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ID scanning, the media and the politics of urban surveillance in an Australian regional city

Palmer, Darren, Warren, Ian and Miller, Peter 2012, ID scanning, the media and the politics of urban surveillance in an Australian regional city, Surveillance & society, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 293-309.

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Title ID scanning, the media and the politics of urban surveillance in an Australian regional city
Author(s) Palmer, Darren
Warren, Ian
Miller, Peter
Journal name Surveillance & society
Volume number 9
Issue number 3
Start page 293
End page 309
Total pages 17
Publisher Surveillance Studies Network, Queens University
Place of publication Kingston Ont.
Publication date 2012-03-20
ISSN 1477-7487
Keyword(s) ID scanners
Geelong
Alcohol
Violence
Prevention
Media
Law Reform
Governmentality
Surveillance
Mass Surveillance
Crime Policy
Privacy
antisocial behaviour
normalisation
Summary Computerised ID scanning technologies have permeated many urban night-time economies in Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. This paper documents how one media organisation’s overt and tacit approval of ID scanners helped to normalise this form of surveillance as a precondition of entry into most licensed venues in the Australian city of Geelong. After outlining how processes of governance “from above” and “from below” interweave to generate distinct political and media demands for strategies to prevent localised crime problems, a chronological reconstruction of media reports over a three-and-a half year period demonstrates how ID scanning became the centrepiece of a holistic reform strategy to combat alcohol-related violence in this nightclub precinct. Several discursive techniques helped to normalise this “technological fix”, while suppressing critical discussion of viable concerns over information privacy, data security and system networking. These
included pairing reports of an initial “signal crime” with examples of “virtual victimhood” to stress the urgency of a radical surveillance-based response, which was supported by anecdotal statements from key “primary definers” highlighting the success of this initiative in targeting a wider population of antisocial “others”. The implications of these reporting practices are discussed in light of the media’s central role in reforming the Geelong night-time economy and broader trends in using novel surveillance technologies to combat urban crime problems at the expense of alternative measures that protect individual liberty.
Language eng
Field of Research 160299 Criminology not elsewhere classified
160204 Criminological Theories
160206 Private Policing and Security Services
Socio Economic Objective 940402 Crime Prevention
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2012, The Authors
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30043918

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.