Research results published in IJoC: Special Section on Digital Citizenship & Surveillance

The International Journal of Communication has published a Special Section on “Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society”. The Section includes articles from the project research teams in which they summarize and discuss their research results. It also includes contributions by renowned scholars and prominent activists who elaborate on key issues regarding surveillance, digital citizenship, and the Snowden revelations.

The Special Section is part of Volume 11 of the journal and can be found here:


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Reviewing the IP Bill development process – new blog post in Open Democracy

As 2016 draws to a close, DCSS project members Arne Hintz and Lina Dencik look back at the recently adopted Investigatory Powers Act and explain how this new surveillance law came about. They draw from DCSS research results on how different stakeholders viewed the new law, how the media reported on surveillance and how the public viewed omnipresent data collection.

Expanding state power in times of ‘surveillance realism’: how the UK got a ‘world-leading’ surveillance law

Journal articles on surveillance policy, media coverage and data justice

As the project team is preparing two special issues in the journals International Journal of Communication and Digital Journalism, a few articles that draw from project results on surveillance policy, digital rights activism and journalism have appeared in other journals. They include:

Towards Data Justice? The ambiguity of anti-surveillance resistance in political activism. Big Data & Society.

The politics of surveillance policy: UK regulatory dynamics after Snowden. Internet Policy Review.

Explicit terror prevention versus vague civil liberty: how the UK broadcasting news (de)legitimatise online mass surveillance since Edward Snowden’s revelations. Information, Communication & Society.

DCSS project panel at Surveillance & Society Conference

Members of the project team are currently at the 7th Surveillance & Society conference in Barcelona and will hold a panel to present the project results on Saturday 23 April.

The panel will include presentations on each of the four research streams and discuss findings by each research group:

Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society: State-Media-Citizen Relations After the Snowden Leaks
SSN2016 Conference, Saturday 23 April, 9am, room 404

The Normalisation of Surveillance in Media Coverage: Newspaper and Blog Discourses After Snowden
Karin Wahl-Jorgensen

The Advent of Surveillance Realism: Public Opinion and Activist Responses to the Snowden Leaks
Lina Dencik

The Snowden Disclosures, Technical Standards and the Making of Surveillance Infrastructures
Grace Eden

Enabling Digital Citizenship? The Reshaping of Surveillance Policy After Snowden
Arne Hintz

Project results presented at privacy/surveillance conferences

As the research of the ‘Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society’ is coming to a close, we are presenting snapshots of our research results at privacy and surveillance conferences. On Wednesday, 20 April, Arne Hintz will discuss the project findings at the IAPP conference in London, a forum of privacy professionals and data security experts. After that, members of the project team will attend the 7th Surveillance & Society conference in Barcelona and will hold a panel to present the project results on Saturday 23 April.

DCSS Project Discussed at Guardian Privacy Forum

Preliminary findings from the project ‘Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society’ were presented and discussed at the Guardian Privacy Forum at the Guardian News & Media offices in London on Monday 14 September. Three of the project investigators – Dr Arne Hintz, Dr Lina Dencik and Prof Karin Wahl-Jorgensen – presented results from the workstreams that deal with the media coverage of surveillance and with public knowledge and civil society reactions. Drawing from their content analysis, focus groups and interviews, they highlighted the inadequate nature of media coverage and the powerlessness of users who, while being concerned about surveillance, do not know how to address and resist it. An audience of journalists, privacy officers and lawyers reviewed and discussed the research findings.

DCSSproject at the Data Power conference

New week, new conference…  After the successful conference ‘Surveillance and Citizenship’ last week in Cardiff, parts of the DCSS project were presented at the ‘Data Power’ conference in Sheffield today. Lina Dencik analysed findings from the ‘civil society’ stream of the project and argued that issues around surveillance should be incorporated into broader political, economic and social concerns.

‘Surveillance and Citizenship’ Conference

Over 100 international experts from academia, civil society and technology met in Cardiff on Thursday and Friday, 18-19 June, to discuss the implications of the Snowden revelations two years after they started to be published, as well as the current state of surveillance. More information about the conference is available here: Pictures and reports will be uploaded soon.

Anderson Report highlights the problem of surveillance powers in the UK

David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, published a major report today in which he criticised UK surveillance laws as ‘fragmented’, ‘obscure’, ‘undemocratic’ and ‘intolerable’. Dr Arne Hintz from the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC) said the report “does not reject mass surveillance per se but demands legal safeguards that are much more rigid than current practices.” He noted: “This will affect the government’s plans for a new Communications Data Bill, also called the ‘Snooper’s Charter’, as it calls for a serious review of both authorisation and oversight of surveillance capabilities, and thus for a reform of Britain’s surveillance legislation.”

Dr Hintz leads an 18-month research project ‘Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society’ at Cardiff University that investigates the implications of the Snowden revelations on mass surveillance. As part of this project, Cardiff University will host a major conference on 18-19 June – ‘Surveillance and Citizenship’ – that will bring together leading international scholars and campaigners. It will be an opportunity for researchers and advocates to review and discuss the Anderson Report as well as the new government’s plans for the Communications Data Bill.

Dr Lina Dencik, a Cardiff University researcher working on the same project, said: “The Report confirms important findings from our research. We have found that the lack of transparency surrounding the level of state surveillance and the way it is being conducted remains a major concern amongst the British public. People want to know why and how their personal data is being collected and used, and what legal safeguards exist. This is central at a time when one of the first acts of the newly elected Conservative government has been to increase the surveillance powers of intelligence agencies at the same time as withholding the publication of annual transparency reports on the security services as initiated under the coalition government.”

Anderson Report:

Response by Privacy International: / Response by the ‘Don’t Spy On Us’ network:

Conference ‘Surveillance and Citizenship’:

‘In an Age of Surveillance’ – DCSS Project presented at the Hay Festival

Arne Hintz, Lina Dencik and Joe Cable discussed internet surveillance and the project ‘Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society’ at the Hay Book Festival in Hay on Wye on Friday 22nd May. Drawing from preliminary research findings, they summarised key Snowden leaks and the debates and broader issues that the leaks have raised. They addressed the transformations of online communication, the role of civic rights in a context of security, and national and international responses to the Snowden leaks. Further, they unpacked prominent discourses and justifications for surveillance, such as notion that ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about’. They reviewed the media coverage of surveillance and the Snowden revelations, and discussed the level of public knowledge of, and civil society reactions to the leaks.

The 1-hour talk had to be moved to a larger venue due to high demand for tickets. It was the most recent of several talks which project members held about both surveillance and the DCSS project in particular, including presentations at the universities in Bournemouth, Hull and Cardiff.