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Surveillance and Security Spectacle at the Toronto G20: The Miami Model and the ambivalence of social media
Transcript of Surveillance and Security Spectacle at the Toronto G20: The Miami Model and the ambivalence of social media
securtization of public space
summit fencing/"red zones"
new ID schemes
multi-jurisdictional police forces
massive security budget
Mega-policing post 9/11
Surveillance & Security Spectacle
at the Toronto G20:
The Miami Model
of social media
Faculty of Extension University of Alberta
Kate Milberry, PhD
Purchase of surveillance & military equipment
Passing of new/temporary laws
Mass detention facilities identified & prepped for use
Public training drills and mass show of force.
"Robocop model of suppression"
Emergent & iterative model of mega-policing
Board of Directors of Mayhem
G20 Main Conspiracy Group
"Open Source" investigation
RCMP Internet Monitoring Unit
Weekly reports summarized web commentary to measure public sentiment surrounding various aspects of the G20.
One report analyzed 7,250 summit references “to measure how disgruntlement about the security plans for the meetings radiated beyond the mainstream media to non-journalist bloggers” (ATI request).
Social Network Analysis
Police build out activists' social networks & draw inferences about their behaviour, based on: who activists follow,who they are followed by, the events they say they will attend, other personal information disclosed via online social networks
Facilitates profiling, predictive policing
"An intimidating intelligence gathering strategy” (CCLA, 2010)
20 "ringleaders" arrested
17 charged with conspiracy
6 convictions - "counseling to commit mischief"
6-18 months jail time (not including pretrial arrest & house arrest)
Arresting people at demos that police recognize from earlier demonstrations is a common tactic in the UK, now playing out in the Printemps Erable. Montreal police call it a "preventive measure."
Dual function of
Toronto Police made a public appeal for people to identify suspects & to submit on-line images of alleged "Black Bloc" vandals
Uploaded anonymously through its website
40,000 images & 500 videos
>>“Most Wanted” posters
>> Social media gallery on Facebook
Encourages people to collaborate in their own surveillance
Elevates snitch culture to a form of civic responsibility
Rife with potential for human rights and civil liberties abuse
Encourages vigilantism & the Human Flesh Search Engine (Parsons)
"New visibility in policing": technical capacity for surveilling police via the recording & disseminating of images may increase public awareness of police actions & police accountability (Goldsmith 2009).
“The recording or monitoring of a high ranking official by a person of lower authority” (Mann 2004).
Sousveillance: a method of surveillance inquiry that emphasizes “watchful vigilance from underneath” (Mann 2002).
"Inverse surveillance intervenes in the process of surveillance and attempts to undermine or reverse the authoritative power associated with the technology (Institute for Applied Autonomy).
This is a political and “explicit strategy of individuals who know very well that mediated visibility can be a weapon in the struggles they wage in their day-to-day lives (Thompson 2005, 31).
White hat hacker & security expert
Expose the inadequacies of G20 security
Surveillance Club >> listen in on police scanners during the summit & disseminate information via Twitter
keeping track of government surveillance of activists online
"discovered" by private security officers; tricked by TPS into providing ID
Open source investigation of Byron's social media presence >> blog, Twitter, Flickr
Intense nine-day surveillance operation
Charged with serious offenses - "Intimidation of a justice system participant by watch and beset"
Ambivalence of #socmed
Crowdsourced surveillance >> ubiquitous recording devices & internet access aid & abet police investigations
“precautionary monitoring through information gathering about organizations,” that attempts to destabilize social movement mobilization before it occurs (Starr et al. 2008, 255)
Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) conducted “intelligence investigations on possible threats and suspicious activity” surrounding the summit
“analytical threat picture”: potpourri of terrorism, environmental activism, “aboriginal/extremist convergence,” cyber-espionage and right wing extremism.
Largest known domestic spying operation in Canadian history
12 “trained covered investigators” were assigned to “conduct active operations” (ISU JIG 2009)
Bindo Showan & Brenda Carey (OPP) infiltrated activist groups in southern Ontario for 18 months
JIG focused on the public order threat
“criminal extremists motivated by a variety of radical ideologies”
“anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism, nihilism, socialism and/or communism”
Their undercover work resulted in 59 criminal charges against 20 community organizers who were alleged to have orchestrated the public disorder during the G20.
“Usually it is only possible to interpret symptoms of surveillance or be faced with the consequences” (Leistert 2012).
Interrogated for 12 hours without a lawyer
Involves the recording or monitoring of a high ranking official by a person of lower authority” (Mann 2004).
Is a form of sousveillance, a method of surveillance inquiry that emphasizes “watchful vigilance from underneath” (Mann 2002).
"New visibility in policing”
The technical capacity for surveilling police via the recording and disseminating of images may increase public awareness of police actions as well as police accountability (Goldsmith 2009).
It is an "explicit strategy of individuals who know very well that mediated visibility can be a weapon in the struggles they wage in their day-to-day lives (Thompson 2005, 31).
Video and photographs taken by hundreds of onlookers, bloggers, citizen journalists and independent media makers and posted to the Internet confirmed shocking police brutality as well as widespread disregard for civil rights and legal protocol.
Provincial police watchdog released a 300-page report that concluded “police officers made unlawful arrests, used excessive force and violated protesters' Charter rights” (Poisson et al, 2012).
It found that three G20 commanders, members of the TPS, had committed misconduct
Another 29 officers face charges of misconduct
No public inquiry into G20 policing by the provincial government, despite multiple calls
Kate Milberry, PhD