Printed from the Society, Religion and Technology Project website:

Surveillance and Social Justice May 2017

image Published: Sep 06, 2017

Surveillance is not simply an activity of the security and intelligences services – as portrayed in the 007 or Bourne movies. Data-management is integral to, for example, identifying who needs to be supported through social welfare benefits. At the same time, surveillance systems can be almost insurmountable hurdles against receiving the benefits to which one is entitled. Ken Loach’s film, I Daniel Blake, tells a story which, although disputed by the government, many people testify to being an apt description of the injustices they face.

Experiencing surveillance can be quite different for people of colour than those who, because white, are considered generally to be less of a risk. Muslims, or people ‘looking Muslim’ encounter discriminatory surveillance in ways that are bound up political agendas and public misperceptions. This report focuses on three particular areas: bio-data in medical research, borders where people are required to identify themselves, and the bureaucracy of the benefits system.

Using the idea of ‘surveillance from the Cross of Christ’, we reflect on re-orientating surveillance in the light of God’s relational way of knowing, and what that might mean for treating privacy as a gift for human dignity and flourishing. It is hoped the report will stimulate Christians who are both subjects and professional users of surveillance to affirm and challenge its value.

Surveillance and Social Justice - May 2017

Section 1. Introduction
Section 2. Rationale
Section 3. Aims
Section 4. Surveillance from the Data-centre
Section 5. Theories of surveillance
Section 6. Datafication
Section 7. Security
Section 8. Risk and mistaken public perception
Section 9. Convenience and privacy
Section 10. Surveillance from the Cross
Section 11. The Surveilled and Surveilling One
Section 12. Relational knowledge
Section 13. Privacy as a gift for dignity
Section 14. Visibility
Section 15. Bio-data, Borders and Benefits
Section 16. Bio-data
Section 17. Borders
Section 18. Welfare Benefits
Section 19. Conclusion
General Assembly Deliverances

View the full report here

Printed from on Fri, August 17, 2018
© The Church of Scotland 2018