Transparent Lives and the Surveillance State: Policing, New Visibility, and Information Policy
Newell, Bryce Clayton
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In this dissertation, I utilize conceptual and legal analyses to explore the tensions between personal information privacy and public access to information implicated by government surveillance and citizen-initiated inverse surveillance efforts designed to cast the gaze back at the government, and ask what implications these conclusions have for individual freedom (defined as the absence of domination). I focus on police use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) and automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technologies, on one hand, and citizen-initiated recordings of police officers and freedom of information (FOI) requests for data collected by police BWCs and ALPR systems, on the other. My analysis draws upon republican political theory, philosophical and legal theories of privacy and free speech, the concept of “policing’s new visibility” (Goldsmith, 2010), and various other theories of surveillance and reciprocal/inverse surveillance within the surveillance studies literature. I conduct doctrinal and descriptive legal research into relevant privacy and disclosure laws applicable within Washington State (USA); utilize legal and philosophical theories of privacy, freedom, and free speech to conduct an analysis of the values and value tensions implicated in these situations; and apply elements of Value Sensitive Design for similar conceptual and analytic purposes. Ultimately, I develop a theory of information policy that that accounts for tensions between personal information privacy rights and government disclosure of personally-identifiable information under state FOI law in Washington State, and I propose normative recommendations for improving law, public policy, and police department surveillance and disclosure policies related to these privacy and access concerns.
- Information science