Skip to content
printicon
Main menu hidden.

iAccept: Soft surveillance – between acceptance and resistance

Research project In recent years, the surveillance discussion has been nuanced from the fact that it should only be seen from above, to be seen as something constantly present in all layers of society.

The surveillance conducted by state and government, also known as "hard" surveillance, has been debated in both Parliament and the public. On the other hand, "soft" monitoring - concerning the use of this material by commercial and non-commercial actors and how the public relies on it - has been discussed to a lesser extent. That is what the iAccept project intends to study.

Head of project

Stefan Gelfgren
Associate professor
E-mail
Email

Project overview

Project period:

2017-07-01 2021-06-30

Funding

Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg foundation (3 907 000 Skr)

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Culture and Media Studies, Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious studies, Faculty of Arts, Humlab

Research area

Digital humanities

Project description

The surveillance conducted by state and government, also known as "hard" surveillance, has been debated in both Parliament and the public. On the other hand, "soft" monitoring - concerning the use of this material by commercial and non-commercial actors and how the public relies on it - has been discussed to a lesser extent. That is what the iAccept project intends to study.

When we use services such as Facebook or Google, we allow that these companies may store information, adapt our content to it, transfer it to the United States, and disseminate it to third parties for promotion. This also applies to a variety of materials coming from our smartphones (including GPS information), credit and customer card usage, and action patterns on the internet. This, as an individual, can be perceived in different ways - that it is fully legitimate, or that it is considered to be an infringement of personal integrity.

The scope of available information, from a variety of sources that can be linked, makes it possible to interpret and analyze a person's actions, living patterns, relationships with other people, etc. And as we know, in the wake of the so-called Snowden affair, this information has also been used by security services and government agencies in several countries. However, such information is also used to a varying extent by other non-state actors.

In recent years, the surveillance discussion has been nuanced from the fact that it should only be seen from above, to be seen as something constantly present in all layers of society.

The project is based on three research questions:

1) How is this monitoring performed by (i) commercial and (ii) non-commercial actors? How do you reason and how do you legitimize your business?

2) How is the monitoring of (iii) the public and of (iv) resistance groups perceived? How do these groups act in relation to this type of monitoring?

3) What reasons and arguments are presented, for and against soft surveillance within and between these four groups? On what grounds is supervision considered legitimate or illegitimate.