Webster CWR (2013) Surveillance as X-ray. In: Meijer A, Bannister F & Thaens M (eds.) ICT, Public Administration and Democracy in the Coming Decade. Innovation and the Public Sector, 20. Amsterdam: IOS Press, pp. 42-56. http://ebooks.iospress.nl/publication/33522
This article reflects on an emerging academic perspective of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) which places a consideration of ‘surveillance' at the heart of its analysis. It is argued, that a new ‘surveillance perspective' is becoming more prominent and that this perspective offers new and different insights into comprehending the nature of new and emergent technologies and their application in governmental and public service settings. The surveillance perspective offers the potential to provide x-ray vision, an approach which can be utilised to comprehend and ‘shine a light on' the surveillance implications of ICTs in modern society. In addition, to providing a fresh look at the implications of the way new ICTs are integrated into public administration the surveillance perspective allows us to make different judgements about the desirability, or otherwise, of the use of ICTs in public administration and society. Here the core argument is that the surveillance perspective provides a different type of insight, and an understanding of the use and implications of ICTs which is often missing from mainstream eGovernment studies. Implicit in this perspective is the view that our attitudes towards the use and usefulness of ICT applications may be different if we reflect on the surveillance consequences of their use.
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