Surveillance

As our present is increasingly digitized, a growingly large amount of our actions are captures in the form of data: Processes that range from personal ID-verification to transnational company calls are optimized through digitization and demand the expansion of network infrastructure.

However, this ongoing process of data-fication in both, the private and public domain also increases cybersecurity vulnerabilities and the extent to which surveillance is practicable. Although especially governmental agencies argue for surveillance to be a tool for the upkeep of national security, its application also demands the infiltration of (individual) privacy. While dystopian scenarios of totalitarian state surveillance generally remain object to storylines in movies, China is perhaps the most referenced country in medial reports on digital surveillance. However, many facets of the concept still remain unclear: (I) What is the extent to which digital surveillance is and can be practiced in both, China and Europe? (II) How exactly is digital infrastructure leveraged to enforce it?

This panel discussion aims to answer these above mentioned questions by bringing together voices from the realms of surveillance studies, journalism and activism to discuss the topic and, more specifically, its application in China and the EU. Thereby it aims to clarify ‘digital surveillance’ and to provide insights into what its balanced, sustainable implementation means from different points of view.

Further information: This panel will be held in German and take place on Senfcall (hosted via Big Blue Button). Questions for the Q&A session are collected with Mentimeter.

Panelists (English version below)

Christoph Giesen ist Korrespondent der Süddeutschen Zeitung in China. Von 2012 bis 2016 war er Mitglied der SZ-Wirtschaftsredaktion in München und arbeitete an den internationalen Enthüllungen Offshore-Leaks, Lux-Leaks, Swiss-Leaks und den Panama Papers mit. Zuvor hat er Journalistik, Politikwissenschaft und “China in Comparative Perspective” studiert.

Christoph Giesen is the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s correspondent in China. From 2012 to 2016, he was a member of the SZ economics editorial team in Munich and worked on the international revelations Offshore-Leaks, Lux-Leaks, Swiss-Leaks and the Panama Papers. Previously, he studied journalism, political science and “China in Comparative Perspective”.

Katika Kühnreich ist Politikwissenschaftlerin und Sinologin. Zu ihren Forschungsschwerpunkten zählen die gesellschaftlichen Auswirkungen der Digitalisierung. Dadurch erregten die Planung und Einführung von Digitalen Gesellschaftlichen Bewertungssystemen (Social Credit Systemen) in China ihre Aufmerksamkeit. Sie analysiert digitalisierte Lenkungs- und Beeinflussungssysteme mit dem Fokus auf China und dem sogenannten Westen.

Katika Kühnreich is a political scientist and sinologist. Her research focuses on the social impact of digitisation. Thus, the planning and introduction of Digital Social Credit Systems in China attracted her attention. She analyses digitalised steering and influence systems with a focus on China and the so-called
West.

Prof. Dr. Nils Zurawski ist studierter Soziologe und Ethnologe und seit November 2020 Wissenschaftlicher Leiter der Forschungsstelle für strategische Polizeiforschung an der Akademie der Polizei, Hamburg. Seine Forschungsinteressen umfassen laut eigener Aussage unter Anderem die Themen Überwachung (CCTV, Konsum, Theorie, Anthropologie der Überwachung), Identität, Internet und Medien.

Prof. Dr. Nils Zurawski studied sociology and ethnology and acts as Scientific Director of the Research Unit for Strategic Police Research at the Academy of Police, Hamburg, since November 2020. His research interests include surveillance (CCTV, consumption, theory, anthropology of surveillance), identity, internet and media.

Literature

[1] Zuboff, Shoshana (2018): The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power. https://doi.org/10.1080/24701475.2019.1706138

[2] Kühnreich, Katika (2018): Soziale Kontrolle 4.0?. Chinas Social Credit SystemsBlätter für die deutsche und internationale Politik63(7), 63-70.

[3] Staab, Philipp (2019): Digitaler Kapitalismus. Markt und Herrschaft in der Ökonomie der Unknappheit. https://doi.org/10.3790/hpb.68.1.112

[4] Giesen, Christoph (2020): Ziel ist der vorauseilende Gehorsam der Bürger. https://www.sueddeutsche.de/leben/corona-app-china-1.4905221

[5] Zurawski, Nils (2021): Überwachen und konsumieren. Kontrolle, Normen und soziale Beziehungen in der digitalen Gesellschaft. https://doi.org/10.14361/9783839456064-001