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‘I am not a number’: Conceptualising identity in digital surveillance

Victoria Wang, John Tucker Orcid Logo

Technology in Society, Volume: 67, Start page: 101772

Swansea University Author: John Tucker Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Surveillance, now a commonplace phenomenon in everyday life, has been explored from various disciplines over three decades. Today's surveillance practices depend primarily upon many software technologies that collect, store and process personal data for the purposes of influence, management, pr...

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Published in: Technology in Society
ISSN: 0160-791X
Published: Elsevier BV 2021
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa58362
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first_indexed 2021-10-18T07:40:51Z
last_indexed 2022-02-15T04:26:47Z
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spelling 2022-02-14T14:25:15.4201776 v2 58362 2021-10-18 ‘I am not a number’: Conceptualising identity in digital surveillance 431b3060563ed44cc68c7056ece2f85e 0000-0003-4689-8760 John Tucker John Tucker true false 2021-10-18 SCS Surveillance, now a commonplace phenomenon in everyday life, has been explored from various disciplines over three decades. Today's surveillance practices depend primarily upon many software technologies that collect, store and process personal data for the purposes of influence, management, protection or detection. The identification and categorisation of data have thus emerged as the technical signature of surveillance. An individual has many identities belonging to different contexts of his/her life, but in this paper, we explore the relationship between surveillance and identity in virtual contexts only. We argue that an understanding of identity purely as data is fundamental to understanding surveillance. We propose abstract general definitions of surveillance and identity that together create a conceptual framework, capturing key features common to many disparate surveillance situations. Our work concludes that the essence of surveillance is that of a surveillance context, which is precisely and solely defined by the availability of data about the behaviour and identity of its entities. The data that distinguishes the entities of the context we call identifiers; we explore the creation, provenance, comparison and transformation of identifiers. Abstractly, surveillance is a process that tests for properties of data, and sorts identifiers into categories. Journal Article Technology in Society 67 101772 Elsevier BV 0160-791X Surveillance; Identifier; Monitoring; Software; Social sorting; Digital society 1 11 2021 2021-11-01 10.1016/j.techsoc.2021.101772 https://researchportal.port.ac.uk/en/publications/i-am-not-a-number-conceptualising-digital-identity-in-digital-sur Accepted author manuscript available at https://researchportal.port.ac.uk/en/publications/i-am-not-a-number-conceptualising-digital-identity-in-digital-sur COLLEGE NANME Computer Science COLLEGE CODE SCS Swansea University 2022-02-14T14:25:15.4201776 2021-10-18T08:40:02.7539351 College of Science Computer Science Victoria Wang 1 John Tucker 0000-0003-4689-8760 2
title ‘I am not a number’: Conceptualising identity in digital surveillance
spellingShingle ‘I am not a number’: Conceptualising identity in digital surveillance
John Tucker
title_short ‘I am not a number’: Conceptualising identity in digital surveillance
title_full ‘I am not a number’: Conceptualising identity in digital surveillance
title_fullStr ‘I am not a number’: Conceptualising identity in digital surveillance
title_full_unstemmed ‘I am not a number’: Conceptualising identity in digital surveillance
title_sort ‘I am not a number’: Conceptualising identity in digital surveillance
author_id_str_mv 431b3060563ed44cc68c7056ece2f85e
author_id_fullname_str_mv 431b3060563ed44cc68c7056ece2f85e_***_John Tucker
author John Tucker
author2 Victoria Wang
John Tucker
format Journal article
container_title Technology in Society
container_volume 67
container_start_page 101772
publishDate 2021
institution Swansea University
issn 0160-791X
doi_str_mv 10.1016/j.techsoc.2021.101772
publisher Elsevier BV
college_str College of Science
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hierarchy_top_id collegeofscience
hierarchy_top_title College of Science
hierarchy_parent_id collegeofscience
hierarchy_parent_title College of Science
department_str Computer Science{{{_:::_}}}College of Science{{{_:::_}}}Computer Science
url https://researchportal.port.ac.uk/en/publications/i-am-not-a-number-conceptualising-digital-identity-in-digital-sur
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description Surveillance, now a commonplace phenomenon in everyday life, has been explored from various disciplines over three decades. Today's surveillance practices depend primarily upon many software technologies that collect, store and process personal data for the purposes of influence, management, protection or detection. The identification and categorisation of data have thus emerged as the technical signature of surveillance. An individual has many identities belonging to different contexts of his/her life, but in this paper, we explore the relationship between surveillance and identity in virtual contexts only. We argue that an understanding of identity purely as data is fundamental to understanding surveillance. We propose abstract general definitions of surveillance and identity that together create a conceptual framework, capturing key features common to many disparate surveillance situations. Our work concludes that the essence of surveillance is that of a surveillance context, which is precisely and solely defined by the availability of data about the behaviour and identity of its entities. The data that distinguishes the entities of the context we call identifiers; we explore the creation, provenance, comparison and transformation of identifiers. Abstractly, surveillance is a process that tests for properties of data, and sorts identifiers into categories.
published_date 2021-11-01T04:33:18Z
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