Digital Surveillance Technologies: geographies of the surveillant present during the pandemic. The Italian case

Authors: Valentina Erminia Albanese*, University of Bologna
Topics: Political Geography, Europe, Social Geography
Keywords: Digital Surveillance Technologies,
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 11
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the past decades digital technologies are being exploited to augment and supplement traditional measures employed to tracing people behaviour.
This study aims to assess the current field of the surveillance present and the age of surveillance capitalism with its contradictions. The main focus is about the Italian technology solutions deployed to tackle the spread of COVID-19. On the one hand, the discussion analyses the very complex stratification of public and private spaces producing new spatialities during the pandemic. On the other hand, the research also explores the interaction between the procedures shaped by the Italian surveillance technologies implemented to discipline (i.g. social distances) and control (i.g. prescribing spatial behavior) forms of governmentality.
After a preliminary analysis of EU surveillance technologies deployed in connection with COVID-19 and their biopolitical power in a current state of exception, where customary rights are suspended and measures are forced as legitimate actions of good government for collective benefit, the project examines the case of Italy. In Italy, the technology solutions deployed to trace the virus has shown that their utility has been oversold forcing some healthy people into quarantine. The paper uses a dual perspective: 1. a biopolitical perspective due to the digital divide, involved in the analysis of the Italian tracing policies; 2. a data justice perspective, embedded in the state of exception focused on the data’s age.
The final goal is to provide a deep reflection on the increasing loss of privacy and the debate between civil liberties and public health.

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