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2009-10-15 | Call for Chapter Abstracts for the Book "The Internet & Surveillance"

posted 29 Sept 2009, 08:36 by José María Díaz Nafría   [ updated 21 Mar 2010, 06:00 ]
The overall aim of this collected volume is to bring together contributions that show how surveillance works on the Internet and which risks are connected to Internet surveillance in general and surveillance connected to "web 2.0" and "social software" in particular.

PDF version of CfP: http://fuchs.uti.at/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/CfP_Internet_Surveillance.pdf

Editors: Christian Fuchs, Kees Boersma, Anders Albrechtslund, Marisol Sandoval

Supported by COST: European Cooperation in Science and Technology (http://www.cost.esf.org, COST Action Living in Surveillance Societies (LiSS, IS0807), Working Group 2: Surveillance Technologies in Practice

Abstract submissions until October 15, 2009 (deadline) to christian.fuchs@sbg.ac.at

The publication and publishing process is part of the COST Action "Living in Surveillance Societies" (LiSS) that is funded by the European Science Foundation (2009-2012, see http://w3.cost.esf.org/index.php?id=233&action_number=IS0807 for further information and details) and is a project by the LiSS working group "Surveillance Technologies in Practice". The editors are members of this working group.

Routledge has expressed interest in publishing this volume.

The collection of data for organizing bureaucratic and economic life is inherent in modern society. At the same time that privacy has been postulated as important value of modern society, privacy-threatening surveillance mechanisms have been structurally implemented and institutionalized in modern society. This collected volume explores perspectives on privacy, surveillance, and the privacy-surveillance-paradox in relation to the Internet.


Many observers claim that the Internet has been transformed in the past years from a system that is primarily oriented on information provision into a system that is more oriented on communication and community building. The notions of "web 2.0", "social Software", and "social network(ing) sites" have emerged in this context. Web platforms such as Wikipedia, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Google, Blogger, Rapidshare, Wordpress, Hi5, Flickr, Photobucket, Orkut, Skyrock, Twitter, YouPorn, PornHub, Youku, Orkut, Redtube, Friendster, Adultfriendfinder, Megavideo, Tagged, Tube8, Mediafire, Megaupload, Mixi, Livejournal, LinkedIn, Netlog, ThePirateBay, Orkut, XVideos, Metacafe, Digg, StudiVZ, etc are said to be typical for this transformation of the Internet. No matter if we agree that important transformations of the Internet have taken place or not, it is clear that a principle that underlies such platforms is the massive provision and storage of
personal data that are systematically evaluated, marketed, and used for targeting users with advertising. In a world of global economic competition, economic crisis, and fear of terrorism after 9/11, especially two kinds of actors are interested in accessing such personal data: corporations on the one hand and state institutions on the other hand. Will the Internet under the current societal conditions advance the intensification and extension of surveillance so that a coercive and totalitarian surveillance society that George Orwell would have only thought about in his worst dreams will emerge or not? Are there counter-tendencies? The contributions in this book deal with these topics by elaborating theoretical concepts and presenting the results of empirical case studies.

We are especially interested in papers that do not primarily discuss single examples, but attempt to discuss Internet surveillance from a broad perspective that takes into account societal contexts or that embed examples or case studies into the discussion of societal contexts.

Research Questions

Chapters could for example relate to one or more of the following questions:
  • What is electronic surveillance? What are specific qualities of electronic surveillance on the Internet? How does Internet surveillance differ from other forms of surveillance?
  • Which theories do we need for thinking about Internet & surveillance? How important (or how outdated) are the thoughts by Michel Foucault and George Orwell for studying surveillance on the Internet? How suitable are the theories of thinkers like Max Weber, Karl Marx, Anthony Giddens, and others for the analysis and conceptualization of Internet surveillance?
  • What is the relationship of privacy and surveillance in respect to the Internet?
  • What is privacy, how should it be defined, and how does it change in the age of the Internet?
  • Is Internet surveillance a form of "new surveillance" (Gary Marx)? What are the differences and commonalities between Internet surveillance and concepts such as computer surveillance, dataveillance (Roger Clarke), the electronic panopticon (Mark Poster), electronic surveillance (David Lyon), the panoptic sort (Oscar H. Gandy), social Taylorism of surveillance (Frank Webster, Kevin Robins), or the synopticon (Thomas Mathiesen)?
  • What are the normative and ethical implications of Internet & surveillance?
  •  What is a surveillance society and what is the role of the Internet in surveillance society? Should the notions of surveillance and surveillance society be used as general, neutral terms or as negative terms? What are the implications of certain definitions of surveillance and surveillance society for studying the Internet?
  • What does it mean to study Internet & surveillance critically? What is a critical theory of Internet surveillance, what are critical studies of Internet & surveillance? What are the ontological, epistemological, methodological, and axiological dimensions of such studies?
  • What are central aspects of the political economy of surveillance on the Internet?
  • What is the role of surveillance for "web 2.0" and "social software"? How is surveillance connected with mass self-communication and communication power/counter-power (Manuel Castells) in web 2.0?
  • What is the role of surveillance on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook?
  • How is surveillance used in the Internet economy? What problems are connected to surveillance in the Internet economy? What is the role of surveillance for Internet business models?
  • How does targeted advertising work as economic mechanism for generating profit? What are the problems that are connected to it?
  • Presentation and generalization of case studies about how specific Internet platforms (Google, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, etc) or applications use surveillance and about the connected problems and threats.
  • How are terms of use and privacy terms designed by Internet corporations in order to enable surveillance? What are the problems and societal implications connected to such practices?
  • How has surveillance on the Internet changed after 9/11?
  • Which different legal frameworks for surveillance on the Internet are there (international comparison) and how have they changed after 9/11?
  • What are the major threats and problems of surveillance on the Internet?
  • What is to be done in order to solve the problems that are connected to surveillance on the Internet? What is the role of information policies, data protection, governments, governance, civil society, and social movements in this respect?
  • How do social movements and groups that struggle against the establishment of a "maximum surveillance society" (Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong) make use of the Internet for cyberprotest and cyberactivism?
  • How do Internet & society have to be designed in order to avoid the emergence of a total surveillance society? Which alternative design principles for Internet & society are needed in this context? What is the role of privacy-enhancing Internet technologies in this context?
  • Which Internet surveillance technologies are there and how can they be systematically classified?
  • What is the role of surveillance and surveillance technologies in Internet-based eGovernment and eGovernance?

Submission of Structured Abstracts:

Please submit structured abstracts for chapter proposals, short author biography/biographies, and your contact details (in a word document) until October 15th, 2009 to Christian Fuchs by email: christian.fuchs@sbg.ac.at. The editors are interested in abstracts for original, unpublished contributions that have not been submitted for consideration in journals or other publications.

The abstracts should adhere to the following structured format and should have approximately 650-900 words.

(1) Purpose
What are the reasons for writing this chapter? Why is the topic important? What are the aims of research? What are the research questions?
(2) Approach/Theoretical framework/Design/Methodology
How are the objectives achieved? Include the main method(s) used for the research [theory construction is also considered as a method in this context]. What is the approach to the topic and what is the theoretical or subject scope of the paper?
(3) Findings
What was found in the course of the work? What are the main results presented in the chapter? This will refer to analysis, discussion, or results.
(4) Research limitations/implications (if applicable)
Suggestions for future research and any identified limitations in the research process. Implications for academic fields, disciplines, state of the art.
(4) Practical and societal implications (if applicable)
What outcomes and implications for practice, applications and consequences are identified? How will the research impact upon society? How will it influence public attitudes? How could it inform civil society or public or industry policy? What changes to human practices should be made as a result of this research? How might it affect quality of life? Not all chapters must necessarily have practical and societal implications.
(5) Originality/value
What is new in the paper? How does it differ from and go beyond the state of the art in respective research fields? State the value of the paper and for whom it is relevant.

Author short biographies should be approximately 200-300 words and contain information on academic position, institutional affiliation, research interests and topics, major publications, projects, networks, affiliations, roles, etc.

Time Schedule

October 15, 2009: deadline for the submission of structured abstracts of chapter proposals
End of October 2009: notification of authors on acceptance/decline of proposals; submission of the overall proposal, abstracts, author data to Routledge
End of November 2009: decision on publication by the publisher
End of September 2010: deadline for the submission of full chapters (further details will be announced)
End of November 2010: feedback of review comments to the authors
End of December 2010: submission of final versions of chapters
January 2011: submission of final manuscript to the publisher

About the Editors
Christian Fuchs
is associate professor for ICTs and society at the University of Salzburg, Austria. He is management committee member of the ESF COST Action "Living in Surveillance Society" (LiSS) and member of the LiSS working group "Surveillance Technologies in Practice". Personal Website: http://fuchs.uti.at
Kees Boersma
is associate professor for science and technology studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is leader of the working group "Surveillance Technologies in Practice" and management committee member of the ESF Cost Action "Living in Surveillance Societies".
Anders Albrechtslund
is assistant professor for surveillance and ethics at Aalborg University, Denmark. He is management committee member of the ESF Cost Action "Living in Surveillance Societies" and member of the LiSS working group "Surveillance Technologies in Practice".
Marisol Sandoval
is research associate at the University of Salzburg, Austria. She is member of the working group "Surveillance Technologies in Practice" of the ESF Cost Action "Living in Surveillance Societies".