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Criminology Public and Private Surveillance
by
Kevin D. Haggerty, Daniel Trottier

Introduction

When people think of surveillance, what usually comes to mind are spies and hidden cameras. Surveillance, however, consists of a much wider range of practices and technologies. Developments in new technologies, administrative practices, commerce, and governmental regimes have culminated in surveillance in its various manifestations becoming a dominant organizing practice of late modern society. Surveillance is now an inescapable phenomenon, and how it is used raises some of the most pressing political and ethical questions of our day. The following references are some of the key works in the social study of surveillance. Not included, however, are works on the topic of “privacy,” which is its own vast and often highly legalistic field of inquiry.

General Overviews

A series of books have sought to paint a broad picture of what is occurring in the world of surveillance. Given that surveillance is such a wide-ranging phenomenon, these general overviews also range widely over institutions and practices. When we think of surveillance, we often first think of images and pictures, and Tagg 1988 analyzes the historical rise of photography and presents insights into how photography often was incorporated into official surveillance practices, particularly in the form of mug shots. Surveillance has also been embedded in architecture, and Andrzejewski 2008 details how various structures were designed during the Victorian period to maximize the monitoring of families, workers, and others. Surveillance has also been central to governmental practices, a theme that Scott 1998 foregrounds, accentuating the occasionally disastrous consequences of the state’s characteristic ways of “seeing” the world and dealing with social problems. And although we often believe that such surveillance has decreased our privacy, Nock 1993, in an important little book, points out how surveillance has often been introduced to counter the historical rise of notions of private selves and private places. Lyon 2007 is perhaps the best attempt to organize and critically analyze these diverse literatures, along with the valuable synthetic overview in Staples 2000 and Murakami Wood 2006, which helped to place the concept of a “surveillance society” on the political agenda in the United Kingdom. Murakami Wood 2009 provides a useful reflection on when (and if) it might be appropriate to talk about a “surveillance society.” The works in this section can be distinguished from those under Popular Books by the fact that these are aimed at a more academic audience.

  • Andrzejewski, Anna Vemer. 2008. Building power: Architecture and surveillance in Victorian America. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press.

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    Looks at the different ways that architecture was used to enhance the monitoring of different populations in Victorian America. It includes chapters on how surveillance was used for disciplinary control and rational management, as well as a fascinating examination of surveillance at religious camps intended to further a sense of fraternity.

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  • Lyon, David. 2007. Surveillance studies: An overview. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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    One of the most important figures writing on surveillance details the diverse range of inquiries currently underway that could be collected under the umbrella of “surveillance studies.” Readers might also trace Lyon’s unfolding thought on this topic by also reading his The Electronic Eye (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1994) and Surveillance Society (Buckingham, UK: Open Univ. Press, 2001).

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  • Murakami Wood, David, ed. 2006. A report on the surveillance society. Cheshire, UK: Information Commissioner’s Office.

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    This comprehensive report commissioned by the UK government is a useful starting point, particularly for politicians and the general public. It includes a general introduction of key concepts surrounding surveillance studies, a rich description of current and anticipated future surveillance scenarios in everyday life, and challenges surrounding regulatory solutions.

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  • Murakami Wood, David. 2009. The “surveillance society”: Questions of history, place and culture. European Journal of Criminology 6.2: 179–194.

    DOI: 10.1177/1477370808100545Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    It has become a common rhetorical ploy to say that we now live in a surveillance society. Murakami Wood offers some cautions about the overextension of this concept and some criteria that can be used to identify when a society might be reasonability characterized as a “surveillance society.”

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  • Nock, Steven L. 1993. The costs of privacy: Surveillance and reputation in America. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

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    An intriguing and somewhat counterintuitive argument that the rise of surveillance can be attributed to the general historical emergence of “privacy.” That is, in a world in which there are more strangers and domains perceived to be private, we turn to formal identification and monitoring to establish a trusted formal reputation.

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  • Scott, James C. 1998. Seeing like a state: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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    Scott’s analysis of failed high modern projects examines several utopian planning exercises to outline how the focus on massive projects of social engineering shares a commitment to high modernist ideology. This entails a characteristic centralized and bureaucratized way of envisioning projects.

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  • Staples, William G. 2000. Everyday surveillance: Vigilance and visibility in postmodern life. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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    Staples considers what he characterizes as some of the postmodern characteristics of surveillance. These include the fact that surveillance is now more technological, that it tends to target the body, that many techniques operate in our everyday lives, and that these techniques tend to bring wide populations (not just “deviants”) under scrutiny. He charts these developments in a variety of sites, such as the home, schools, workplaces, and the Internet.

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  • Tagg, John. 1988. The burden of representation: Essays on photographies and histories. Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press.

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    Rejects the idea of photography as a record of reality. Tagg traces the role new means of representation played in processes of modern social regulation. Tagg argues for an institutional analysis of the meaning and effects of photographs, rooted in a historical grasp of the growth of the modern state.

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Popular Books

Surveillance is an intrinsically interesting topic, one that raises fundamental questions about privacy, power, and politics. In recent years, such popular interest has translated into books written for citizens to try and detail the nature of the changes that are underway in this domain. The tone of many of these volumes is often disquieting (Laidler 2008, O’Harrow 2005) or even borders on alarmist (Parenti 2003). This is not surprising, given that the authors’ motivations for writing often come from an anxiety about how surveillance is transforming our lives in undesirable ways.

  • Laidler, Keith. 2008. Surveillance unlimited: How we’ve become the most watched people on earth. Cambridge, UK: Icon.

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    Focuses on the situation in Britain, which is fitting given how that country has embraced a plethora of new surveillance measures. Outlines such things as state-driven forms of new identification, radio-frequency identification, and surveillance cameras, and gives some consideration to how citizens concerned about such developments might respond politically and pragmatically.

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  • O’Harrow, Robert, Jr., 2005. No place to hide. New York: Free Press.

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    O’Harrow, a Washington Post reporter, does an admirable job of personalizing the scope of the information collected for commercial purposes. This book offers particularly unsettling details about the often-cynical ways that major information firms go out of their way to undermine privacy.

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  • Parenti, Christian. 2003. The soft cage: Surveillance in America from slavery to the War on Terror. New York: Basic Books.

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    A passionate examination of the intensified dynamics of surveillance in American history, with a particular emphasis on how these have targeted marginalized populations and groups that powerful interests have seen as politically dangerous.

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Edited Collections

Many important works in the study of surveillance have been published in edited collections. The best is the Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies (Ball, et al. 2012), which provides a comprehensive overview of the field. Many of the other collections tend to be a bit mixed in terms of the quality of the contributions and the consistency of their focus. However, the attentive reader can detect a certain evolution of themes and ideas in such works. The Intensification of Surveillance (Ball and Webster 2003) was one of the first edited collections on surveillance in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and as such ushered in a host of discussions about surveillance, security, and warfare. Such themes also appear in Haggerty and Ericson 2006, although the focus of that text is on how surveillance is transforming many different realms, such as commerce, entertainment, warfare, and security. Lyon 2003 delves more deeply into the personal implications of such scrutiny, particularly how surveillance is used to “sort” different population groups such that they are dealt with differently by different institutions. Aas, et al. 2009 foregrounds the technological tools of such scrutiny and sorting, accenting the paradoxical way in which such devices can appear as a solution to problems while also fostering new types of fears.

  • Aas, Katja Franko, Helene Oppen Gundhus, and Heidi Mork Lomell, eds. 2009. Technologies of insecurity: The surveillance of everyday life. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

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    This collection revolves around the paradoxical nature of surveillance technologies that promise to produce security while at times producing new anxieties. Notable is Gavin Smith’s contribution on surveillance camera operators, which turns the tables by portraying such workers as also being employed in a highly controlled occupation.

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  • Ball, Kirstie, David Lyon, and Kevin Haggerty, eds. 2012. The Routledge handbook of surveillance studies. London: Routledge.

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    This large collection was designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the field of surveillance studies. With fifty unique contributions written by some of the most major figures in the field, it will help to define surveillance studies for years to come.

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  • Ball, Kirstie, and Frank Webster, eds. 2003. The intensification of surveillance: Crime, terrorism and warfare in the information age. London: Pluto.

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    The authors of this collection consider the social and organizational consequences of the increase of surveillance practices. They cover a range of technologies and issues, including the monitoring of criminals and prisoners, but also of consumers.

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  • Haggerty, Kevin D., and Richard V. Ericson, eds. 2006. The new politics of surveillance and visibility. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    This volume brings together some of the most prominent interdisciplinary figures in the social study of surveillance. The contributors examine how surveillance is operating in different contexts, including commerce, security, the Internet, and warfare.

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  • Lyon, David, ed. 2003. Surveillance as social sorting: Privacy, risk and digital discrimination. London: Routledge.

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    This collection studies a variety of surveillance technologies and regimes that perform “social sorting.” Lyon’s contribution is particularly important, given that he uses it to define social sorting, which entails the systematic identification, categorization, and processing of individuals and social groups on the basis of ubiquitously gathered information.

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Theorizing Surveillance

There are a few inevitable theoretical touchstones when talking about surveillance. For the general public the main text is George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (Orwell 1949), which presented a disturbing vision of a not-too-futuristic society in which surveillance was a central component in maintaining state control and coerced conformity. Within the academy, the early symbolic interactionist work by Erving Goffman (see Goffman 1959) introduced a dramaturgical analysis that highlighted how people are continually watching one another and transforming their behavior in light of informal norms. In more recent years, by far the most important work on surveillance is Foucault’s book Discipline and Punish (Foucault 1977), which outlined the specifics of a form of “panoptic” surveillance that was connected to the emergence in the 18th century of a new form of disciplinary power. According to Foucault, such power was more effective and efficient in producing conformity. A massive literature has subsequently emerged to debate the value or accuracy of Foucault’s analysis of surveillance. Mathiesen 1997, for example, in contrast to forms of “top down” panoptic power, accentuates practices of “bottom up” synoptic surveillance, in which comparatively powerless citizens are able to scrutinize individuals near the top of the social hierarchy. Bogard 1996 builds upon Foucault but adds a strong emphasis on the work of Baudrillard to detail how surveillance often works through the development of assorted models and simulations. Haggerty and Ericson 2000 raises serious questions about the applicability of the Foucauldian model to the contemporary situation, and instead advances the idea of a “surveillant assemblage” that breaks down the objects of surveillance into discrete flows and then realigns them in assorted configurations in different contexts. Brin 1998, a somewhat controversial book, is quite different from all of the above. The author starts from the assumption that technological developments have made privacy a thing of the past and goes on to argue that to avoid massive inequities in power, we should encourage a form of radical transparency in which individuals can see and know more about the behavior of others.

  • Bogard, William. 1996. The simulation of surveillance: Hypercontrol in telematic societies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Undoubtedly a bit incomprehensible to those not well versed in postmodern theory, Bogard offers a rich exploration of practices and technologies that contribute to an increasing simulation of surveillance. Bogard’s approach is informed by a form of “social science fiction” that integrates Foucault’s and Baudrillard’s work.

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  • Brin, David. 1998. The transparent society: Will technology force us to choose between privacy and freedom? Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

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    Brin anticipates a future where new technologies will allow for constant monitoring. Controversially, he argues that attempts to maintain privacy will ultimately result in only the powerful being able to secure a private life. He argues for a form of almost total reciprocal transparency as a way to ensure freedom.

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  • Foucault, Michel. 1977. Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Pantheon.

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    Easily the most important book in contemporary theoretical discussions of surveillance. Foucault details the emergence of a new form of disciplinary power in the 18th century. “Panoptic” monitoring is put forth as a key component of such power. Debate continues about the extent to which panoptic surveillance is manifest today. Originally published as Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison (Paris: Gallimard, 1975).

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  • Goffman, Erving. 1959. The presentation of self in everyday life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

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    Not a book on surveillance per se, but this classic symbolic interactionist text serves as a vital reminder of the inevitable role of interpersonal visibility in face-to-face human relations and how this visibility informs our relations with others and our sense of self.

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  • Haggerty, Kevin D., and Richard V. Ericson. 2000. The surveillant assemblage. British Journal of Sociology 51.4:605–622.

    DOI: 10.1080/00071310020015280Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Probably the most-cited article in the field of surveillance studies, this theoretical piece introduces the notion that surveillance operates as an “assemblage,” comprised of discrete monitoring practices and technologies, many of which were introduced for purposes quite distinct from those that they ultimately serve.

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  • Lyon, David, ed. 2006. Theorizing surveillance: The panopticon and beyond. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    This edited collection is a response to the long-standing dominance of panopticon-based theories of surveillance. The works consider alternative theoretical approaches to watching and being watched that move beyond the panoptic mode.

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  • Mathiesen, Thomas. 1997. The viewer society: Michel Foucault’s “panopticon” revisited. Theoretical Criminology 1.2:215–234.

    DOI: 10.1177/1362480697001002003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article is notable for introducing the concept of “synopticism,” which Mathiesen uses to denote instances in which the many watch the few, as in the case of the public’s mediated ability to watch celebrities or politicians.

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  • Orwell, George. 1949. Nineteen eighty-four: A novel. New York: Harcourt, Brace.

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    Still a popular point of reference for discussions of surveillance. Other novels have addressed the prospect of coercive state surveillance, but in introducing the notion of “Big Brother,” this book has resonated like no other.

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Identity and Identification

The works in this section examine the theoretical and practical implications of identity in a contemporary surveillance society. Identity is an abstract concept tied to notions of selfhood and community, but it is also a terrain that is shaped by long-standing attempts to manage populations and new technologies that merge diffuse kinds of information. Of particular relevance is how identities categorize and structure our social world (Bowker and Star 1999). Works like Caplan and Torpey 2001; Torpey 2000; and Rule, et al. 1983 consider the use of identity documents in the context of modernity, although these documents have historical precedents (Groebner 2007). Later scholarship (Lyon 2009) has focused on how such processes operate in a post-9/11 environment, particularly in attempts to regulate movement across borders.

  • Bowker, Geoffrey C., and Susan Leigh Star. 1999. Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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    Focuses on how individuals sort perceived characteristics into categories and the consequences of those choices. Describes how classifications help to produce a more standardized view of the physical world. The authors analyze social and medical classification schemes to illustrate how categories influence our society. Their discussion of racial identification is fascinating and nuanced.

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  • Caplan, Jane, and John Torpey, eds. 2001. Documenting individual identity: The development of state practices in the modern world. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    Offers a comprehensive historical overview of assorted practices of documentation. These range from passports and identity cards to labor registration and alien documentation, from fingerprinting to much-debated contemporary issues such as DNA typing, body surveillance, and the catastrophic results of colonial-era identity documentation in postcolonial Rwanda.

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  • Groebner, Valentin. 2007. Who are you? Identification, deception and surveillance in early modern Europe. Translated by Mark Kyburz and John Peck. Brooklyn, NY: Zone.

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    Focusing on the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, Groebner examines how portraits, badges, seals, clothes, tattoos, letters of safe conduct, and paper certificates helped people to recognize others whom they had never seen before. Such insignia would also be used to indicate inclusion or exclusion. English translation of Der Schein der Person. Steckbrief, Ausweis und Kontrolle im Europa des Mittelalters, first published in 2004 (Munich: C. H. Beck).

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  • Lyon, David. 2009. Identifying citizens: ID cards as surveillance. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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    Considers the long-standing practice of government identity schemes, emphasizing recent attempts to set up ID card systems. In addition to theoretical contributions surrounding the “oligopolization of the means of identification,” Lyon looks at recent efforts to integrate biometric data into these schemes, as well as their broader implications for citizenship.

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  • Rule, James B., Douglas McAdam, Linda Stearns, and David Uglow. 1983. Documentary identification and mass surveillance in the United States. Social Problems 31.2:222–234.

    DOI: 10.1525/sp.1983.31.2.03a00110Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes six long-standing examples of identity documents in the United States: birth certificates, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, passports, bank books, and bank-issued credit cards. The authors combine a historical approach to their emergence with empirical findings in order to consider how large-scale surveillance is growing through the use of these documents.

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  • Torpey, John. 2000. The invention of the passport: Surveillance, citizenship and the state. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Torpey retraces the creation of passports in Western countries as a sign of more general processes by which states gained control of their subjects. This profoundly altered relations between citizens and their governments and was a vital step toward the state assuming a monopoly on the control of movement.

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Surveillance in Context

Surveillance often looks and feels quite different in different contexts. The same monitoring technologies and practices might be used in medicine, commerce, or warfare for vastly different ends. Hence, it is essential to study surveillance in its different settings. The following contributions identify some of these different contexts in which surveillance is now pervasive.

National Security and Warfare

Surveillance is often associated with military and intelligence efforts. It is utilized to gather strategic information about an enemy or to locate and identify “persons of interest” within one’s own borders. These processes are a long-standing feature of modern bureaucracies, as noted by Dandeker 1990. During the 20th century, such state security monitoring became oppressive in a series of totalitarian governments, something that continues to shape those societies (Funder 2003). In recent years, more sophisticated visualizing technologies have been built into weapons systems, something that is changing warfare and that also promises to have spin-off effects in domestic society (Graham 2010). Much of this connection among the military, police, and surveillance is apparent in the intense security efforts surrounding mega-events such as the Olympics and the World Cup (Samatas 2007), but also more routinely in assorted domestic security initiatives, particularly in the aftermath of massive terrorist attacks (Levi and Wall 2004).

  • Dandeker, Christopher. 1990. Surveillance, power and modernity: Bureaucracy and discipline from 1700 to the present day. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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    One of the few books to look historically at the central place of a diverse set of surveillance and visualizing technologies in the historical trajectory of warfare. Dandeker emphasizes Max Weber’s notion of instrumental rationality and how surveillance is part of such rationalizing processes.

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  • Funder, Anna. 2003. Stasiland: True stories from behind the Berlin Wall. London: Granta.

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    This moving memoire dwells on the troubling legacies of the surveillance conducted by the Stasi. The opening of secret archives shed light on the state’s surveillance practices and created opportunities for people to garner often-unsettling insights into who among their friends, family, and colleagues was informing on them.

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  • Graham, Stephen. 2010. Cities under siege: The new military urbanism. London: Verso.

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    Graham shows how Western militaries and security forces now perceive all urban terrain as a conflict zone inhabited by lurking shadowy enemies. Urban inhabitants have become targets that need to be continually tracked, scanned, and controlled, often by using new developments in military sensing and vision machines.

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  • Levi, Michael, and David S. Wall. 2004. Technologies, security, and privacy in the post-9/11 European information society. Journal of Law and Society 31.2: 194–220.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2004.00287.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Looks at a broad set of impacts of 9/11 in regards to security practices and discourse. Includes “hard” measures such as controlling borders, but also “softer” attempts to collect personal information using communication technologies. These changes also force a reconsideration of concepts like privacy and security.

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  • Samatas, Minas. 2007. Security and surveillance in the Athens 2004 Olympics: Some lessons from a troubled story. International Criminal Justice Review 17:220–238.

    DOI: 10.1177/1057567707306649Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Mega-events use myriad high-technology measures for security purposes. Samatas’s account of these processes at the Athens Summer Olympics details some of these specifics and the wider geopolitical dynamics that can shape what technologies are used and why, as well as the legacy of these processes for host cities.

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Surveillance in and of the Family

Surveillance studies usually focus on relations between individuals and state or corporate institutions. Yet families act as an interface between these realms. Family members may scrutinize each other and neighbors (Andrejevic 2005). Such dynamics may enhance or challenge the kinds of scrutiny that operate in other realms. In addition, families are also the target of surveillance (Gilliom 2001 and Little 1998). Such monitoring has a long history tied to the welfare state, but it is as important as ever in light of the rapid adoption of new domestic technologies (Nelson and Garey 2009) and has also spread to the education of children (Monahan and Torres 2010).

  • Andrejevic, Mark. 2005. The work of watching one another: Lateral surveillance, risk, and governance. Surveillance and Society 2.4:479–497.

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    Andrejevic analyzes the increase in peer-based surveillance stemming from emerging domestic technologies. He focuses on family and other loved ones, but situates these examples in a broader context of people watching over one another. These practices replicate conventional forms of surveillance, furthering the internalization of those kinds of scrutiny.

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  • Gilliom, John. 2001. Overseers of the poor: Surveillance, resistance, and the limits of privacy. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    An often-unsettling ethnographic study of how poor Appalachian women in the United States are monitored in minute detail by a sophisticated social welfare computer system. Focus is placed on everyday coping and resistance by those on social assistance.

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  • Little, Margaret Jane Hillyard. 1998. “No car, no radio, no liquor permit”: The moral regulation of single mothers in Ontario, 1920–1997. Toronto: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Considers the pervasive scrutiny that Ontario women on welfare underwent in order to receive their allowances. Underscores classist and racist dimensions of this program. Little also details the various state and nongovernmental actors involved in this program and their interest in being involved.

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  • Monahan, Torin, and Rodolfo D. Torres, eds. 2010. Schools under surveillance: Cultures of control in public education. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

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    Contributors outline the main drivers of the intense monitoring of children in American schools. Accentuates forms of resistance to surveillance and includes welcome attention to how schools have been targeted as a growth market for security devices and services and are seen as a source of consumer data on students.

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  • Nelson, Margaret K., and Anita Ilta Garey, eds. 2009. Who’s watching? Daily practices of surveillance among contemporary families. Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press.

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    This collection pays attention to a recent technological push in the area of surveillance and families. The focus of the chapters includes families watching themselves, families watching others, and families being watched by welfare authorities and law enforcement. It also sheds light on the overlap and interaction between care and control in families.

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Surveillance at Work and in Commerce

Since the industrial revolution, workers have been subject to forms of scrutiny to enhance efficiency and reduce employee theft (Beniger 1986, Ball 2010). Surveillance has become especially central in informational economies. The digitization of individual purchases means that any single transaction expands and refines market databases. These databases are important for market research but also for more proactive initiatives to “know” customers (Clarke 1994), develop brand loyalty, and solicit further feedback (Andrejevic 2007, Turow 2006). They also facilitate the segmentation and sorting of populations (Gandy 1993, Burrows and Gane 2006). At the same time, the financial sector is rendered transparent through financial surveillance (Williams 2009) designed to identify and circumvent fraud and, in recent years, to track terrorist funding (Vlcek 2008).

  • Andrejevic, Mark. 2007. iSpy: Surveillance and power in the interactive era. Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas.

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    Andrejevic debunks the hype surrounding new ostensibly empowering interactive technologies. Rather than empowerment, he details an interactive world in which individuals effectively surrender personal information for the purpose of being (often unknowingly) politically and commercially manipulated.

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  • Ball, Kirstie. 2010. Workplace surveillance: An overview. Labor History 51.1: 87–106.

    DOI: 10.1080/00236561003654776Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article offers a comprehensive and critical approach to workplace surveillance. While describing a range of surveillance technologies, Ball contends that these are not discontinuous with nontechnological scrutiny at work. Arguments favoring and opposing workplace surveillance are considered, and Ball is careful to point out that a case-by-case evaluation overlooks existing and emerging forms of inequality.

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  • Beniger, James R. 1986. The control revolution: Technological and economic origins of the information society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    Presents a historical overview of the emergence of a control society, something tied to the industrial revolution and the rise of the information society, producing a form of “control crisis.” This marks a shift from interpersonal scrutiny to bureaucratic and telecommunication systems, constituting a much more “top-down” form of surveillance.

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  • Burrows, Roger, and Nicholas Gane. 2006. Geodemographics, software and class. Sociology 40.5: 793–812.

    DOI: 10.1177/0038038506067507Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors consider the emergence of a new kind of market surveillance based on the fusion of transactional data with locational information such as postal codes. This allows for a reconfiguration of neighborhoods based on purchasing habits, while the growth of this software furthers class-based social sorting.

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  • Clarke, Roger. 1994. The digital persona and its application to data surveillance. Information Society 10.2: 77–92.

    DOI: 10.1080/01972243.1994.9960160Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This exploratory article presents the concept of the “digital persona” as a model of an individual constructed from transactional data. After outlining this concept, it goes on to suggest potential risks associated with the increased use of digital persona in key bureaucratic and market-based functions.

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  • Gandy, Oscar H., Jr., 1993. The panoptic sort: A political economy of personal information. Boulder, CO: Westview.

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    An early classic in the study of the dynamics of computerized surveillance. Particular attention is paid to the cumulative forms of disadvantage that such practices can have on already marginalized social groups.

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  • Turow, Joseph. 2006. Niche envy: Marketing discrimination in the digital age. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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    Considers the emergence of database marketing. Although this is typically associated with online commerce, Turow considers its historical roots as well as how it has spread to more conventional media. Turow focuses on the social sorting risks associated with database marketing, as well as forms of resistance adopted by consumers.

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  • Vlcek, William. 2008. A leviathan rejuvenated: Surveillance, money laundering, and the War on Terror. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 20:21–40.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10767-007-9020-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines financial surveillance stemming from the USA PATRIOT Act, with a focus on efforts used to detect money laundering that is used to fund terrorism. Beyond his concern with counterterrorist efforts, Vlcek also considers the broader consequences of heightened financial surveillance.

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  • Williams, James. 2009. Envisioning financial disorder: Financial surveillance and the securities industry. Economy and Society 38.3: 460–491.

    DOI: 10.1080/03085140903020663Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article considers the emergence of financial surveillance by way of the digitization of financial markets. After distinguishing this surveillance practice from others, Williams considers some of the regulatory constraints that undercut the scope of financial surveillance.

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Crime Control

In recent years there has been a recognition that a considerable percentage of a police officer’s time and energy goes into collecting and processing data, something that is augmented by assorted surveillance systems (Ericson and Haggerty 1997). Some of this monitoring is not particularly technologically sophisticated, such as the routine use of informants (Natapoff 2009) and practices of undercover policing (Marx 1988). In recent years, however, police surveillance has become more technological, with fingerprints, electronic tags, transponders, iris scanning, photo ID, breathalyzers, databases, and DNA all being part of the surveillance-related lexicon of contemporary security and crime control. One of the most central of these technologies has been the use of public surveillance cameras (Norris and Armstrong 1999), the emergence of which was connected to broader changes in politics and governmental practice (Coleman 2004). Other important technologies have been centrally concerned with establishing an individual’s identity, such as with the use of fingerprinting and DNA testing (Cole 2001). As these assorted police monitoring systems are increasingly integrated, they promise to better identify and capture suspects but at the same time risk excluding already marginalized groups (Goffman 2009). Moreover, as surveillance in various forms becomes ever more central to crime control, we face the prospect of a dystopic society in which control and management are everywhere (Cohen 1985).

  • Cohen, Stanley. 1985. Visions of social control: Crime punishment and classification. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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    A comprehensive critical overview of dynamics in social control up to the 1980s, this hugely influential book introduced a series of key concepts that remain central to the criminological lexicon. Surveillance and classification are part of the master patterns in regulation, producing an expanding and intensifying net of social control.

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  • Cole, Simon A. 2001. Suspect identities: A history of fingerprinting and criminal identification. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    Thoughtful account of the historical emergence and contemporary uses of fingerprinting. This book includes early difficulties in persuading authorities to recognize the individualizing potential of fingerprints, their colonial uses, and more recent questions about accuracy. The concluding chapter looks at how DNA analysis fits into this history of individualizing identification.

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  • Coleman, Roy. 2004. Reclaiming the streets: Surveillance, social control and the city. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    This study of urban regulation in Liverpool outlines the emergence of a new type of neoliberal urban order in which surveillance cameras play an important role in fashioning a distinctive spatial order while also transforming the dynamics and entitlements of citizenship.

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  • Ericson, Richard V., and Kevin D. Haggerty. 1997. Policing the risk society. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    Outlines how new forms of risk knowledge are used to govern populations. Connects Foucauldian work on “governmentality” with the analysis of a “risk society.” Police are presented as “knowledge workers,” who routinely feed different institutions external to the police with different forms of information.

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  • Goffman, Alice. 2009. On the run: Wanted men in a Philadelphia ghetto. American Sociological Review 74.3: 339–357.

    DOI: 10.1177/000312240907400301Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A must-read not simply because of what it tells us about the increasingly constricting role that surveillance systems play in the lives of poor racialized American men but also because of the remarkable ethnographic details that Goffman is able to present about various aspects of these men’s lives.

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  • Marx, Gary T. 1988. Undercover: Police surveillance in America. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This acclaimed study of undercover police practices deals with the practicalities and ethics of surreptitious police practices. The concluding chapter, titled “The New Surveillance,” is an inevitable point of reference because of how it anticipated the rise of new forms of electronic surveillance.

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  • Natapoff, Alexandra. 2009. Snitching: Criminal informants and the erosion of American justice. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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    Police continue to rely heavily on citizens informing on their criminal collaborators. This book outlines why such “snitching” has become so central to the crime control apparatus in America and accentuates the many ethical and pragmatic dilemmas that this form of negotiated justice produces.

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  • Norris, Clive, and Gary Armstrong. 1999. The maximum surveillance society: The rise of CCTV. Oxford: Berg.

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    One of the first and still best analyses of surveillance cameras in England. Excellent ethnographic insights that the authors reached by spending extended time in a surveillance control room, observing and recording the various (and often questionable) forms of deviance that the operators watched and ignored.

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Borders

In a context of increasing fears about illegal immigrants and terrorism, the question of the border has become particularly pronounced. Andreas and Snyder 2000 accentuates how surveillance mechanisms, particularly official documents, have been incorporated in the always-difficult task of controlling the flow of immigrants. This is a theme that is accentuated by Zureik and Salter 2005, with a particular emphasis on how massive databases are used to identify (and construct) suspects in border regions. Much of this work now occurs in airports, something that Adey 2004 focuses on while also suggesting how airport-based practices of identifying individuals and controlling the flow of humanity become a template for managing people in domestic life more generally.

  • Adey, Peter. 2004. Surveillance at the airport: Surveilling mobility/mobilising surveillance. Environment and Planning A 36.8: 1365–1380.

    DOI: 10.1068/a36159Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Concerned with the relationship between mobility and practices of surveillance, Adey examines their interconnections within the modern airport. He explores the surveillance practices that work to control and differentiate movement, bodies, and identities. The airport is presented as providing a blueprint for public space, using mobilized and combined forms of monitoring.

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  • Andreas, Peter, and Timothy Snyder, eds. 2000. The wall around the West: State borders and immigration controls in North America and Europe. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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    This work compares dynamics of surveillance and regulation at borders in Europe and North America and how they fit into and complicate dynamics of globalization. Chapters range widely over issues of regulation, surveillance, and social theory.

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  • Zureik, Elia, and Mark B. Salter, eds. 2005. Global surveillance and policing: Borders, security, identity. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    An eclectic series of papers that reflect on the regulatory dynamics at borders. It includes pieces that consider some of the dilemmas of separating the inside from the outside of the state. Contributors draw attention to the massive databases now used at borders and some of the civil liberties issues raised by such scrutiny.

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Emerging Technologies

Our understanding of surveillance is complicated by new technologies. The continued domestication of mobile technologies (Dennis 2008, Goldsmith 2010) and online platforms for information exchange enable new kinds of visibility. These can alternatively challenge or complement long-standing surveillance practices. Central to such efforts has been a push toward identifying and sorting individuals based on biometric information (van der Ploeg 2003, Gates 2005).

  • Dennis, Kingsley. 2008. Keeping a close watch: The rise of self-surveillance and the threat of digital exposure. Sociological Review 56.3: 347–357.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2008.00793.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Considers the rise of self-surveillance, notably with the proliferation of mobile devices. Dennis suggests that the outcomes of such monitoring are highly contingent on the intentions of users. Anticipates an increase in virtual-vigilantism and harassment and the rise of a mob mentality.

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  • Gates, Kelly A. 2005. Biometrics and post-9/11 technostalgia. Social Text 23 (Summer): 35–54.

    DOI: 10.1215/01642472-23-2_83-35Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Gates considers the embrace of facial recognition technologies, especially after 9/11. Touted as being able to prevent future attacks, this focus on “technostalgia” overlooks concerted efforts by technology companies to promote this technology prior to 9/11. This work promotes an understanding of the political economy of biometric technology.

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  • Goldsmith, Andrew John. 2010. Policing’s new visibility. British Journal of Criminology 50.5: 914–934.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azq033Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the in/visibility of police and policing, and how this is changing with the growth of mobile technology and social media. Argues that police now have less control and fewer choices in terms of managing their public appearance.

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  • van der Ploeg, Irma. 2003. Biometrics and the body as information: Normative issues of the socio-technical coding of the body. In Surveillance as social sorting: Privacy, risk and digital discrimination. Edited by David Lyon, 57–74. London: Routledge.

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    The author claims that translating the body and identity into data goes beyond representation. Rather, an understanding of embodiment will be affected by new biometric technologies. A variety of examples indicate a new body ontology, which will affect conceptions of privacy and bodily integrity.

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Resistance

Surveillance is typically thought of as something that acts upon its users. In response, a subfield in surveillance studies considers how those being watched react to or actively resist surveillance. These approaches range from day-to-day tactics to circumvent being watched (Marx 2003) to large-scale organization and protest. Privacy concerns feature prominently (Nippert-Eng 2010), and in different countries there are different types of bureaucracies to address privacy violations (Bennett 2008), but resistance to surveillance may also be framed in terms of embracing exposure and visibility as a source of empowerment (Koskela 2004, McGrath 2004), or even putting watchers under scrutiny (Mann, et al. 2003).

  • Bennett, Colin J. 2008. The privacy advocates: Resisting the spread of surveillance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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    Bennett studies the large bureaucracy of “privacy advocates” in the context of the broader politics of surveillance and privacy. He details the diverse roles that such individuals can play, from advocate to researcher to consultant, and outlines the many challenges that they face in trying to effectively challenge the expansion of surveillance.

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  • Koskela, Hille. 2004. Webcams, TV shows and mobile phones: Empowering exhibitionism. Surveillance and Society 2.2–3: 199–215.

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    Inverts much of the usual thinking about the gendered dynamics of watching. Rather than being bound by a hegemonic understanding of shameful exposure, the women who display their ostensibly private behavior on the web assert some greater control over the conditions of their own visibility.

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  • Mann, Steve, Jason Nolan, and Barry Wellman. 2003. Sousveillance: Inventing and using wearable computing devices for data collection in surveillance environments. Surveillance and Society 1.3: 331–355.

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    Proposes a “reflectionist” approach that entails equipping individuals with technology that allows them to record social encounters. Mann and colleagues seek to equalize relations between watchers and watched through a series of attempts at such “sousveillance.”

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  • Marx, Gary T. 2003. A tack in the shoe: Neutralizing and resisting the new surveillance. Journal of Social Issues 59.2: 369–390.

    DOI: 10.1111/1540-4560.00069Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Drawing on interviews, official documents, literature, and observation, Marx proposes eleven techniques by which individuals resist institutional surveillance. These techniques speak to the complexity of interactions between watchers and watched, and highlight the awareness and agency of the latter.

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  • McGrath, John E. 2004. Loving big brother: Performance, privacy and surveillance space. London: Routledge.

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    McGrath frames individual responses to surveillance in terms of empowerment, voyeurism, and exhibitionism. His findings draw on visual and performative art, popular culture, and everyday encounters, stressing the importance of banal experiences of surveillance.

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  • Nippert-Eng, Christena. 2010. Islands of privacy. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    The author interviewed Chicago residents about their views on privacy and secrecy. Although the interviews provide numerous excellent insights into how people understand privacy, the main lesson is how central privacy remains to human endeavors and the lengths to which people go in order to protect their privacy.

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LAST MODIFIED: 04/24/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396607-0031

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