Miranda D (2022) Book Review Police Visibility: Privacy, Surveillance, and the False Promise of Body-Worn Cameras. Review of: Police Visibility: Privacy, Surveillance, and the False Promise of Body-Worn Cameras, Bryce Clayton Newell (2021), University of California Press. 260 pp. ISBN: 9780520382909. Information Polity, 27 (2), pp. 305-308. https://doi.org/10.3233/ip-229004
First paragraph: “Civilizing police-citizen interaction” has been the main motivation to implement BWCs (particularly in the US). However, as argued by Bryce Clayton Newell, despite the association of body-worn cameras (BWCs) to notions of police accountability and transparency, these technologies also “sparked outrage” and have increased police power and police-citizen divisions (p. 1). ‘Police Visibility’ is a much well-needed reflective book that deconstructs common ‘pro-camera’ narratives focused on BWCs as accountability and transparency tools to “the benefit of the public”. As stated by Newell, “in practice (…) these cameras serve the coercive aims of the state” (p. 2). By challenging common conceptions of BWCs as objective and transparent, the author develops an argument on how to regulate these cameras and their footage. From limiting the potential for BWCs to increase police power to enhancing access to information by the public, there is a focus in the book on the need for regulation of police surveillance powers. This analysis is supported by theories of freedom and the notion of “antipower” (Pettit, 1996) that situate these cameras as potentially leading to state domination. Indeed, the adoption of BWCs is “largely about the state managing its image and controlling its visibility to the public” (p. 15).
Public Administration; Sociology and Political Science; Communication; Information Systems
Information Polity: Volume 27, Issue 2
|Funders||ESRC Economic and Social Research Council|
|Publication date online||06/06/2022|
|Date accepted by journal||24/03/2022|
|Item discussed||Police Visibility: Privacy, Surveillance, and the False Promise of Body-Worn Cameras, Bryce Clayton Newell (2021), University of California Press. 260 pp. ISBN: 9780520382909|