At first glance it would seem that trust is in opposition to surveillance. Surveillance can be seen as an organized expression of distrust. And yet many European countries, which show remarkable levels of social trust between populace and governments (and vice versa), are nevertheless also characterized by high levels of surveillance. This indicates that the interaction between trust and surveillance may be quite complicated: Acceptance of surveillance may be contingent on trust. Surveillance as organized distrust may be a condition for trust in persons or institutions subjected to the surveillance. Some forms of surveillance may be regarded as evidencing a caring rather than distrusting stance and may thereby engender trust. Surveillance may (also) be seen as a sign of, and in turn engender, distrust. The term ‘surveillance’ applies to a wide variety of activities, based in different relationships, gathering different forms of data, employing various technologies, occurring in various settings, aimed at different goals, and affecting surveillors and surveilled, watchers and watched, in various ways.
We shall see through the track – not an exhaustive definition, but a starting point to build from, together with scholars interested in this topic to join us. We hope to draw and to use together a collaborative map that might serve as an orientation device for discovering linkages between trust and surveillance in STS, as for example distributed trust in peer-to-peer (P2P) infrastructures, a form of trust and surveillance constructed by and for the users. The point of this track is to pool our current knowledge/questions/research ideas, see how far we can already come towards answering our shared overall question, and see if we maybe even come away with a plan for a further STS network on Trust and Surveillance.
Deadline for Abstracts: 15 January 2016