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[liberationtech] CFP: Visual Data as Accountability, Resistance, and Surveillance

Bryce C Newell bcnewell at
Fri Aug 5 06:07:56 PDT 2016

This is a reminder that abstracts for the special issue of Law & Social
Inquiry on the theme of “Visual Data as Accountability, Resistance, and
Surveillance” are due August 10.

The full CFP follows:

*(with apologies for cross-posting)*
> *Call for Papers (abstracts due August 10, 2016)*
> *Visual Data as Accountability, Resistance, and Surveillance*
> For a special issue of *Law & Social Inquiry* (Journal links: Wiley
> <> *|* American
> Bar Foundation
> <>)
> Edited by: Sarah Brayne (UT-Austin), Karen E. C. Levy (Cornell), and Bryce
> Clayton Newell (Tilburg)
> *Overview*
> The capture, analysis, and dissemination of visual data—including video
> (with or without audio), photographs, and other visual recordings—has
> become ubiquitous. Facilitated by digitization, globalization, and the
> proliferation of mobile media, visual data is transforming the
> documentation of activities in a wide range of contexts, including
> policing, legal adjudication, war, human rights struggles, and civic
> action. Visual data is being collected by state actors and individual
> citizens, each often documenting the actions of the other. The use of this
> data as evidence (both inside and outside formal legal proceedings) raises
> significant issues related to privacy and ethics, authentication and
> credibility, interpretation, inequality, power, and legibility. Law is
> implicated at both the point of recording (or documentation) and during
> downstream activities, such as when recordings are shared or posted online,
> publicly disclosed under freedom of information laws, or introduced into
> evidence during legal proceedings.
> Different technologies afford different viewpoints. Visual data
> constitutes a unique form of information that presents emergent legal and
> policy questions because of its technical form and social effects. The
> mobilization of visual data can shape and reshape public opinion,
> representation, suppression, visibility, inequality, and admissibility of
> evidence; it can serve to incriminate or exonerate. Visual evidence can
> legitimize certain accounts of events while calling others into question.
> And, thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, more people can capture
> video and photographs than ever before, at a moment’s notice, simply by
> pulling out their phones—and can distribute them instantaneously, creating
> visual records of all types of behaviors and conflicts, from confrontations
> between citizens and police to political gaffes, from sex tapes to
> dashboard camera footage of traffic-related events. The recent adoption of
> police body cameras and the use of video by bystanders as a tool for
> inverse surveillance demonstrate our increasing reliance on video as a
> check on power, as well as a source of ostensible authority when accounts
> about “what really happened” are in conflict. At the same time, the crucial
> role of interpretation suggests video is not as much of an “objective
> observer” or independent witness as it is sometimes claimed to be, and
> visual evidence may have unforeseen implications for weighing evidence in
> civil or criminal cases—or in the court of public opinion.
> Permissive freedom of information laws in some jurisdictions have also led
> to recordings made by the police ending up on websites like
> YouTube—alongside myriad channels of police misconduct videos filmed by
> citizens. All of this footage increases the secondary visibility of those
> captured in recordings, and the video itself can also be analyzed as
> (potentially) a new form of big data. Audio and video streams contain
> biometric information that can be detected, analyzed, and compared against
> existing databases—while also adding new data to these databases in the
> process.
> The creation, dissemination, mediation, interpretation, and quantification
> of visual data are all fundamentally social processes. From citizen video
> of police (mis)conduct to the visual documentation of human rights abuses,
> the process of transforming material experience into digital evidence can
> facilitate accountability or resistance. These citizen-led forms of
> surveillance also function as forms of resistance to more panoptic forms of
> state-sponsored video collection and surveillance (e.g. camera-enabled
> drones, CCTV cameras). On the other hand, police-worn body cameras also act
> as an accountability mechanism, even though they face away from officers
> and collect evidence about—and document the conduct of—civilians. These
> forms of mobile, user-controlled cameras significantly alter earlier
> reliance on more static and passive video collection.
> As technological developments far outpace empirical research on—and legal
> regulation of—visual data, this special paper symposium in Law & Social
> Inquiry will provide an opportunity to highlight new empirical work with
> connections to law and policy, serve as a venue to build theory about a
> rapidly changing subject, and showcase research relevant to a variety of
> stakeholders—including lawyers, judges, law enforcement, legislators and
> policymakers, activists and civil and human rights organizations,
> technologists, and academics in a variety of fields.
> We welcome contributions that present original empirical research; offer
> conceptual, critical, or theoretical analyses; or address the unique legal,
> ethical, and policy questions implicated by visual documentation. We
> welcome scholarly contributions that come from—or that cross—academic
> disciplines such as sociology, law, information science, anthropology,
> science and technology studies, criminology, geography, communications and
> media studies, and computer science.
> *We encourage submissions addressing (but not limited to) such subjects
> as:*
>    - Body-worn cameras, dashcams, policing practices
>    - Citizen video/video as human rights advocacy
>    - Covert and overt recording
>    - Video as surveillance and sousveillance
>    - Resistance to and avoidance of audio or visual surveillance
>    - Design and regulation of audio or visual surveillance systems
>    - Unanticipated consequences of audio or visual records
>    - Use and interpretation of audio or video as evidence in legal
>    proceedings
>    - Data storage, access, and retention policies
>    - Algorithmic practices of metadata extraction from video content
>    - Image processing
>    - Technical means of privacy preservation and authentication
>    - Audio and video analytics and forensics
>    - Audio and video redaction and privacy concerns
>    - Live streaming
>    - Video/audio and public opinion
>    - Voyeurism, victimhood, and the ethics of viewing
>    - Affective aspects of video
>    - Embedding human values into the design of video-related technologies
>    or systems (e.g. value sensitive design or privacy by design)
>    - Implications for inequality
>    - Facial recognition or other forms of biometrics enabled by audio or
>    visual documentation and recording
> *Deadlines and anticipated timeline:*
>    -
> *Initial abstract submission deadline (~ 500 words): August 10, 2016  *
>    - Authors notified of (tentative) acceptance: August 30, 2016
>    - Full papers due (based on accepted abstracts): December 1, 2016
>    - Papers sent out for peer-review: mid-December, 2016
>    - Reviews returned to authors (with editorial decisions): expected,
>    Feb.-Mar. 2017
>    - Publication in 2017
> *Specifics about submissions:*
> Initial abstracts should contain approximately 500 words. Subsequent full
> paper submissions should contain fewer than 10,000 words (including
> footnotes and citations), and should contain a 200-word abstract and
> biographical information about the authors on a cover page. Invited full
> paper submissions will undergo formal double-blind peer review, which is
> expected to take between 1 and 3 months (submissions that are not selected
> for peer-review will be released back to the authors quickly). All
> submissions should be submitted in editable Word (*.doc/x) or *.rtf
> formats, and should adhere to the formatting and citation requirements of
> Law & Social Inquiry (available at
> lsi_author_guidelines.pdf).
> All submissions should be sent to the editors via email to
> LSIvisualdataspecialissue at Please do not submit to this special
> call via the regular Law & Social Inquiry journal submission portal.
> Additional questions may be sent to the editors at the same address.
> *--*
> *Bryce Clayton Newell, Ph.D., J.D.*
> Post-Doctoral Researcher
> Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)
> Tilburg University, Faculty of Law
> b.c.newell at | SSRN <> | @newmedialaw
> <>
> |
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