The report documents the main findings of a workshop on the Police-Use of Surveillance Technology hosted by the VUB Chair in Surveillance Studies. The report can be downloaded on the Chair's website : https://survstudies.research.vub.be/publications
The workshop was split into two sessions. The first session entitled ‘Discussing processes and considerations of surveillant activities: Harmonizing crime control, performance, privacy, and social costs’ was moderated by Bram Visser (PhD Candidate at VUB-LSTS) on October 4th, 2022.
The second session entitled ‘Discussing accountability arrangements in multi-actor security provision: exploring the triangular relationship between police departments, oversight bodies, and corporate producers of surveillance technologies’ was moderated by Lander Govaerts (PhD Candidate at VUB-CRiS) on October 5th, 2022.
Abstract of the workshop:Aware of their duties and responsibilities to protect the public, enforce law, and guarantee public safety, police institutions worldwide increasingly rely on technologies designed specifically to facilitate these tasks. These technologies include, among others, bodycams, predictive policing systems, biometric identification technologies, ANPR cameras, CCTV, and drones. Some more novel than others, all bring about intended, unintended, and emergent consequences either in the way these technologies are designed, implemented, or interacted with. These consequences challenge traditional oversight and accountability mechanisms and policies. The goal of this workshop was to bring together different perspectives on, exchange ideas about, and identify opportunities and challenges in both the implementation of surveillance technologies by the police as well as in how oversight of police use of surveillance is carried out. The workshop was divided into two sessions, each with a particular focus. The first session discussed different approaches to and considerations at play when deciding to make use of surveillance technology. The second session explored how police departments and oversight bodies deal with questions of accountability when working with corporate produced surveillance technology in a multi-actor security provision. By facilitating an exchange of ideas and on-the-field experiences from both the UK and Belgium, participants benefited from each other’s experiences, know-how, and expertise resulting in a unique knowledge advantage otherwise difficult to acquire. Additionally, some academic experts and members of civil society were present, allowing for an excellent networking opportunity and the possibility to reflect on current processes and practices.
The workshop was attended by representatives of civil society, academia, and the public sector and was conducted under Chatham House rules. The final text is the interpretation of the organisers and does not reflect the official positions of the participants.