Mobile cameras as new technologies of surveillance? How citizens experience the use of mobile cameras in public nightscapes

T. Timan, Nelly Oudshoorn

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In surveillance studies the terms “sousveillance” and “inverse surveillance” describe forms of surveillance that have a bottom-up and democratic character. However, in this paper this democratic notion is questioned by looking into practices and experiences with both Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and mobile cameras by Dutch citizens. By intervening in the nightlife district of the Rotterdami city centre, data has been gathered on both mobile- and CCTV camera confrontations. From this, an exploration is made into how mobile cameras are experienced in the Nightlife landscape. Comparing these experiences with CCTV provides insight into new surveillance issues that emerge due to the mobile camera. The perspective of analyzing surveillance technologies as hybrid collectives that may take different shapes in different places, allows for a contribution that attempts to improve our understanding of the current changes in the surveillance technology landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167- 181
Number of pages14
Journalsurveillance and society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • surveillance, mobile phones, participation, sharing, STS

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