How to watch the watchers? Democratic oversight of algorithmic police surveillance in Belgium

Rosamunde van Brakel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In the last decade and more recently triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, algorithmic surveillance technologies have been increasingly implemented and experimented with by the police for crime control, public order policing, and as management tools. Police departments are also increasingly consumers of surveillance technologies that are created, sold, and controlled by private companies. They exercise an undue influence over police today in ways that are not widely acknowledged and increasingly play a role in the data capture and processing that feeds into larger cloud infrastructures and data markets. These developments are having profound effects on how policing is organized and on existing power relations, whereby decisions are increasingly being made by algorithms. Although attention is paid to algorithmic police surveillance in academic research as well as in mainstream media, critical discussions about its democratic oversight are rare. The goal of this paper is to contribute to ongoing research on police and surveillance oversight and to question how current judicial oversight of algorithmic police surveillance in Belgium addresses socio-technical harms of these surveillance practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-240
Number of pages13
Journalsurveillance and society
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • DEFENSE

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