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Social Profiling, Sorting and Surveillance – de humanises society


Transparency of code is vital where that personal data could enable “social sorting”, “profiling” and discrimination.  Surveillance is social sorting.  As Lyons (2007, p. 183) highlights, “the already existing categories of “race”, nationality, gender, socio-economic status or deviance inform and are amplified by surveillance, which then enables differential treatment to be given to different groups”,  Lyons states this puts freedom and dignity at stake.

“Statistical and algorithmic categories are far from abstract in their consequences.”    Lyons, mentions “Workers, consumers, suspected offenders, children, women, travellers, citizens, refugees and audiences” are all impacted.
The “remote control” permitted by electronic surveillance networks is not unconnected to exploitation, abandonment or even violence  for such remote control by definition avoids seeing faces, it deals in data.  Paradoxically, the more that is “seen” by surveillance, the less is seen of embodied persons in everyday life.

And this “de humanising effect”, has consequences for justice, fairness, liberty and for life.

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