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing

The Department of Sociology organised the seminar on "Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing" on 10 February 2021.

 

In the opening, Dr. Sarah Brayne addressed the social characters of big data and its applicability in the criminal justice system. In her recently published book with Oxford University Press, titled: Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing, she draws on ethnographic research with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to understand how law enforcement uses predictive analytics and new surveillance technologies for social control.

 

The talk attracted more than 50 audiences and a lot of discussion in the Q&A, such as the accuracy of data surveillance, the boundary of state surveillance and personal confidentiality, how big data analytics could prevent or in fact exacerbate existing inequalities, the legitimacy of policing process, among others. Some audiences also raised questions regarding challenges of collecting data with sensitive topics, get access to interviewing the police, and the comparability with Hong Kong’s case during the age of datafication.

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