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Conference Program: Policing in the Algorithmic Society

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Conference Program

Policing in the Algorithmic Society: Consequences and Critical Perspectives

March 6-8, 2023

Fluminense Federal University, Niterói - Brazil

Rua Marcos Waldemar de Freitas s/n, bloco O, quinto andar, auditório do PPGH, Campus do Gragoatá

AGOPOL Conference Program Brazil March 6-8
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Opening session


Session 1

Policing as Productive Enterprise: Law Enforcement Computerization in the United States 1962-1990

Dean Wilson, University of Sussex

Origins of Smart Policing in India

Shivangi Narayan, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Algorithmic Government in Policing and its Historic Predecessor: Case of Post-communist Countries

Ella Paneyakh, College of International and Public Relations Prague




Session 2

Recording, Visibility and Learning - Intelligence Concepts as a Tool for Organizational Learning?

Christin Thea Wathne, Oslo Metropolitan University

Helene Oppen Ingebrigtsen Gundhus, University of Oslo

Human Discretion vs. Automated Decision-Making: Exploring the Rhetoric of E-Governance and Technology Driven Policing in Kerala, India

Ashwin Varghese, Jindal Global University [JGU]

Digital practices in a Brazilian 911 Center of Operations

Letícia Simões-Gomes, University of São Paulo




Session 3

Cameras with Selective Eyes: Critical Analysis of the Use of Facial Recognition in Brazilian Public Security

Thallita G. Lopes Lima, PUC-Rio and CESeC

What Differences Have Artificial Intelligence Brought to Police Work in Brazil? The Perspective and Activism of Civil Society in the Campaign to Ban Digital Technologies for Facial Recognition in Public Security in Brazil

Paulo Cruz Terra, Fluminense Federal University

Security Technologies and the Politics of “Failure” in Brazil

Daniel Edler, University of São Paulo




Session 4

Fighting Crime Through the Art Market? Regulatory Technologies and the Privatization and Pluralization of Global Crime Governance

Tereza Østbø Kuldova, Oslo Metropolitan University

“We’re all dreaming AI”: Technologies of Desire in South African Policing

Tessa Diphoorn, Utrecht University




Session 5

The Russian Hybrid Intelligence State

Jardar Østbø, Norwegian Defence University College

Technopolitics of Risk: Predictive Police Systems in São Paulo and Punitive Solutionism

Alcides Eduardo dos Reis Peron, FECAP/NEV-USP

Digitalisation and Techno-solutionism: Risks of Late Modern Penology

Klara Kerezsi, National Institute of Criminology

Veronika Nagy, Utrecht University




Session 6

Musical Populism and Sonic Policing in the Bolsonaro Movement

Kjetil Bøhler, University of South-Eastern Norway

Marketing, Music, and Politics: Jingles in 2022 Brazilian Presidential Elections

Luciana Panke, Parana Federal University

Ary Azevedo Jr., Parana Federal University

18:00- 18:30




10:00- 12:00

Session 7

Favelas 4D' Senseable City Mapping, Borderising bodies and Algorithmic Policing in Rio de Janeiro

Åsne Håndlykken-Luz, University of South-Eastern Norway

The Historical Map of Armed Groups in Rio de Janeiro

Daniel Hirata, Fluminense Federal University (UFF)

12:00- 13:30


13:30- 15:30

Session 8

Militarized Managerialism and the Bolsonarian Dystopia in Brazil

Bruno Cardoso, Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UFRJ)

“Everything is Monitored”: Surveillance and Mobility in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro

Palloma Menezes, Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ)

Cosmologies of War: Policing in Rio de Janeiro

Tomas Salem, University of Bergen





Policing as Productive Enterprise: Law Enforcement Computerization in the United States 1962-1990

Dean Wilson, Head of Sociology and Criminology, University of Sussex

Contemporary socio-technical imaginaries of police digitalization and platformization have important antecedents in early efforts to computerize policing agencies in the 1960s. This paper explores the visions of instantaneous policing and law-enforcement productivity that accompanied initial efforts to computerize police operations through both command-and-control systems and police record systems. The paper examines how computerization was imagined as bringing industrial efficiency into the realm of law enforcement, thereby rendering policing increasingly productive to the wider economy. Computer technology was accompanied by ideologies of efficiency, productivity and speed that migrated into law enforcement from then dominant paradigms within management and military theory. However, by the mid-1970s the crisis of Fordist production was mirrored within police agencies, and the attempts to accelerate command-and-control had met with scant success. Moreover, a crucial dilemma continued to shadow the ambitions of ‘productive policing’. What was the product of policing? And how did it actually produce ‘value’? Computerization, alongside other communication technologies, subsequently become central emblems in a reimagining of policing, whereby technology would facilitate decentralization, officer entrepreneurship, and pro-active intervention. New paradigms such as problem-oriented policing and community policing rolled out in tandem with technological transformations such as mobile telephony and PCs. By the late 1980s, policing was being reimagined as an entrepreneurial and proactive enterprise. Understanding the geneaology of this shift from policing as Fordist production to policing as a flexible, entrepreneurial productive enterprise is imperative to our analysis of algorithmic policing in the present.

Origins of Smart Policing in India

Dr Shivangi Narayan, Independent researcher based in National Capital Region, (NCR), India and currently part of the AGOPOL Project

This paper looks at the ways in which technology led policing, especially the use of data and statistical analysis became the centerpiece in Indian policing after India’s independence from British rule in the year 1947. The introduction of data studies or statistical analysis in policing could not have taken place without the overall interest of the Indian government in numbers and their uses. The beginning of this interest could be traced to the setting up of the Indian Statistical Institute in India in 1931 with P C Mahalanobis as its founder who actively worked to introduce statistics in all aspects of life in India. He also developed the ‘Mahalanobis distance’ which is a similarity measure used in machine learning and is used extensively in face recognition technology across the world. The colonial legacy of India (which rests on the backs of its Brahmin interpreters), which includes anthropological studies of people and their culture, to fingerprinting and physical measurements of so-called ‘criminal tribes,’ makes for a rich collection of ‘data’ that serves as a precursor for statistical analysis and the use of data driven technologies. For example, the Mahalanobis distance was also developed to identify different tribe and caste groups from each other. This paper wants to understand how these ‘reserves’ of data met the Nehruvian rationality of Independent India to produce statistical tools in policing in the country.

Algorithmic Government in Policing and its Historic Predecessor: The case of Post-communist Countries

Ella Paneyakh, College of International and Public Relations, Prague

While algorithmic government is typically associated with the rise of digital technologies, the drive to make multiple “aspects of the social world (…) to be counted or quantified during modernity, as a way of making it more ‘legible’ for governing” (Mejias, Couldry 2019) precedes the invention of computers by at least several centuries (Foucault 2007, Scott 1990). In XX century, the plan system in the USSR was probably one of the most ambitious projects ever for governing large social bodies through unification, thick coordination, datafication and algorithmization of multiple aspects of work and of other aspects of human life. This system left an ancestry in the governmentality in post-communist societies, including the cultures of policing and the organizational architecture of law enforcement agencies. While some countries successfully overcame this ancestry by deep reforms of police forces and judiciary system, others bore the remnants of plan-based management of law enforcement way into digital era. The objective of this paper is to account for similarities and differences between ‘new’ and ‘old’ algorithmic governance systems in the post-communist context, as well as for the interaction effects of both meeting in the everyday practice of XXI century police. The argument of the paper is that, while the new digital algorithmic government is known to be mostly predictive, the ‘old’, plan-based management techniques have a prescriptive effect, creating incentives for the police officers to shape their activities to reach informal KPIs. While both systems are presented as objective, non-discriminating and rational (e.g. Kuldova 2020), they both produce inequality and bias. In interaction they also create a very dense and inflexible framework for everyday functioning of police agencies, that practically blocks their ability to perform their crime control functions, channeling their energy to illegal or counterproductive routines, and blocking modernization efforts, including, paradoxically, the efforts to introduce digital technologies into police work in a more productive way.

Mejias, U. A. & Couldry, N. (2019). Datafication. Internet Policy Review, 8(4).

Scott, J. C. (1990) Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven; London: Yale University Press.

Foucault, M. (2007) Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977‐78 Edited by Michel Senellart. Translated by Graham Burchell. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kuldova, T. (2020) Imposter Paranoia in the Age of Intelligent Surveillance. Journal of Extreme Anthropology

Recording, Visibility and Learning: Intelligence Concepts as a Tool for Organizational Learning?

Christin Thea Wathne, Research Director and Research Professor at the Work Research Institute (AFI), Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway

Helene Oppen Ingebrigtsen Gundhus, Professor and Head of Department at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo

Considering the close links between digital information management and the intelligence doctrine as a new way of working (Politidirektoratet 2018), we take the Norwegian Police Intelligence Doctrine as a point of departure to analyze to what extent the new management concept give room for the police to unfold as a learning organization. The Police Intelligence Doctrine positions data-driven intelligence as a key element of knowledge-based management and practice. This represents a new ‘epistemic power’ in the police organization and the society (Archer et. al. 2020) and point to an economy of traces (Power 2022). Recent research shows that the move towards intelligence-led policing in Norway can result in a more militaristic culture of policing (Gundhus, Talberg and Wathne 2021), and the Police Intelligence Doctrine is largely inspired and structured in the same way as the Military intelligence doctrine. Police intelligence doctrine is also framed as a new business model for the police where new data-driven methods and intelligence products shall contribute to a more traceable, objective, and scientific basis for decision-making (Politidirektoratet 2014). Overall, police intelligence doctrine constitutes a management concept that organizes how the police shall act and be and provides strong futuristic sociotechnical imaginaries of the Norwegian police (Chan 2021). However, formal administrative structures can never adequately or fully reflect the concrete organization to which they refer, and the presence of rational organizational design in social systems of action may be a source of tension and dilemma. The hyper-visibility afforded by digital architectures (Flyverbom 2022) contributes with sociotechnical images and practices that are translated and domesticated in a police organization. On one hand, specialization and digitizing work processes and the dividing of tasks and decision-making aims for reducing discretion. The standardization of information retrieval, recording and reuse also aligns with the leadership’s desire for tighter management of police personnel. On the other hand, the objective is also to enable better competence and capacity, which shares knowledge and learns from experience. Organizations that share knowledge and learn from experience are in the literature labeled “learning organizations”. Organizational learning requires both individual and collective learning (Agyris 1999: 67). Drawing on interviews, the paper analyzes to what extent the intelligence doctrine and the digitalization give room for the police to unfold as a learning organization, and how the relation between the individual and the collective learning are played out in the age of datafication (Flyverbom and Garsten 2021). Central research questions are who gets to know what and why, and to what extent is there scope for asking fundamental questions?

Archer, A., Cawston, A., Matheson, B., & Geuskens, M. 2020. ‘Celebrity, Democracy, and Epistemic Power.’ Perspectives on Politics, 18(1), 27-42

Argyris, Chris. On Organizational Learning. Oxford: Blackwell Business, 1999.

Chan, J. (2021). The future of AI in policing. Exploring the sociotechnical imaginaries. In: Predictive Policing and Artificial Intelligence. McDaniel, J.L.M. & Pease, K. G. London: Routledge.

Flyverbom, M. (2022). Overlit: Digital Architectures of Visibility. Organization Theory, 3(3).

Flyverbom, M., & Garsten, C. (2021). Anticipation and Organization: Seeing, knowing and governing futures. Organization Theory, 2(3).

Politidirektoratet (2014). ‘Etterretningsdoktrine for politiet. Versjon 1.0 (No. 11/2014).’

Politidirektoratet (2018). ‘Strategi for fremtidig IKT-funksjon i politiet.’ Hoveddokument. Oslo.

Power, M. (2022). Theorizing the economy of traces: from audit society to surveillance capitalism. Organization Theory, 3 (3).

Gundhus, H. O., Talberg, N., & Wathne, C. T. (2021). From discretion to standardization: Digitalization of the police organization. International Journal of Police Science & Management.

Human Discretion vs. Automated Decision-Making: Exploring the Rhetoric of E-Governance and Technology Driven Policing in Kerala, India

Ashwin Varghese, Lecturer Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities (JSLH), O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), India

In 2021, in the southern state of Kerala in India, the state government laid out elaborate plans for ‘e-governance’ integrating existing state service with Information Communication Technology (ICT) for better governance (Administrative Reforms Commission, 2021). Integrating everyday policing with ICT and AI is a crucial component of these initiatives, in which regard in 2022 Kerala Police and the Digital University of Kerala launched a special training program for ‘capacity building in responsible AI and data analytics for the police department’. The police is also reported to have been working on introducing a new software, iCoPS to leverage the extensive volume of data available on the national database known as ‘Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS)’ for everyday policing. This attempt at modernization is aimed at introducing predictive policing to adopt preventive steps. The previous decade focused on digitization of existing policing infrastructure i.e., equipping police stations with computers, using in-house software to coordinate filing systems and internal communication etc. The current decade – as per the Kerala police Vision Document 2030 (Vision 2030 Kerala Police, 2021) – will focus on incorporating technology for crime and criminal information management for better decision-making through AI, big data repository, cyber surveillance technologies etc. Some measures in this regard are already under way. The motor vehicle department installed 675 AI-enabled cameras across the state of Kerala, to track minor traffic violations and report automatically to the state control unit, to be processed into penalties/fines. Herein, the officials have argued that the aim is to create a mechanism that seeks compliance from the citizens rather than increase surveillance. Through my ongoing work, I am tracking the roll-out of such initiatives and attempting to understand the rhetoric behind these initiatives from the point of view of ‘governance’ and ‘effective policing’. I am exploring how the idea of e-governance links technology-driven policing to efficient/effective policing. Existing literature on algorithmic governance has noted how AI models embody vision of new public management coordinated around ideas of ‘efficiency’ ‘cost-effectiveness’, ‘data-driven decision making’ etc. that clear from its way human discretion (Kuldova, Wathne & Nordrik, 2021). Through this enquiry, I focus on asking why human discretion is viewed with suspicion in policing, and why AI and data driven policing is seen to be a solution to the problem of human discretion. Investigating the suspicion of human discretion, especially in India, necessitates looking at the colonial legacy of the police where suspicion of human discretion in police especially among the subordinate ranks was a means to keep the force of indigenous police officers in check. Through this paper, I look at the interplay of human discretion vis-à-vis automated ‘data-driven’ decision-making that aims to make policing and governance more efficient and unpack the ways in which this new mode of governance is taking shape in the post-colonial context of Kerala.

Digital Practices in a Brazilian 911 Center of Operations

Letícia Simões-Gomes, Researcher at the Centre for the Study of Violence, University of São Paulo and Visiting Scholar at St. John’s University

This is a qualitative study based on interviews, direct observation, and secondary data regarding digital practices in São Paulo 911 Center of Operations (COPOM/PMESP). Its main interest lies in how digital systems and databases are daily deployed in dispatching and police resource allocation, and the narratives of their activities that intertwine digital technologies and their sense of work. First, I will explore how tense and violent social interactions are coded in the mediations between callers, call-takers, dispatchers, and the patrol car dispatch. What is crucial information to be passed on, and what is dismissed? How does the internal dispatching system frame complex situations from the call-takers to the dispatchers? Second, I will address dispatchers’ practices and roles, paying special attention to databases accessed and which data are extracted and conveyed as useful information in the exchange with patrollers. As multiple systems work in parallel and are manually collated, I discuss the dispatchers’ work dynamics as a sort of scavenger hunt, in which time runs against the task of finding leads of guiltiness in situations of suspicion at the street level. Also, I describe how digital systems play an important role in the narrative of these officers’ about their work. Finally, by discussing the territoriality of police deployment through 911 calls, I intend to demonstrate how politics of resource allocation might work as a way of dividing territories along policing strategies – between those that effectively deploy police resources based in criminal analyzes (intelligence-led policing), and those that deploy all its police resources for “putting out fires”

Cameras With Selective Eyes: Critical Analysis of the Use of Facial Recognition in Brazilian Public Security

Thallita G. Lopes Lima, PhD candidate at the Institute of International Relations at PUC-Rio and research coordinator of the Panóptico project at the Centro de Estudos em Segurança e Cidadania (CESeC)

Algorithms can handle and examine significant amounts of data, and these technologies are rapidly penetrating various aspects of our daily, political, and social lives, particularly in security practices. Machine learning algorithms, specifically, have been perceived as a means to manage security threats to efficiently address potential future dangers such as terrorism, crime, disorder, migration, and others. The vast amount of data available nowadays offers numerous inferences through correlations and a corresponding number of justifications for speculative security measures and decisions. This paper aims to critically scrutinize the use of biometric technologies combined with machine learning algorithms, such as face recognition, as effective "solutions" to security challenges in Brazil. The goal is to demonstrate how the use of these technologies in Brazil reinforces a deeply racialized way of surveillance and policing and what the consequences of using these technologies are in the relaxation of rights such as the presumption of innocence, privacy, and others. To do so, we will make three central analytical movements. First, we will discuss using machine learning algorithms for facial recognition in public security. In particular, we will present the discourses that have supported the circulation of this practice worldwide. Then, present the criticisms and problems of using these technologies in urban spaces. Furthermore, finally, present a critical reflection on the use of facial recognition in Brazil and its already perceived impacts. The idea is to observe how the circulation of this technology and its implementation in countries of the Global South, such as Brazil, need to be analyzed in the light of our context and how they can produce highly violent "side effects."

What Differences Have Artificial Intelligence Brought to Police Work in Brazil? The Perspective and Activism of Civil Society in the Campaign to Ban Digital Technologies for Facial Recognition in Public Security in Brazil

Paulo Cruz Terra, Universidade Federal Fluminense

This presentation explores civil society perspective and activism regarding the introduction of artificial intelligence in police work in Brazil, more specifically focusing on the campaign to ban digital technologies for Facial Recognition in Public Security in Brazil. Among the campaign's initiatives, the paper emphasizes the strategy of presenting bills to ban digital technologies for Facial Recognition in Public Security by More than 50 parliamentarians at the municipal and state levels in 13 different states in Brazil. Through interviews with activists and policymakers, the investigation of material produced by the campaign, and press articles, the paper proposes to analyze the following question: What differences have artificial intelligence brought to police work in Brazil? From the material analyzed, it was possible to perceive the reference and comparison between the use of digital technologies for facial recognition and photographic recognition, still in practice in the country and surrounded by several questions.

Security Technologies and the Politics of “Failure” in Brazil

Daniel Edler, Department of Sociology, University of São Paulo

In the past few years, police forces in Brazil have been equipped with a panoply of new security technologies, including body-worn cameras (BWC), biometric sensors, and algorithms for risk analysis and crime prediction. Police commanders and private vendors have justified rapidly growing investments in these technologies with discourses about gains of efficiency, transparency, and accountability, also emphasizing that these tools improve decision-making in courts and stop-and-frisk operations. However, critical scholars and human rights activists have argued that many of the systems recently implemented by local police institutions fail to improve public security. In fact, there is evidence that biometric sensors often misidentify suspects, and that crime prediction software are biased against black and poor communities. This paper maps and reflects on the political and analytical consequences of the use of the category of “failure” in current critiques of security innovations in Brazil. Despite its contribution to further our understanding of algorithmic racism and discrimination, this mode of critique has been incorporated by technology developers in processes of algorithmic optimization. Whilst critical scholars and activists are worried about building more accurate and explainable algorithms, little attention is paid to the political implications of security devices. In this sense, critiques about biases and errors may, paradoxically, contribute to enhance innovation and to legitimize the dissemination of punitive apparatuses. Drawing on the literature on science and technology studies (STS), this paper argues that we should reconsider critical theorizations of “failure” to spell out the multiple actors, interests, subjectivities, and security imaginaries that participate in the making of new techniques of control. In short, critical approaches to security technologies need to (re)politicize failure.

Fighting Crime Through the Art Market? Regulatory Technologies and the Privatization and Pluralization of Global Crime Governance

Tereza Østbø Kuldova, Research Professor, Oslo Metropolitan University

Art scandals and revelations of financial frauds, of money laundering and sanctions evasion through art and antiquities, of the looting of antiquities to finance terrorism, of forgeries of artworks and of provenance, of tax evasion schemes using luxury freeports and offshore tax havens, or of NFT art fraudulent schemes and cybercrime, have over the past decade attracted far more public attention and scrutiny, and spurred (self-)regulatory action targeting art and antiquities market actors. AML, CFT, and the proliferating sanctions regimes have expanded the scope and purpose of due diligence and effectively enlisted art and antiquities market actors in intelligence gathering, crime-fighting and de facto policing, while stimulating new markets for compliance products and software (or RegTech, regulatory technologies). In this paper, I shall analyse the complex and relatively new dynamics of the fight against crime through art, antiquities, and luxury markets, and by/with private market actors, which is becoming prevalent across western jurisdictions, but also emerging in Brazil and other locations. This case, it will be argued, is uniquely revealing of the recent developments across the fields of transnational regulation and global crime governance, which are increasingly reliant on different forms of surveillance, intelligence manufacturing, (pre-emptive) risk and suspicion management, and “algorithmic governance” (Kalpokas 2019). To understand this dynamics we will need to think "regulatory capitalism" (Levi-Faur 2017) in tandem with "surveillance capitalism" (Zuboff 2019) and "capitalism with a human face" (Žižek 2009). First when integrating insights from across these different perspectives and beyond, will we be able to analytically approach the "compliance-industrial complex" (Kuldova 2022), or else the actors increasingly in business of privatizing and pluralizing global crime governance, and remark on the reasons for failure of these strategies in crime-fighting, while locating their success elsewhere. Using the case of the art market, we will be able to see how this form of regulation not only primarily generates markets for new (pseudo)policing technologies, but also becomes indispensable to assetization and financialization of art, antiquities, and other collectibles and hence to wealth creation. This case will thus force us to push beyond hegemonic understandings and conventional narratives of regulation, policing, as well as speculative wealth creation.

Kalpokas, Ignas. 2019. Algorithmic Governance: Politics and Law in the Post-Human Era. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kuldova, Tereza Ø. 2022. Compliance-Industrial Complex: The Operating System of a Pre-Crime Society. Palgrave Pivot.

Levi-Faur, David. 2017. "Regulatory Capitalism." In Regulatory Theory: Foundation and Applications, edited by P. Drahos, 289-302. Australia: ANU Press.

Žižek, Slavoj. 2009. First as Tragedy, Then as Farce. London: Verso.

Zuboff, Shoshana. 2019. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. London: Profile Books.

“We’re all dreaming AI”: Technologies of Desire in South African Policing

Tessa Diphoorn, Utrecht University

Within the pluralized policing landscape of South Africa, there is an increased use of technologies and digitalized media for the fundamental purpose of crime detection, prevention, pro-active policing, and analysis. Amidst these technological advancements, artificial intelligence (AI) has become the new “buzzword” and there is a great amount of aspiration for the increased use of AI. Artificial intelligence is described as a solution to human-based problems that will provide abundant opportunities for more pro-active policing. Yet at the same time, there is also a lack of knowledge on what AI is and how it operates. In this paper, I reflect on this paradox and discuss what ‘dreaming of AI’ reveals about perceptions of both technologies and security. Drawing from qualitative research methods collected in South Africa between 2021-2023, I will analyze the desire for AI and analyze what this means for the field of plural policing.

The Russian Hybrid Intelligence State

Professor Jardar Østbø, Institute for Defence Studies, Norwegian Defence University College

Intelligence has long been at the heart of Russian politics, and its significance is growing. Current and former intelligence officers increasingly dominate governance and business, bringing with them the culture, world-view, language, ethos, practices, and practices of the Russian intelligence community. Intelligence activities, such as covert information gathering, ubiquitous surveillance, collection of compromising material, blackmail, disinformation, covert action, and special operations, including assassinations, are nearly everyday features of the power struggle within the political elite as well as of the regime’s governance of society and economic life. Organizations, media outlets and even individuals are sought contained and marginalized by stigmatizing them as ‘foreign agents’. Surveillance cameras with facial recognition are used to identify and detain protesters, target journalists, and hunt down draft dogders. A culture of suspicion is fostered, in the elite and society alike – enemies are allegedly everywhere; even teachers are urged to report oppositional schoolchildren, and vice versa. The belief in and use of intelligence methods are neither delimited to the infamous chekists (FSB officers) nor is it exclusively top-down. Several leading ‘technocrats’, also known as ‘systemic liberals’, embrace indiscriminate surveillance to fuel data-driven governance. In present-day Russia, old chekist culture and practices meet surveillance capitalism and the postmodern, technology-driven diversification and dispersion of intelligence. Yet academic analysis still operates with old notions of either an authoritarian regime using the intelligence services as a means to suppress popular unrest, or as a ‘KGB state’, where the intelligence services hav captured the state. This paper is an attempt to conceptualize the relationship between intelligence and the state in a novel way – as a hybrid intelligence state, a theoretical framework bringing insights that will be relevant for the study of nondemocratic and democratic societies alike.

Technopolitics of Risk: Predictive Police Systems in São Paulo and Punitive Solutionism

Alcides Eduardo dos Reis Peron, FECAP/NEV-USP

Over the past 10 years, Police Forces across Brazil have resorted to predictive surveillance systems to support their monitoring, intelligence, and risk assessment activities. Many of these systems were acquired in the context of exceptional security measures during the mega-events in Brazil and ended up being used in everyday security practices (Peron and Alvarez, 2021). Since then, its deployment has been largely disorderly, consequently, they have been unable to guarantee the fundamental rights of those monitored and investigated – both due to implicit algorithmic flaws and to the ways in which they have been employed by local police. In São Paulo, a myriad of predictive devices has been adopted in recent years, such as Detecta, SP+Segura, City Cameras, Facial Recognition systems, and more recently Smart Sampa. Although they have different functionalities, they can all be classified as predictive systems, since they enable the constant anticipation of guilt – and consequently of police action – based on risk calculations (Amoore, 2013; Harcourt, 2018). Thus, bringing together more than four years of documentary surveys, ethnographic research, and interviews, this works reformulates the notion of prediction as a technopolitical concept (which reflects sets of interests, practices, discourses, laws, and interactions aimed at expanding the police punitive capacity), to put into perspective the adoption of this series of systems, and describe how this culture of predictiveness interacts with local security practices. In this analysis, it identifies four general impacts resulting from this interaction: a) the fragmentation of security spaces; b) the increase in police arbitrariness; c) the increase in private interference in police practices; d) and finally, the expansion of police dependence to techno-punitive solutions, making unfeasible the formulation of creative means to deal with local security problems.

Digitalisation and Techno-solutionism: Risks of Late Modern Penology

Klara Kerezsi, National Institute of Criminology

Veronika Nagy, Utrecht University

Risk assessments are used at many stages of the criminal legal process, from bail to sentencing to parole determinations, from individual victimisation to collective social harms. Measuring risk means different things in each of these stages, there is a clear tendency in their fundamental principles in different social contexts. The aim of risk assessment and security management in criminal justice is increasingly shifting towards a focus on harm reduction and crime prevention rather than changing delinquent behaviour. With new technologies and external partners in the field of penal justice, risk assessment has become a central element of the law enforcement policy and practice in the last 25 years. Yet, there needs to be more consensus regarding the theoretical and methodological foundations of criminological risk and its social and practical implications. Our chapter demonstrates how information economies have altered the industrial sectors in legal justice and describe the mechanisms through which prevention thinking extends beyond criminal justice systems, legitimising penal sanctions in a broader societal context. We raise questions about the need for a more refined approach to the problem of 'European' penal values, the existence of punishment beyond criminal justice, and the condition to study the whole array of forms of legal coercion and detention, as well as the fear as a significant political advisor. Unmanned, high-security detention centres, automatic decision-making systems in court measures and biometric data-based predictive policing tools are frequently used examples of the current challenges in the penal cultures. While these references are generally used in academic papers or policymaking debates, discussing the efficiency of these methods, there are only a few theoretical discussions exploring those fundamental values that shape such penal objectives in the so-called information society. Many cover the role of predictive thinking by referring to Beck's Risk Society, Garland's Culture of Control or Newburn's Plural Policing ideas. Still, few consider how techno-social developments might fundamentally challenge traditional penal cultures. Though we can see the change from penal welfarism to risk penology. However, the history of social crime prevention programmes demonstrates the presence of a 'hybrid penology' - especially in Central-Eastern European countries. The information society is a social system greatly dependent on information technologies to produce and distribute all goods and services. As society becomes increasingly connected through information and communication technologies (ICT), penal governance and crime control strategies have arrived at new challenges across borders. These changes aim to make organisational production, distribution, and management decisions more efficient. The diffusion of law enforcement agencies and the privatisation of penal practices by neoliberal contracted companies are broadly studied symptoms of such techno-solutionism bureaucracies. These can only be understood with a more in-depth exploration of techno-social values in the current penal administrative systems. Though we elaborate on such economic determinants of control technologies in this chapter, we still recognise other forces that might have influenced the expansions in state control. The real-time presence of connected societies through social media provides unique opportunities to engage with crime and promote new forms of penal movement, like vigilant social justice activities or digitised social control. It is not only the infrastructure of law enforcement that is radically changing by the need for digitisation, but it also facilitates new cultures of informal justice. The developments have occurred alongside an intertwining of social policy and crime control, including the acceleration of mass surveillance strategies, profiling treating individuals and surveillance cultures. Though the democratising effects of new media platforms cannot be denied, these also provide harmful opportunities for civilians and formal authorities. Examples are non-democratic state authorities, corporate tech industries (See the new enterprises of Elon Musk), or radical political groups, such as right-wing paedophile hunters. Therefore, the aim of this chapter is threefold: 1) To map out how the shift to an information society changes the values of traditional penal measures, 2) To how digitalisation processes adjusted the formal penal practices, and 3) How non-formal penal practices contribute to the growth of privatised preventive penal cultures in different social contexts (illustration of Eastern Europe).

Musical Populism and Sonic Policing in the Bolsonaro Movement

Kjetil Bøhler, University of South-Eastern Norway

In the middle of the 2022 election large trucks filled Sao Paulo´s sonic space with a cacophony of horn signals that made it impossible to speak. The only sound that was present at Avenida Paulista, Sao Paulo´s main street, was a deep “Bouuooooooom” sound in the bass register. The sound was colored with Brazilian flags that decorated the front of the trucks while the truck drivers made a hand gesture of a double 2, signaling Bolsonaro´s number, 22. The deep bass sounds entered into my stomach with full force. Then it filled my whole body and gave associations to the first time I attended a dub step concert at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. It was affective and powerful. For 15 minutes I could not speak or hear anything else. Afterwards I asked “Maria” about the sounds, a Bolsonaro supporter that was waiving the Brazilian flag beside me, she smiled and asked back “Isn’t it beautiful?”, then she continued. “This is the future of Brazil, he is our man”. Musical sounds also did important political work for Bolsonaro during the last elections. In Pentecostal churches load gospel music reminded Brazilians that Bolsonaro´s middle name was “Messiahs” while jingles on social media reminded Brazilians of the importance of family values and, more importantly, that Lula was corrupt. Sound in general, and music in particular, was a crucial part of the 2022 election campaign that, potentially, shaped the hearts and souls of disenchanted Brazilians that had lost faith in politics due to corruption scandals. This paper explores how sounds and songs enacted particular forms of sonic policing that provided affective support to Bolsonaro during the 2022 elections, in which he got 49,10% of the votes. Drawing on unique video-data, field-notes and interviews with Bolsonaro supporters I explore how sounds and music intensified pre-existing structures of polarization by encouraging Brazilians to embrace new forms of conservative politics. Specifically, I analyze how the sounds encouraged listeners to vote for a candidate that proposed new collaborations with the military and the church that gave associations to authoritarian politics during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985). I argue that sounds and music provided affective support to Bolsonaro´s election campaign by orchestrating a particular community of Bolsonaro supporters that challenged pre-existing narratives about Brazil´s national identity and history. I theorize these meanings inspired by work on affective politics, populist emotions and the politics of music by developing a new concept of musical populism, which underscores how musical sound both shapes, and are shaped by, political dynamics. The study provides new insights into the close relationship between sonic pleasure, populist sentiment and cultures of policing.

Marketing, Music, and Politics: Jingles in 2022 Brazilian Presidential Elections

Luciana Panke, Professor of Communications at Universidade

Ary Azevedo Jr., Universidade Federal do Parana

Marketing is the process that encourages consumers to choose products and services that provide them benefits and, the greater the brand quality perception, the greater the consume. This approach is increasingly applied to political marketing and electoral campaigns, where candidates intend to differentiate themselves from the opponents by offering more effective solutions to the needs and desires of consumer-citizens. Thus, the candidates highlight their qualities and political proposals aimed at improving the voter’s quality of life, using the advertising discourse, which aims to strengthen the relationship between brand and consumer, to enhance the success of the candidate in the political-electoral market. And jingle is one of the most important advertising tools for developing the candidate´s brand equity. As a persuasive instrument, jingles intend to thrill the electorate using important themes and emotional approaches to persuade the voters and win their preference. Usually, the lyrics emphasizes main points of the candidacy as the name, the voting number and main policy purposes. Also, jingle might be used to disqualify the opponents in the dispute for the citizens vote intentions. In 2022, Brazil had four women candidates for president: Simone Tebet (MDB), Sofia Manzano (PCB), Soraya Thronicke (União Brasil), Vera Lúcia (PSTU). Tebet (MDB), the best placed of them, ended up on third place, after the winner Lula da Silva (PT) and the runner up Jair Bolsonaro (PL). The research presents the campaigns analysis of Tebet, Manzano, Thronicke , Vera Lúcia and highlights the main elements used to reinforce their positions during the election, framing them under three main archetypes of Latin political women, defined by Panke (2015): the Mother; o Professional; the Fighter. In this paper, we will present the archetypes used by these candidates pointing its presence on the jingles to understand their role in candidacy brand equity development.

Favelas 4D' Senseable City Mapping, Borderising Bodies and Algorithmic Policing in Rio de Janeiro

Åsne Håndlykken-Luz, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Culture, religion, and social studies at the University of South-Eastern Norway

This work in progress investigates digital mapping and algorithmic policing in Rio de Janeiro drawing on the recent project Favelas 4D where the favela of Rocinha was mapped by the MIT Senseble City Lab (2022). The aim of the Favelas 4D is to design cities for the future, challenging how residents in informal settlements ‘are largely impervious to traditional mapping technologies, making them invisible and devoid of urban rights’ (The Senseable City Lab, 2022). I plan to conduct interviews with favela residents, in addition to city planners and architects involved in the project. The past decade numerous initiatives unfolding algorithmic policing have been implemented in Rio; the introduction of a smart city control centre, smart police apps; the instalment of permanent cameras with facial recognition capabilities with police the Cidade Integrada programme initiated in Jacarezinho 2022; and the Favelas 4D (MIT, 2022; Tesler, 2022; Håndlykken-Luz, 2022). Recent community mapping initiatives have sought to add visibility to favelas as integral to the city by including them on maps, thus challenging a long history of ‘invisibilisation’. This paper explores favela residents’ experiences and perceptions of digital and sentient mapping and algorithmic policing. Digital mapping also provides data that can be used for control, surveillance, and ultimately the implementation of forced eviction and new forms of hygienisation, acializedion, and pacification. Digital mapping initiatives raise concerns about the unforeseen and polyhedral aspects of such technologies. Finally, this paper discusses how the mapping of the favelas and residents in real time re-actualise another facet of the socio-spatial and racial ordering of the city and urban coloniality—whereby capital and technology allows certain bodies to move freely in an increasingly entangled world, while others are steadily more confined, borderised (Mbembe, 2019), and acialized.

Håndlykken-Luz Å (2022) Licence-to-kill: Residents’ experiences of living in a ‘pacified’ favela in Rio de Janeiro, 2011-2018. Doctoral thesis. University of South-Eastern Norway.

Mbembe A (2019) Bodies as Borders. From the European South (4): 5–18.

MIT Senseable City Lab (2022) Favelas 4D. MIT Senseable City Lab. Available at: (accessed 15 August 2022).

Salazar Miranda A, Du G, Gorman C, et al. (2022) Favelas 4D: Scalable methods for morphology analysis of informal settlements using terrestrial laser scanning data. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science 49(9).

Tesler F (2022) MIT Senseable City Lab uses 3D laser scans to map favelas. Available at:

The Historical Map of Armed Groups in Rio de Janeiro

Daniel Hirata, Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF)

In the last four decades, armed groups have spread throughout the state of Rio de Janeiro and the territorial control of vast urban spaces became a decisive aspect of their informal, illegal and illicit enterprises. The armed territorial control was initially exerted by to the so-called “factions”, whose main economic activities was drug retail sales. However, throughout the last two decades it has become a resource for extorting and coercively monopolizing other market activities and acquisitive strategies. The diversification of armed groups and the dynamics of frequent armed confrontation either with rival criminal groups or the police have resulted in the segmentation of Rio’s urban territories. Such dynamics produces tacit geopolitical boundaries that affect the routine of the residents and interfere with the provision of public services, the local economy, and chances of survival. In the context of this broader process, the emergence and consolidation of the so-called “milícias” were important for the development of a new business model, based on the extraction of economic resources from the control of public services and the harassment of residents and merchants, as well as on relationships of tolerance and connivance of public servants, especially in the area of public security. The Historical Map of Armed Groups in Rio de Janeiro, launched in September 2022, offered unprecedented and crucial contributions to the understanding and dimensioning of armed territorial control, which is one of the most serious and persistent public problems in Brazil. The main outputs of the project were: 1) a new a map of the city of Rio de Janeiro, the metropolitan region and the state, with emphasis on the territories pertinent to armed territorial control – the favelas, social housing projects and sub-neihborhoods; 2) an automated classification methodology of the Disque Denúncia database that enables the identification of various modalities of the exercise of armed territorial control – such as the greater emphasis on extortion or drug sales, for example; 3) indicators of armed territorial control by type and name of criminal organization in favelas, social housing projects, sub-neighborhoods and neighborhoods; and 4) maps, tables and graphs with the historical evolution of armed territorial control in the city, metropolitan region and the state of Rio de Janeiro between 2006 and 2021.

Militarized managerialism and the bolsonarian dystopia in Brazil

Bruno Cardoso, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

In Brazil, the armed forces and the police were amongst the main supporters of Jair Bolsonaro and were also in a central position to the operationalization of his far-right government. After more than a decade researching command and control centers focused on public security in Rio de Janeiro, I argue that, in addition to the high number of military and police who were participating in the government, occupying important and secondary positions in the state’s operating structure, one of the factors that boosted bolsonarism and gave it some legitimacy was the development of what I called militarized managerialism. In this lecture I will show the relationship of this logic of government with the cycle of megaevents in Brazil (from 2013 to 2016) and the security technologies industries, especially command and control technologies, and some transformations from inside the State that are related to it.

“Everything is monitored’: surveillance and mobility in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro

Palloma Menezes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

Over the last few years, surveillance cameras, cell phones, and drones have been increasingly used as surveillance devices that help monitor and control the mobility (or immobility) of bodies, objects, and information in favelas in Rio de Janeiro. This paper presents ongoing research on when, where, and how these surveillance devices are used by different actors – such as drug dealers, police, militiamen, or favela dwellers – and their impacts on sociability, mobilities (or immobilities), and forms of mobilization in favela territories. The analysis assumes that these surveillance and counter-surveillance devices can play a transformative role and modify some aspects of everyday life in favelas, giving rise to new phenomenologies of dwelling – new ways of being in the favela. The paper presents mappings and analyses of the daily uses of these surveillance devices and the disputes around them. The study frames these surveillance devices from the point of view of the coercion they inflict and the support they offer to individuals, i.e., as an element that represses and constrains but also empowers and impels action

Cosmologies of War: Policing in Rio de Janeiro

Tomas Salem, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen

In this text I will examine the different sociohistorical and cultural trajectories that coalesce around the exercise of police authority in Rio de Janeiro through the notion of cosmologies of war. Acknowledging the longstanding configuration of policing-as-warfare against racialized territories and populations in Brazil, I want to unpack the moral universe and cosmological orders that are produced through the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro’s war on crime and show how these have been nurtured by and contributed to the emergence of the movement that supports Jair Bolsonaro. I will suggest that the Deleuzian concept of war-machine and state dynamics offer a powerful theoretical framework through which apparently contradicting perspectives on policing in Brazil can be synthesized.

Conference Organizers

Paulo Terra (

Tomas Salem (

Kjetil Klette Bøhler (

This conference is funded by The Research Council of Norway under project no. 313626 – Algorithmic Governance and Cultures of Policing: Comparative Perspectives from Norway, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa (AGOPOL).


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