Surveillance policies and reforms are not passive acts, rather they are situated within a history of racialized and gendered violence that has spearheaded the rise of the prison industrial complex by allowing the government to track ‘suspect’ populations
Mason & Magnet 12 [Corinne Lysandra, and Shoshana Magnet. "Surveillance studies and violence against women."surveillance & society10, no. 2 (2012): 105-118.]
While individual privacyconcerns mount, the prison system has found new surveillance technologies advantageous. In fact, the development of new technologies in North America historicallyhas been due to, as well as has benefited, the prison industrial complex.From fingerprinting to bertillonage (Cole 2001), photography (Lalvani 1996) and biometrics (Murray 2007; Gates 2011; Pugliese 2005; Magnet and Dubrofsky, under contract), the organization of information on criminalized individuals through complex data control systems have critically shaped police surveillance practices historically (Magnet and Gates 2009: 5; Laudon 1986). More recently, the inclusion of social media tools such as Facebook and MySpace are increasingly incorporated into police surveillance practices. Police now ask the public to upload photos and videos taken with personal cameras, smartphones and cellular phones and then use these documents to arrest citizens. One example is found in the case of the Stanley Cup looting in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2011. Following the riot, videos and photos taken by ordinary citizens on their cell phones were used to make arrests (CBC 2011). Videos uploaded onto YouTube have also been used by the police to arrest individuals who have taken part in criminalized activities (Telegraph 2009). Of course, the development of these new surveillance technologies––many of which were refined in the prison system and then expanded for use on non-criminalized consumers (Cole 2001; Magnet and Dubrofsky, under contract) must be grounded in the expansion in the prison industrial complex (Sudbury 2005). The increase in the U.S. prison system is well documented (Davis 1981; David and James 1998; Davis 2003, 2005; Garland 2001a, 2001b; Sudbury 2005; Gilmore 2007). 2 Including the transformation of rehabilitation programmes to punishment in the 1970s (Gilmore 2007) and additionally resulting from 3 strikes laws, truth in sentencing initiatives, the war on drugs (Cole 2007, Roberts 2001), and the criminalization of immigration (‘crimmigration’), the swelling of prison populations is a shocking example of the warehousing of the poor. Prison populations have grown from 200,000 in the late 1960s to more than 2 million (Davis 2003). As many have argued, the prison industrial complex is an engine of inequality through the disproportionate incarceration of both poor people and people of colour (Cole 2001; Smith 2008; Davis 2003; Razack 2002). Prison abolitionist Julia Sudbury reminds us that, in the United States, 1 million African Americans are behind bars (Sudbury 2004). When one looks to the war on drugs, despite the fact that studies find little difference between drug use in people of colour and white people (Webb 2009), over two thirds of those in prison or jail for drugs are people of colour (Cole 2007). Nor can we disregard gender in theorizing inequality in the prison system. In keeping with worldwide trends in which poor racialized women and women with mental health disabilities are the fastest growing groups to be incarcerated (CAEFS 2004), in the U.S., African American women are now the fastest growing prison population, having outpaced African American men (Davis 2003). 3 The incarceration of poor women must be placed alongside the dismantling of the welfare state. The elimination of welfare programmes like Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)causes women to seek out criminalized forms of employment so that they can afford food and housing. Particularly relevant for this article is the ways in which sexual, emotional, and physical violence also propel women into the prison system (CAEFS 2004). As women flee abusive situations, the lack of a social safety net means they may turn to criminalized behaviour such as sex work and the drug trade in order to meet their most basic subsistence needs (Sudbury 2005; Davis 2003). Queer people fleeing homophobic abuse and harassment in their homes, schools, and workplaces render LGBTQ folks vulnerable to the prison industrial complex. As Beth Richie’s study of young, black lesbians shows, the relationship between homophobia and sexual harassment places queer women at increased risk of violence (2005), and violence is a well-known factor that leads to women’s engagement in activities deemed illegal by the state. 4 Surveillance technologies are both produced by as well as part of the expansion of the prison industrial complex. New surveillance features including the time and date stamps we described above can be used to make arrests. Technology producers and marketers assert that surveillance features like those found on the iPhone are important security measures. If they reference violence against women at all, companies selling these products argue that these surveillance features will help institutions like the police to catch perpetrators of violent crimes. For example, according to iPhone hacker and data-forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski, the iPhone’s ability to take a screen snapshot and save it is a personal privacy ‘flaw’. However, he and others argue that this in fact can become useful to the prison system since users cannot permanently delete information, and, as a result, storage forensics experts have used the ‘flaw to gather evidence against criminals convicted of rape, murder or drug deals’ (Chen 2008). In this way, although mainstream media represent surveillance technologies as carrying risks for consumers, they are simultaneously represented as necessary evils. For example, in the popular crime show Criminal Minds, the dangers of surveillance to individual privacy are referenced, but the overall message remains that these technologies help to keep us safer. In a two-part episode entitled ‘The Big Game’ and ‘Revelations’ (2007), a techie-turned-murderer accesses computers remotely to fix issues such as sound control, but then maintains access to internal webcams after the service is completed using a Trojan horse virus. Watching women in particular, the murderer observes his victims through the webcam and then allows the videos of his murders to ‘go viral’. While the surveillance of victims is depicted as a breach of their privacy, it is the videos captured through webcams that lead the FBI to the murderer’s capture and arrest. This fictional show parallels a case in Toronto, Canada in which a young woman attending York University was killed while her boyfriend in China watched part of the women’s struggle with her assaulter via a webcam (Sympatico News 2011). In online commentary on Sympatico News, a user claimed that this was ‘life imitating art’ since an episode of crime show CSI: New York followed a similar story line. The police began their investigation by attempting to uncover the streamed video and ultimately charged a York University student with her murder (Rush 2011). Of course, these technologiesdid not help to save this young woman’s life. Nor did they help to address the ongoing systemic issue of violence against women. Instead, they became the vehicle by which the police could assert that violence on campus had been addressed since this one ‘bad apple’ violent student was caught. The approach to perpetrators of violence as ‘bad apples’ is a familiar strategy: one that helps to distract attention from solutions aimed at addressing the systemic nature of violence as well as its gendered and racialized nature. 5 In suggesting that these new technologies saved the day by helping to catch one perpetrator, the media offers limited critiques of new surveillance technologies while simultaneously ‘naturalizing their expansion’ (Magnet and Gates 2009: 7). That is, in popular TV shows and news media, surveillance technologies are understood as producing privacy breaches that are justified as a result of their helpfulness in police investigations. This is well captured in the commentary of forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski. Arguing that these technologies do produce ‘significant privacy leak[s]’, he asserts that they remain important tools since ‘at the same time [they’ve] been useful for investigating criminals’ (Chen 2008). For feminist surveillance studies scholars, surveillance technologies pose more complex questions than ‘are they good or bad?’We argue that the relationship of surveillance technologies to their social context and the ways that technologies reproduce and exacerbate social inequalities must be examined. In particular, while surveillance technologies may be useful to police enforcement, more policing practices results in the strengthening of a prison system that continues to overincarcerate women who are victims of violence––and particularly targets women of colour, women with disabilities and queer women for incarceration. Given the role of the prison system as an engine of inequality, we must call into question the assertion that improving intensifying existing connection between anti-violence movements, surveillance technologies, and the police is necessarily positive. Rather, we must ask: what is the impact of deepening connections between anti-violence advocacy, new technologies of surveillance and the prison industrial complex? Connections between anti-violence movements and the prison system have historically been and remain deeply problematic. For anti-violence advocates, the ‘criminalization of violence against women’ has impacted individual safety tactics and community organizing. According to the INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence collective (2006), the movement from grassroots organizing to ‘professional’ shelters has meant that the mainstream anti-violence movement is reluctant to challenge institutionalized violence (Smith et al. 2006: 1). The move to government funding regimes in the U.S. and Canada are coupled to an increased reliance on the prison system. According to Smith et al. (2006), the anti-violence movement is ‘working with the state, instead of against state violence’ (1). The criminal justice system often simply brings many survivors of violence into conflict with the law (INCITE! 2006). In addition to those noted above, mandatory arrest laws in the U.S. and Canada have meant that women who call police for protection are often also arrested. A New York-based study complied in 2001 found that a majority (66 per cent) of domestic violence survivors who were arrested alongside their abuser, or arrested as a result of a complaint lodged by their abuser, were African American or Latina/o, 43 per cent were living below the poverty line and 19 per cent were receiving public assistance. Lesbian survivors are also frequently arrested alongside their abuser since law enforcement officers frame violence within same-sex relationships as ‘mutual combat’(Ritchie 2006: 140). Individuals perceived to be transgressing gender norms are often subject to excessive force upon arrest (Ritchie 2006: 143). Furthermore, undocumented women who have reported violence have often found themselves deported (Ritchie 2006: 151). To be sure, Canadian women’s shelters have been raided by the Canadian Border Services Agency in order to deport ‘illegal’ immigrants (No One Is Illegal 2011). Given the complex relationship of women of colour, indigenous women, poor women, queer folks, immigrants, sex workers and other women vulnerable to being criminalized by the justice system, the assumption that surveillance measures can provide protection to VAW victims is problematic. In particular, surveillance technologies that deepen existing links to the prison industrial complex pose problems for victims and anti-violence advocates. While anti-violence advocates may see potential in surveillance technologies such as home security and surveillance systems, reliance on the criminal justice system for both funding and protection can impact their utility for survivors of violence. According to Römkens’ (2006) research on a surveillance project entitled AWARE (Abused Women’s Active Response Emergency) implemented in the Netherlands, U.S. and Canada, the reliance on the criminal justice system can adversely affect its usefulness for victims. For example, the AWARE programme aims to protect and support victims of stalking, as well as restrain perpetrators through arrest using electronic safety technologies. If an abuser threatens an individual, the victim can set off an alarm by pushing a button in the house or on a pendant that the victim wears. By pushing the button, the police are immediately notified and sent to the house. However, a victim only met the criteria for the programme if she had previously asked the police for help (for example, by obtaining a protection order) or if she was willing to press charges (Römkens 2006: 116). Given the reliance on the criminalization of abusers to enter the programme, it is clear that the AWARE programme is geared towards meeting the needs of the police rather than solely preoccupied with women’s safety. Pro-arrest policies and mandatory arrest laws beginning in the 1980s in the U.S. clearly demonstrate that the prison system can often undermine women’s autonomy and actively disempowers them from choosing a trajectory for justice based on their own interests and wishes (Römkens 2006: 166). In her case study on AWARE in the Netherlands, Römkens found that women were reluctant to use the alarm, especially when it was an ex-partner that they would be involving in the criminal justice system. The women she interviewed suggested that they could not control the amount of punishment that police would inflict on their abuser. For one woman, the fact that one had to make a swift decision to press the button when an abuser appeared proved to be very difficult (174-75). Moreover, many women were afraid to press the button due to fear that the police would not take them seriously if their abuser was ‘just there’ and was not ‘doing anything’ (175). In the Dutch study, and a pilot study in Brooklyn, New York, Römkens found that victims avoided the direct use of surveillance systems in order to avoid a ‘criminal justice outcome’ (178). Althoughsurveillance technologies may have the potential to provide safety for victims of violence, a complicated relationship between VAW and surveillance arises when technologies of protection are directly linked into the prison system. While mainstream anti-violence advocates continue to rely on government funding and state-based responses to violence, alternative tactics around ending violence must consider the ways that particular bodies are already entangled in systems of surveillance.
Surveillance relies on the logic of visibility and invisibility that seeks to make non-whites hyper-visible as deviant and in need of western evolution—the impact is the violent erasure of sexual and racial difference
Smith 2015 [Andrea an intellectual, feminist, and anti-violence activist. Smith's work focuses on issues of violence against women of color and their communities, specifically Native American women. A co-founder of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, the Boarding School Healing Project, and the Chicago chapter of Women of All Red Nations, Smith centers the experiences of women of color in both her activism and her scholarship. Formerly an assistant professor of American Culture and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Smith is currently an associate professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside.. "Not-Seeing." Feminist Surveillance Studies (2015): 21-38..//KHS]
Settler colonialism fundamentally relies on a logic of not-seeing. In particular, on a not-seeing of the indigenous people’s lands in order to allow their colonial takeover.Terra nullius, the legal justification used for the expropriation of indigenous land in Australia and elsewhere—or to use the Zionist justification for Palestinian expulsion, “a land without a people for a people without a land”—is premised on the not-seeing of peoples already there. Within the United States, this expropriation relied on the “doctrine of discovery.” As outlined in the case Johnson v. McIntosh (1823), “Discovery is the foundation of title, in European nations, and this overlooks all proprietary rights in the natives.” “Discovery” necessarily rests on the absence of native peoples, who would otherwise be the actual “discoverers” of their lands. And, as Robert Williams (2005) notes, U.S. jurisprudence has never renounced the doctrine of discovery on which Indian case law is based. Consequently, the colonial project is a somewhat precarious project of disappearing the peoples that it cannot see—a genocide that must disavow itself. As Sarita See argues, “If the history of the American empire is defined by forgetting, its aesthetic is structured by double disavowal. According to the New World aesthetic, it seems possible to erase the erasure of the past” (2009, 66). Thus, the strategies of surveillance are always simultaneously not just about what can be seen, but about disappearing from view that which delegitimizes the state itself.What must not be seen is not only the peoples themselves, but the forms of governance and ways of life that they represent. Gender violence is a central strategy of settler colonialism and white supremacy. Colonizers did not just kill off indigenous peoples in this land: native massacres were always accompanied by sexual mutilation and rape. The goal of colonialism is not just to kill colonized peoples, but to destroy their sense of being people (A. Smith 2005a). The generally nonpatriarchal and nonhierarchical nature of many native communities posed a threat to European patriarchal societies. Consequently, when colonists first came to this land, they saw the necessity of instilling patriarchy in native communities, for they realized that indigenous peoples would not accept colonial domination if their own indigenous societies were not structured on the basis of social hierarchies. Patriarchy rests on a genderbinary system; hence, it is no coincidence that colonizers also targeted indigenous peoples who did not fit within this binary model. Gender violence thus inscribed patriarchy onto the bodies of native peoples, naturalizing social hierarchies and colonial domination. The imposition of heteropatriarchy serves not only to secure colonial domination for indigenous peoples, but also to secure patriarchy within the colonizing society against the threats of the alternative governance structures that indigenous societies represent. It is noteworthy that the high status of women and the relatively peaceful nature of many native societies did not escape the notice of white peoples, in particular of white women (A. Smith 2005b).2 A society based on domination, hierarchy, and violence works only when it seems natural or inevitable. Given an alternative, peoples will generally choose not to live under violent conditions. The demonization of native societies, as well as their resulting destruction, was necessary to securing the “inevitability” of patriarchy within colonial societies. Again, the colonialist surveillance of native bodies served the simultaneous purposes of making them visible to the state while at the same time making invisible the threat to the settler state posed by indigenous governance. To further remove the threats that indigenous governance systems posed to settler societies, the problem resulting from this colonial disease was relocated from a patriarchal and violent settler state to the “Indian” problem. As Wolfe (1999) notes, the more gender-egalitarian nature of some indigenous societies became anthropologically marked as the sign of their unevolved, premodern status. By adopting patriarchy, colonialists speculated, native peoples might evolve toward “humanity” and “civilization.” Native peoples were to be bureaucratically managed through allotment processes, church- and government-run boarding schools, and government-run health programs, among other strategies to facilitate their ascension to humanity. While courts often held that native peoples were potential citizens with the right to vote—unlike African Americans in the antebellum period—such potential could be realized, from the colonialist perspective, only when those peoples mature out of their status as native. In addition, native peoples’ were generally assigned the legal status of children, deemed legally incompetent to handle their own affairs and thus legally marked as “nonworkers.” Native peoples’ pathway to citizenship thus depended on their maturation into adult (i.e., white) workers. Thus, native peoples’ acquisition of citizenship and voting rights was framed as a reward for proving their ability to work. In 1887 the Dawes Allotment Act divided native lands into individual allotments of 80–160 acres. The federal government then expropriated the remaining surplus lands. Native peoples were given fees in trust for twenty-five years, until deemed “competent” by the secretary of the interior. They could then obtain fee patents enabling them to sell their lands. The rationale for this policy was that the practice of communal land ownership among native peoples was discouraging them from working the land. In the 1887 Indian commissioner’s report, J. D. C. Atkins explains the need for allotment: Take the most prosperous and energetic community in the most enterprising section of our country—New England; give them their lands in common, furnish them annuities of food and clothing, send them teachers to teach their children, preachers to preach the gospel, farmers to till their lands, and physicians to heal their sick, and I predict that in a few years, a generation or two at most, their manhood would be smothered. . . . This pauperizing policy above outlined was, however, to some extent necessary at the beginning of our efforts to civilize the savage Indian. He was taken a hostile barbarian, his tomahawk red with the blood of the pioneer; he was too wild to know any of the arts of civilization. . . . Hence some such policy had to resort to settle the nomadic Indian and place him under control. This policy was a tentative one. . . . Now, as fast as any tribe becomes sufficiently civilized and can be turned loose and put upon its own footing, it should be done. Agriculture and education will gradually do this work and finally enable the Government to leave the Indian to stand alone. (Report of the Secretary of the Interior 1887, n.p.) The report warns that allotment will not work overnight: “Idleness, improvidence, ignorance, and superstition cannot by law be transformed into industry, thrift, intelligence, and Christianity speedily” (ibid., 4). Consequently, surveillance practices were essential, in order to instill normalizing discipline as a means to forcibly absorb native peoples into the colonial state. This pathway toward civilization required native peoples to adapt to a capitalist work model. The commissioner’s report further explained how work could save native peoples from barbarism. It must be apparent . . . that the system of gathering the Indians in bands or tribes on reservations[,] . . . thus relieving them of the necessity of labor, never will and never can civilize them. Labor is an essential element in producing civilization. . . . The greatest kindness the government can bestow upon the Indian is to teach him to labor for his own support, thus developing his true manhood, and, as a consequence, making him self-relying and self-supporting. (ibid., 6–7) Thus, through the careful policing and monitoring of native social structures, it would be possible to save native peoples from themselves, as well as to absorb them into colonial whiteness. Despite these civilizational strategies, native peoples never seemed to attain humanity. Homi Bhabha (1997) and Edward Said (1994) argue that the colonization process involves partially assimilating the colonized in order to establish colonial rule. If the colonized group were to remain completely different from the colonists, it would implicitly challenge the supremacy of colonial rule, by introducing questions around whether the way colonizers live is the only way to live. Hence, in order to preserve the cultural ideals of the colonizers, the colonized had to resemble the colonists—but only partially, for if the colonized were to be completely assimilated, they would be equal to the colonists, and there would be no reason to continue to colonize them. In this way, the promised assimilation was never total or complete, which created a permanent colonial anxiety with respect to the indigenous peoples who were to be absorbed. As Kevin Bruyneel contends, advocacy for bestowing full citizenship on native peoples soon gave way to notions of a more qualified citizenship, as native peoples were deemed to be civilizing too slowly. Because of native peoples’ imposed ontological status as children, they were never considered mature enough to earn full independence from their colonial fathers (Bruyneel 2004, 3).
The alternative is to reject state surveillance
We must embrace an intersectional understanding of surveillance technologies that problematizes it’s coupling with legal apparatuses that disproportionately affect women of color
Mason & Magnet 12 [Corinne Lysandra, and Shoshana Magnet. "Surveillance studies and violence against women."surveillance & society10, no. 2 (2012): 105-118.]
It is a difficult task to critique surveillance technologies aimed at ensuring women’s safety against abusers. When made visible as anti-violence tools, technologies of surveillance appear to be uncontroversial to a range of actors. Certainly, women’s safety is a priority for feminists, as is ending violence practices. Yet, the widespread promotion of surveillance tools for anti-violence means must be challenged.By overlooking the complex ways that surveillance practices and technologies are entrenched within the prison industrial complex, one might miss key challenges that surveillance technologies pose to anti-violence strategies. Whether it is smartphones, iPhone applications, Google maps, or home surveillance, feminist surveillance studies scholars must investigate the ways that existing inequalities may be exacerbated by their use. The surveillance technologies that are offered to women as safety measures, such as cell phones, smartphone applications, internet-browsing safety and home security systems, are all targeted toward interpersonal violence.Mainstream and criminalized understandings of VAW wrongfully assume that violence is perpetrated by individual abusers who must be incarcerated. Anti-violence advocates including Andrea Smith (2008) and Angela Davis (2003, 2005) remind us that the prison industrial complex has done little to promote anti-violence strategies.Rather than examining the widespread, systemic nature of violence against women, instead, the prison industrial complex has simply incarcerated ever-growing numbers of people––particularly indigenous people and people of colour. Moreover, it is well studied that violence in the prison system only continues the cycle of violence, as abusers are incarcerated, treated violently in the prison system, and then released (Gilligan 2000). In fact, radical anti-violence activists argue that prison abolition must be a part of any violence strategy in order to interrupt this cycle of violence, a conclusion with which we heartily concur. Practices of violence must always be connected to systems of power and domination, including state-perpetrated racist and sexist violence. Unfortunately, much of the literature on surveillance technologies has focused on individual acts of stalking and control. Of course, feminist literature on the subject of technology and stalking is important. However, in order to understand how surveillance affects the perpetration of violence and influences tactics to end violence practices, feminists must think more broadly and intersectionally about VAW and the connections between surveillance, sexism, racism, and the prison system. Importantly, the surveillance of vulnerable bodies by the state, policing services and even social service providers disproportionately target marginalized and exploited communities. In recent years, feminist and critical race explorations of policing and surveillance have necessarily included the experiences of Arab, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Muslim men and women. While such racialized bodies have always been targeted in white supremacist nations, post-9/11 security rhetoric around national security has helped to shore up surveillance measures. While honour killings, forced marriages, polygamy and dowry-related murders have received increased and disproportionate media attention in the U.S. and Canadian media since 9/11, mainstream conceptions of violence against women of colour are rarely inclusive of harassment, racist violence and sexual abuse at home and abroad at the hands of military and law enforcement agencies (Ritchie 2006: 139). Such violent crimes against women are insufficiently attended to in mainstream anti-violence strategies, and technologies aimed at women’s safety may intensify the surveillance and further criminalization of particular communities. Surveillance ‘flaws’ such as those found in iPhones and iPads are used by the criminal justice system as tools to help them make arrests (Chen 2008). For those already criminalized and stigmatized, including indigenous people and people of colour, especially Arab, Middle Eastern and Muslim individuals post-9/11, surveillance ‘flaws’ will have a disproportionate effect. Placing marginalized, stigmatized and often criminalized women at the centre of feminist surveillance studies reveals that technologies aimed at the protection from individual abusers, and the arrest of perpetrators, does not work for all cases of violent practices. To be sure, it is a step in the right direction for Google maps and Google Street View to ensure that the addresses of women’s shelters are not exposed to the public (National Network to End Violence Against Women 2010). However, feminists should also be concerned with the impact of Google maps and Google Street View for the surveillance of street level sex workers. Problematically, Google maps has allowed street view pictures of women to be visible and circulated widely over the internet. Moreover, the feminist blog Jezebel (2011) noted that, as a result of Google pictures of sex workers, a book titled ‘Roadside Prostitutes’ has now been published in which women are objectified for the viewing pleasure of others, and without remuneration. The distribution of images reveals pictures of workers who often work anonymously, in illegal bawdy houses, or on the street, and require protection from both unsafe clients and law enforcement where their work is criminalized. For indigenous women, people of colour, queer, and non-gender conforming folks taking part in sex work, the visibilization of their bodies and workplaces put them at an even greater risk of violence. Given that these communities are already heavily surveilled by law enforcement, especially those working at street level, the public access to these images compounds safety issues. Sex workers have pointed out that violence is practiced by unsafe clients, but is also experienced at the hands of policing services. For example, due to the criminalization of sex work in Canada, workers are unable to lawfully unionize or assemble for protection, unable to work indoors, and often cannot call on police for help because they risk arrest (Power 2011). The distribution of Google map and Google Street View photos of sex workers and their work places puts women at risk of violence and should be considered alongside protecting shelter addresses when anti-violence advocates work with Google. Yet, sex workers and other marginalized communities have been left out of the mainstream discussions about surveillance technologies and VAW.