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FRIAS Junior Researcher Conference - New Philosophical Perspectives on Surveillance and Control: Beyond the Privacy versus Security Debate

When Nov 05, 2015 02:00 PM to
Nov 06, 2015 07:30 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone 0761 203 97362
Attendees nach Anmeldung / registration required
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Call for Papers

Scientific Coordination:

  • Dr Elisa Orrù (Freiburg University, Centre for Security and Society and Husserl-Archive)
  • Sebastian Volkmann (Freiburg University, Centre for Security and Society and Husserl-Archive)
  • Maria Grazia Porcedda (European University Institute, Department of Law)

Conference Topic (Conference Program)

Issues of surveillance and control have been tremendously present in the media's headlines in the past decade and many examples can be named: The debate about the deployment of body scanners at airports raised strong objections to what some people considered a “virtual strip search”; the continued legal and political battle over communications data retention across Europe once again reignited after the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015; the revelation of a vast network of surveillance programmes conducted by the NSA resulted a continued debate about governmental overreach and the existence of a digital surveillance state. All these examples unveil two recurring and related features of security-orientated surveillance and control: the pervasive use of technologies able to collect personal information and the preventative, intelligence-led approach to public and national security.

Both in and outside academia, the current debate consequently features questions mostly framed in terms of a privacy versus security dilemma or a trade-off model: in order to achieve (more) security, we have to sacrifice (a quantum of) privacy.

However, it is patent that the impact of large-scale surveillance measures goes far beyond security and privacy matters. On the one hand, techniques of surveillance and control are indispensable tools for exercising and generating power and for establishing social order. On the other hand, the negative effects can reach as far as threatening the very fabric of social and democratic life. This can happen, for example, by “chilling” the societal climate to a point where citizens refrain from taking legitimate actions in fear of negative repercussions.

Although such aspects of surveillance and control are widely known, we are still missing a theoretical framework to fully understand their meaning and consequences. The workshop aims at bringing together leading experts and young researchers in order to discuss the implications of practices of surveillance and control for contemporary societies. We strive to identify the most promising philosophical paths to developing theoretical tools that will allow us to better understand those challenges, which are likely to shape much of the 21st century.

Conference Panel Topics

1. Risk management, paradigms in policies of surveillance and control

  • Rafalea Hillerbrand: Risk Theory: models and current developments
  • Sebastian Volkmann: Risk based passenger screening in aviation security:
    variants and implications of a new paradigm
  • Georg Huber: Power, policies and the management of "risky masses". European border surveillance policies and the perception of migration as a risk.
  • Jörg Klingbeil and Constanze Kurz: Data protection - institutional and civil society perspective


2. Inspecting security practices and debates beyond the privacy perspective

  • Martin Scheinin: Surveillance and Fundamental Rights
  • Patrick Herron: Beyond Balance: Targeted sanctions, security and republican freedom
  • Thomas Lindner: Debating surveillance. A critical analysis of the post-Snowden public discourse
  • Enrico Gargiulo: Monitoring or selecting? Security in Italy between surveillance, identification and categorisation


3. Rethinking the relationship between privacy, the home and surveillance

  • Ralf Poscher: The Right to Data Protection. A No Right Thesis
  • Anna Sawyer: Full disclosure: privacy, intimacy and the online self
  • Michele Rapoport: Domestic surveillance technologies and a new visibility

Confirmed speakers:

  • Hans-Helmuth Gander, Freiburg University
  • Rafaela Hillerbrand, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Jörg Klingbeil, Data Protection Commissioner of the state of Baden-Württemberg
  • Constanze Kurz, Chaos Computer Club
  • Ralf Poscher, Freiburg University
  • Martin Scheinin, former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, European University Institute