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Message posted on 14/09/2022

VUB Chair in Surveillance Studies Upcoming Seminars

Dear all,

I am happy to announce the preliminary schedule for our upcoming seminar series. An additional seminar for November will be added soon. Registration links for both seminars will be published soon.

  • On October 13th (3PM - 4.30PM Brussels Time), we welcome Smith Oduro-Marfo for a presentation entitled Surveillance for Development? Implications of Surveillance-oriented Citizen Identification Systems in Global South countries.

Increasingly, citizen identification systems that are digital, biometric and interoperable are being introduced in Global South countries in the name of development. The assumption or fact that the Global South state must navigate a hardly legible society is being offered as a reason for the challenges with socio-economic development in the Global South. Thus practically, the relative underperformance of the Global South state in leading national development has become an excuse for introducing surveillance-oriented identification systems. My research in Ghana, for instance, shows a multi-actor consensus on the need for such surveillance-oriented systems in order for the state to enhance its capacity in resolving citizenship contestations, allocating taxes, collecting taxes, distributing social welfare, making economic policy, fighting crime and overall, leading the quest for socio-economic development. In this talk, I explore the implications of justifying surveillance-oriented systems in the name of development. I propose my Surveillance for Development (S4D) frame as a starting point in appreciating the trend and its meanings. I also connect my analysis to the 'care or control' debate in Surveillance Studies.

About Smith Oduro-Marfo

Smith Oduro-Marfo holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Victoria. He researches surveillance, privacy, technology policy and inclusiveness in the Global South. Smith's doctoral dissertation supervised by Professors Colin Bennet, Marlea Clarke and Wisdom Tettey analyzed multi-actor debates for and against citizen identification systems in Ghana. In the study, he focused on three key national projects in Ghana: the national biometric identity card, national digital property addressing system and the SIM card registration exercise. Smith holds the CIPP/C certification and has been an IAAP Westin Scholar. He has also been a fellow with the Big Data Surveillance Network, the IDRC and the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria. Beyond his academic interests, Smith is invested in promoting inclusiveness and equity. He was the lead author for the recently-published Black in British Columbia needs assessment report, and action plan. The report assessed the implementation of the IDPAD in BC and offered 98 recommendations to the provincial government. He is a consultant and open to collaboration.

  • On December 14th (2PM - 3.30PM Brussels Time), Lior Volinz invites Francisco Klauser for an interesting presentation entitled Policing with the drone: Towards an aerial geopolitics of security.

This seminar explores in empirical detail the air-bound expectations, imaginations and practices arising from the acquisition of a new police drone in the Swiss canton of Neuchtel. It shows how drones are transforming the ways in which the aerial realm is lived as a context, object and perspective of policing. This tripartite structure is taken as a prism through which to advance novel understandings of the simultaneously elemental and affective, sensory, cognitive and practical dimensions of the aerial volumes within, on and through which drones act. The study of the ways in which these differing dimensions are bound together in how the police think about drones and what they do with them enables the development of an 'aerial geopolitics of security' that, from a security viewpoint, approaches interactions between power and space in a three-dimensional and cross-ontological way.

About Francisco Klauser

Francisco Klauser is professor in political geography at the University of Neuchtel, Switzerland. His work explores the socio-spatial implications, power and surveillance issues arising from the digitisation of present-day life, thus bridging the fields of human geography, surveillance studies and risk research. Main research topics include video surveillance, mega-event security, smart cities, airport surveillance, civil drones, and big data in agriculture.

Hoping to welcome you all at one of our seminars! Kind regards,

Bram Visser PhD Candidate at the VUB Chair in Surveillance Studies [cid:image001.jpg@01D8C85F.05B9CA60]

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