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People's strategies for perceived surveillance in Amsterdam Smart City

: Jameson, S.; Richter, C.; Taylor, L.


Urban geography 40 (2019), No.10, pp.1467-1484
ISSN: 1938-2847
ISSN: 1938-2847
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IMW ()

In this paper, we investigate people’s perception of datafication and surveillance in Amsterdam Smart City. Based on a series of focus groups, we show how people understand new forms of hypervisbility, what strategies they use to navigate these experiences, and what the limitations of these strategies are. We show how people tried to discern between public and private sector actors, to differentiate who they trusted by building on the existing social contract. People also trusted the objectivity of data in relation to prior experiences of social contexts and discrimination. Lastly, we show how the experiences of some of the inhabitants in our study who were most vulnerable to hypervisibility highlight the limits to strategies based on the neutrality of data. By asking about perceived surveillance rather than emphasising actual practices of surveilling, we show differentiated contexts and strategies, providing empirical grounds to question the dominant technical framing of smart cities.