Chair: Michael Levi
IASOC presents: Technology, Organised Crime, Policing and Punishment
Author: Berry Mark, Cardiff University
Title: Technology & Organised Crime in the Smart City
The term ‘smart city’ has circulated across the developed world affecting urban development programmes and government strategies. These cities are envisioned as a technological fix for the many problems of modern city life, yet emerging technologies are not flawless and have vulnerabilities that can be manipulated by criminal actors. Even so, there is an interesting silence about the issues of security amongst the advocates of smart cities. Furthermore, there remains limited insight into the impact of the smart cities programme from criminologists, particularly in relation to hitherto prioritised threats of organised crime; notably the illicit drug trade. Those who have addressed the impact of emergent technologies have done so through critiques of governmental programmes. A key absence in this, is the voice of actors involved in the networks that actually constitute threats to urban security, and how they perceive and use emerging technologies for illicit ends. This paper aims to augment this treatment of emergent technologies, by switching the analytical focus towards the principal actor networks that constitute these threats. It uses data from a five-year ethnography to demonstrate how ICT reconfigures and virtually extends illicit drug markets, whilst providing insights into the workings of drug markets of the future.
Keywords: Technology, Organised Crime, Drugs, Internet, Crytpomarket, Smart City, Ethnography
Author: Berry Carl, Bristol University
Title: Under Surveillance: an Ethnographic Exploration Into the Experience of Electronically Monitored Punishment
EM tags are dispensed with the objective of instantiating punitive surveillance. Once attached, the surveillant capacities of the object are capable of detecting users spatio-temporal movements, and reporting curfew violations back to the CJS. Surveillance as an aspect of the EM tag’s punitive functions has drawn debate regarding its status as something intended to simply enforce curfews, or its existence as a punishment in itself, however little empirical work has been conducted in the area. Infiltrating this issue, the encroaching presence of mass surveillance has been increasingly debated within criminology, and informs concerns regarding the capabilities of technologies to monitor and control citizens. Despite this, little has been said regarding the impact of surveillance on those who are directly subject to its gaze, regardless of much theoretical conceptualisation. This paper will embark upon an exploration of the impact of surveillance as a feature of EM, to investigate how the experience of being punitively monitored is perceived by users, by using ethnographic data gathered during sentences. It will draw upon Actor Network Theory to demonstrate how technologies and humans are relationally connected, and that surveillance may construct varying “fluid” comprehensions, which produce further varying consequences within users lives.
Keywords: Electronic Monitoring, Surveillance, Punishment, Actor Network Theory, Ethnography
Author: Coliandris Michael, Cardiff University
Title: Drone Cops: Technological Innovation and Arms Races Michael Coliandris
British police leaders and policy makers maintain the view that unmanned aerial systems (drones) will transform policing. This narrative is framed partially through an appeal to new technologies – that they offer novel and innovative modes for crime control. The challenges of technology crime are well-known, and recent media attention has focused on a small number of criminal misuses of drones. What is emerging is arguably a technologically-mediated arms race between criminals and police, with each attempting to outmaneuver the other through recourse to technological ‘fixes’. The police have been generally overt in their use of drones, which attends to a related aspect of arms races: the power of narratives. Unlike covert methods of crime control, overt drone use shapes a narrative that the police are technologically-literate. This paper will argue that the transparency with which police are currently using drones serves a dual purpose: it simultaneously bolsters accountability and presents a sense that the police are modern and, above all, capable. The case will be made that qualitative research is required to map out the manner in which this narrative is constructed, the meanings users attach to drones, and the local implications of drones on crime issues.
Keywords: Drone, Policy, Technology, Qualitative Research
Author: Maras Marie-Helen, John Jay
Title: Technology, Trafficking, and the Private Sector: Lessons From Backpage
Sexually exploited human beings are advertised for trade, purchase, and even rental on online classified advertisement sites, social media, and other platforms. A U.S. Senate investigation revealed that an online classified advertisement site, Backpage, knowingly facilitated human trafficking by editing advertisements which openly advertised human beings for sexual services instead of banning them outright. Despite this revelation, attempts to hold Backpage criminally liable for these advertisements failed. This failure led to the passage of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act in 2018. The law, while a step in the right direction, is only designed to hold those who knowingly publish information that facilitates sex trafficking criminally liable. It does not actually deal with the proliferation of these advertisements on sites that do not knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. What can aid in this endeavor is the leveraging of technology in the detection of these advertisements and the investigation of purchasers of sex and traffickers. This paper critically examines the investigation and prosecution of Backpage, the lessons learned in this case, and the impact of the 2018 U.S. law for other online platforms. The aims of this paper are to emphasize the vital role the private sector in combating human trafficking and to demonstrate how technology can be used to identify trafficked victims and proactively remove content on private online platforms.
Keywords: Human Trafficking, Organised Crime, Technology, Internet