Surveillance Arbitration in the Era of Digital Policing

In their latest article, published in Theoretical Criminology (29 October 2020), Professor Pete Fussey and Dr Ajay Sandhu analyse the adoption of innovative technology into police surveillance activities.   With the rapid growth of digital surveillance technologies, however, comes a potential ‘regulatory lag’ where the pace of emerging surveillance possibilities outstrips the capacity for regulators to provide meaningful oversight. This article focuses on these interstitial spaces: between accelerated surveillance possibility and the more ponderous emergence of regulatory controls. It is here that new police subjectivities, inference and discretion are argued to gain growing influence in shaping how digital surveillance technologies are used and how regulatory governance is enacted. As its core theme this article examines how digital policing involves a continual reinterpretation of regulations authored in the ‘pre-digital age’ to hitherto unanticipated cutting-edge technologies and their attendant possibilities.