New Publication By Dencik and Hintz

March 21, 2017

Non-resident CMDS fellows Lina Dencik and Arne Hintz have recently authored a journal article with Zoe Carey entitled "Prediction, pre-emption and limits to dissent: Social media and big data uses for policing protests in the United Kingdom". In the abstact, they state that social media and big data uses form part of a broader shift from ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’ forms of governance in which state bodies engage in analysis to predict, pre-empt and respond in real time to a range of social problems. Drawing on research with British police, the authors contextualize these algorithmic processes within actual police practices, focusing on protest policing. Although aspects of algorithmic decision-making have become prominent in police practice, their research shows that they are embedded within a continuous human–computer negotiation that incorporates a rooted claim to ‘professional judgement’, an integrated intelligence context and a significant level of discretion. This context, as Dencik, Hintz and Carey argue, transforms conceptions of threats. They focus particularly on three challenges: the inclusion of pre-existing biases and agendas, the prominence of marketing-driven software, and the interpretation of unpredictability. Such a contextualized analysis of data uses provides important insights for the shifting terrain of possibilities for dissent.

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