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Workshop: Algorithmic Governance and Cultures of Policing @OsloMet

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

Police departments across the globe are embracing big data and machine learning in crime fighting and prevention, not without resistance.
Join us in person for our critical discussion of these developments!

AGOPOL Workshop / Algorithmic Governance Research Network

Time: April 8, 2022 – 8:30 – 18:00

Organizer: Work Research Institute, Oslo Metropolitan University

Photo by Darlene Alderson from Pexels

Algorithmic Governance and Cultures of Policing

Police departments across the globe are embracing artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, machine learning and more to support decision making in preventing crime and disorder. The use of digital technologies and the growing role of private security, tech, and consultancy companies, are reshaping policing and the ways in which we ensure social order and security, enforce law, and prevent and investigate crime. Despite the growing amount of attention in the research community and public opinion directed at the use of these technologies in policing and security provision, the radical transformation of cultures of policing through tech is little understood. Silicon Valley’s ‘tech solutionism’ is making its way into law enforcement agencies across the globe through the rise of public-private partnerships and the influence of the private security in tandem with tech industries is growing. Public-private partnerships drive police reforms, global consulting companies shape the visions of future policing, and public policing models are commodified and globally marketed. Recent scholarship widely agrees that these technologies and new public-private partnerships are reshaping the ways we police societies, organize police work, produce criminal intelligence, and prevent crime. The cultures of policing are being transformed: from the organizational and knowledge cultures within the police, its institutional and professional logic, to the effects of the expansion of tech-driven punitive solutionism that aims to anticipate, predict, and control (future) human behaviour, and punish deviance based on quantified risk, predictive models, and algorithmic decisions. Policing is in other words becoming more hybrid: new players proliferate while technological companies embed behavioural nudges and law into the code.

What happens when security, policing, knowledge, and our societies, and our institutions, become increasingly governed through or with support of opaque algorithmic systems that raise questions of accountability, justice, and legitimacy? What gets lost when we rely on aggregated data, correlations, and modelling? What are the impacts of the intertwined processes of datafication, securitization, and commodification of security on policing?

We invite you to join us in discussing these and related questions and explore the diverse consequences of algorithmic governance for police forces, those policed, and society at large: from the transformation of knowledge cultures and police organizations to the effects of data-driven policing, such as algorithmic injustices and their impact on legitimacy and societal trust.

Conference Program

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8:30 – 9:00 Breakfast & Registration

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome by Organizers

Tereza Østbø Kuldova, Christin Thea Wathne, Helene O. I. Gundhus

9:10 – 9:30 Coded Vision: Datafied Visibilities and the Production of Political Futures by Mikkel Flyverbom

Coded Visions

Datafied Visibilities and the Production of Political Futures

Mikkel Flyverbom

Copenhagen Business School

This talk is based on a chapter for a forthcoming volume on the ‘Politics of Visibility’, and is co-authored with Frederik Schade. Data analytics and automated forms of pattern recognition are a new frontier of action and influence, particularly in the shape of digital advertising, business intel­ligence and predictions. Data enthusiasts and big tech companies are busy rolling out data- driven, algorithmic approaches to security and police work, consumer analytics, human resource management and other forms of governance. The goal is usually more accurate, more proactive and more objective methods for the anticipation of developments on the horizon – the opportunity to shape futures from the van­tage point of the present. We argue that such datafied, algorithmic visibilities, or ‘coded visions’, constitute new forms of political interventions that are worth exploring if we want to make sense of the politics of visibility that this volume is about. The chapter articulates how attempts to make social phenomena visible and governable through data and algorithmic sorting involve complex forms of knowledge work and socio-material entanglements that deserve more attention. To understand how futures are produced and steered through data and algorithms, we need to return to fundamental questions about how social worlds become seeable, knowable, and governable through situated processes of knowledge pro­duction. Focusing on policing and anti-radicalization efforts as two compelling cases that serve to highlight our arguments about the consequences of digital transformations for politics and visibility, we illustrate how human actions are turned into digital information and how such operations come to shape political interventions. By unpacking the technical, material and practical ‘production of visibilities’ in the context of governance efforts, we highlight the political conse­quences of bringing social phenomena into the register of the visible or turning things into objects of visibility. The chapter contributes to emergent research on how digital transformations and processes of datafication (Mejias and Couldry 2019) condition and relate to contemporary attempts to frame and govern soci­etal challenges and opportunities. The ambition is to conceptualize and illustrate the workings of digital visibility as a distinct mode of anticipatory governance and – by extension – a novel contemporary shape taken by politics and political interventions. The kinds of coded visions that we explore pave the way for novel kinds of politics, what we term a ‘politics of prediction’ and a ‘politics of conver­sion’, both of which have far-reaching and potentially problematic ramifications.

Mikkel Flyverbom is Professor with special responsibilities in communication and digital transformations at Copenhagen Business School, where he also co-directs the Digital Transformations platform. His work on technology, transparency, governance and the politics of datafication has been published in, for example, Business & Society, The Information Society, Organization Studies and Big Data & Society, as well as a number of books. His newest book is The Digital Prism: Transparency and Managed Visibilities in a Datafied World (Cambridge University Press). He also serves on the Danish government’s Data Ethics Council and writes a tech column for the newspaper Politiken.

9:30 – 9:50 Digitalization and Private Economies of Knowledge in Criminal Justice by Katja Franko and Heidi Mork Lomell

Digitalization and Private Economies of Knowledge in Criminal Justice

Katja Franko

University of Oslo

Heidi Mork Lomell

University of Oslo

Digital technologies are redefining the meaning of knowledge and expertise in criminal justice and policing. Yet, while the how of digital policing is increasingly attracting academic attention, we know far less about who the providers of new forms of digital knowledge are and what kind of impact they have on criminal justice decision making. In Norway, like in many other countries, the implementation of criminal justice reform has been promoted by, and relied heavily on, the use of private providers of expertise, particularly management- and IT-consultants. This paper brings focus on the connections between digitalization and privatization and examines how commercial and private knowledge regimes become encoded into state practices. Digitalization not only creates new knowledge hegemonies but also increases epistemic power of certain actors. The production of marketable knowledge has become a vital (if not the vital) aspect of the contemporary political economy (Zuboff, 2019). We argue that accounts of the changes in contemporary criminal justice also need to capture social transformations connected to the intersections of digitalization, privatization and marketization of knowledge. We need a better understanding of the relationship between science and the economy and how we should negotiate the boundaries of what should be considered private and public knowledge. The paper is exploratory in nature and a) aims to present an overview of the various types of private knowledge providers in the field of criminal justice, and b) explore the normative issues raised by their growing influence. Its main argument is that digitalization of knowledge should be examined not only as a techno-cultural but also as a socio-economic phenomenon which raises pressing questions about the relationship between the state and the market and the proper role of private interest. Private knowledge providers are shaping not only the understanding of expertise but also the nature and quality of decision-making, particularly its transparency and public nature.

Katja Franko is Professor of Criminology at the University of Oslo. She has published extensively on globalisation, migration and border control, international police co-operation and the use of advanced information and communication technologies in crime control strategies. Her recent publications include Globalization and crime (3rd edition, 2020, Sage) and The crimmigrant other: Migration and penal power (2020, Routledge).

Heidi Mork Lomell is Professor in Criminology at the University of Oslo, has among other published extensively on crime prevention, surveillance and ICTs and social construction of statistics, including its historic dimensions. She is currently leading the Nordic Research Council for Criminology. Her research interests include criminalization and securitization, surveillance, preventive politics, plus studies of policing practices.

9:50 – 10:10 'They're the Ones with the Guns and the Apps’ – Interrogating the Danish POL-INTEL System by Vasilis Galis and Björn Karlsson

‘They're the Ones with the Guns and the Apps’ - Interrogating the Danish POL-INTEL System

Vasilis Galis and Björn Karlsson

IT University of Copenhagen

In this paper the first snapshot of fieldwork on the Danish police’s POL-INTEL system will be showcased. POL-INTEL is a program made by Palantir Technologies and offers the Danish police access to a wide variety of police databases as well as visualization tools such as construction of “hot spot” heat maps to organize patrols. Methodological issues are particularly pertinent in research which investigates an organization that increasingly craves data but also carefully manages what information it offers. This paper critically studies the public debate on POL-INTEL where both critics of the program, who make the case that it’s a system of mass surveillance, and its proponents suggest that the program is highly efficient and that technologies like these offer police incredible and effective tools whether used for bad or good. Furthermore, the concept of prediction – a term anathema to Danish police – is critically examined, as well as the particularities of the relations between state, police, and citizens (and non-citizens) with a focus on gender, class, and ethnicity. Lastly, considerations of what the introduction of the program and accompanying strategies does to the police organization itself on a practical level as well as a management tool is highlighted.

Vasilis Galis is associate professor in the Technologies in Practice (TIP) group at the IT University of Copenhagen. Galis’ research is interdisciplinary, and it is impregnated by a strong epistemological solidarity with social movements. Galis has published on social movements, migration and sociotechnical systems from a Science and Technology Studies (STS) perspective. He is the PI for Critical Understanding of Predictive Policing project, funded by Nordforsk.

Björn Karlsson is a PhD student at the IT University of Copenhagen in the Technologies in Practice group where he works on a PhD in the Critical Understanding of Predictive Policing (CUPP) project with the particular case of the Danish police POL-INTEL system. His background is in sociology, gender studies and philosophy and his research interests include ontology, epistemology, social movements, political philosophy, welfare and digitalization.

10:10 – 10:30 Q&A

10:30 – 10:40 Break

10:40 – 11:00 Speculative Identities: Speculation and DNA technologies in law enforcement by Mareile Kaufmann

Speculative Identities

Speculation and DNA technologies in law enforcement

Mareile Kaufmann

University of Oslo

A new biometric entity emerges in the landscape of digital policing practices: DNA. Our genetic code is increasingly registered, digitized and stored. This presentation shows how DNA is integrated into big data practices, especially in relation to hardware, databases and software. While doing so, it addresses the speculative nature of digital DNA analyses in law enforcement, their impact on forensic procedure and on those targeted. In order to discuss this dynamic between DNA analysis, identification and identity the term “speculative identities” is introduced. Speculation is, for example, integrated in new hardware for DNA analyses as both, sequencing and algorithms used to do sequencing differ across products. Speculative elements also show in the organization of databases. As the number of DNA databases is rising, the storage of DNA data is more comprehensive than ever before. Databases are used for matching the DNA of an unknown individual with those of known individuals. The crux is that DNA databases are biased in the sense that each of them is organized differently. These differences in database design affect the ways in which information is accessed and analyzed. The rise of databases is not the only transformation in DNA analyses, but new software analyzes the regions of the genome that are expressed as physical traits. This process is called phenotyping. With this process, DNA analytics move from ascertaining whether a person is who they claim to be towards a speculation about their appearance. Computational means are used to “derive” multiple identities from DNA, casting them as possible targets into the future. They are speculations drawn into investigations and intelligence work. In a last step, the presentation problematizes how such technologies perform their own identity politics as speculation becomes embodied in promises, analytic technologies and the bodies of the targeted.

Mareile Kaufmann is an associate professor at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Oslo, where she seeks to consolidate the field of digital criminology. In her work on data and surveillance practices she uses qualitative research designs that combine theory with innovative angles and strong empirical components. She has worked on numerous European research projects. Her most recent project “Digital DNA” was selected for funding under the ERC Starting Grant scheme and her project “Bodies of Evidence” is funded by the Research Council of Norway. She has consulted the Norwegian Data Protection Commission, the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board and serves on the Editorial Board of Qualitative Research. Contact:

11:00 – 11:20 Accountability and Emergent Technology: Values, Principles, Concerns by Jens Erik Paulsen

Accountability and Emergent Technology

Values, Principles, Concerns

Jens Erik Paulsen

Norwegian Police University College

Most commentators seem to agree that the police need to adopt new types of technology in order to counter novel forms of crime in our increasingly “smarter” society. In order to succeed, the police need proper technology, suitable methods, and competent personnel. Although many off-the-shelf applications are available, in-house innovation, testing, training, and modification is necessary in order to close the digital crime gap, and make sure that the technical solutions are effective, lawful, ethically sound, as well as socially acceptable. Many emerging digital technologies make use of artificial intelligence. As AI induces both expectations and fear, much effort has been put into establishing fundamental principles that can provide guidance to the development and use of AI. However, exactly how these principles should be applied to specific emerging technologies is not clear. Particularly within the realm of policing, this may be problematic as the police sometimes are granted a broader leeway than is the case generally, but sometimes also a narrower range of options. In my presentation, I shall address three interconnected questions: (1) In what sense can central concerns like “accountability” and “responsibility” be reproduced by AI-driven systems? (2) Which clusters of values underpin the central principles? (3) To what extent do various systems depend on the values and virtues of the human operators, and what expert competences are required in different modes of interaction? In my opinion, these are important questions both to the assessment and the use of AI technologies, particularly in situations where the central principles seem to be at odds with each other. They are particularly relevant to the “accountability, and rule of law in policing”, and to “exploring the transformations of expert knowledge”.

Jens Erik Paulsen is Professor at the Norwegian Police University College, a computer engineer, and holds a degree (Ph.D) in philosophy from the University of Oslo, Norway. He is teaching professional ethics at the Police University College and is currently doing research into applied ethics as well as topics within science and technology studies. Contact:

11:20 – 11:40 The Shadow Architecture of Learning in Online Police Investigation by Mia R. K. Hartmann

The Shadow Architecture of Learning in Online Police Investigation

Mia R. K. Hartmann

University of Southern Denmark

As the traces of people’s social interactions and virtual lives become increasingly relevant for police investigations, online technologies are rapidly permeating the tasks, profession and organization of law enforcement. However, the exponential growth of available online technologies and information is generally known to create gaps of adaptations (Azhar, 2021), as evidenced also in gaps of organizational mastery of policing (Manning, 2008). When faced with such gaps of mastery, police professionals may employ different forms of responses ranging from evading or ignoring new technologies to actively seeking out new possibilities that technologies may afford in their daily work (e.g., Chan, 2003). Focusing on the adaptation to technology through learning practices in the area of digital transformation of online police investigation, the central contention of this paper is that gaps of technological mastery generate organic and informal new practices, forms and organizing of learning at the grassroots which, over time, comprise a social architecture of learning which, to a large extent, remains hidden to the formal organization. Drawing on recent advances in organization studies on the effects of new technologies on organizational work processes and learning, I argue that Beane’s (2019) concept of shadow learning offers a promising avenue for understanding how new technology may force successful learners to individually engage in unconventional learning practices that violate authorized norms and policies for learning. From this lens, a systematic reading of the scarce amount studies on digital transformation of police investigation suggests that we may not only see examples of shadow learning practices in the digital age of policing; we may indeed expect these practices to collide and merge with traditional professional values and organization of police investigation in ways that create an ‘shadow architecture’ of a more systemic structure that tends to be unrecognized and invisible for the formal organization.

Azhar, Azeem, 2021: Exponential: How accelerating technology is leaving us behind and what to do about it. Cornerstone Digital.

Beane, Matthew, 2019: Shadow learning: Building robotic surgical skill when approved means fail. Administrative Science Quarterly, 64 (1), 87-123.

Chan, 2003: Police and new technologies, in T. Newburn (ed.), The Handbook of Policing, Cullompton: Willan.

Manning, Peter, 2008: The technology of policing: crime mapping, information technology, and the rationality of crime control. New York University Press.

Mia Rosa Koss Hartmann is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for War Studies, University of Southern Denmark. She currently works on two research projects: 1) ‘the online police gaze: police discretion in the digital age’, funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, studying new learning practices and the ‘hybridization’ of competences in online police work based on empirical material from Germany, Norway and Denmark) and 2) ‘INTELHUB’ funded by the Carlsberg Foundation with the aim of establishing a research community for intelligence studies in Scandinavia. Her background is in organizational psychology, and in her previous research she has primarily studied frontline innovation inside police bureaucracy through in-depth qualitative empirical studies.

11:40 – 12:00 Q & A

12:00 – 12:40 Lunch

12:40 – 13:00 Online Community Policing: Reshaping Police Patrols in the Digital Age by Kira Virst Rønn

Online Community Policing

Reshaping Police Patrols in the Digital Age

Kira Vrist Rønn

University of Southern Denmark

Online policing is an umbrella concept for a variety of tasks involving Internet-related police activities and actions (Bowling and Sheptycki 2019; Bulluck 2018; Gundhus, Talberg and Wathne 2019). The focus of this study is on how the transformation from analogue to online spaces affects policing in practice with specific emphasis on online police patrols. The purpose of police patrols on the Internet are often expressed as general crime prevention. Despite widespread political attention, uniformed online policing with the aim of preventing crime and engaging with local communities is still a rather new phenomenon (Ralph 2021). Empirically, this study is based on qualitative interviews and participatory observations in The Norwegian Police. The study sets out to identity the variety of ways in which the police can, and do, conduct online patrolling in Norway (Sunde 2019). Based on the empirical observations the study reveals at least three interesting themes in relation to the digital transformation of police patrols. First, a large part of the digital patrols is devoted to trust-building measures, with a general attempt to “humanise” the police officers. These measures are expressed as efforts intending to lower the threshold and willingness on the side of the public (especially the younger population) to reach out to the local police service. Second, despite the space displacement, special emphasis is placed on the importance of local web patrols serving as equivalents to local police officers on the streets of local communities. This emphasis on mediated proximity and the emphasis on serving the local population, is somewhat paradoxical when the patrols are facilitated by worldwide and global platforms. Third, the digital interaction between citizens and police officers differs from non-digital dialogue in various ways. Most importantly, the authority of the police officers is carried out without means of power. Thus, conflicts can only be resolved via communication, which call for police officers with specific communication and conflict-degrading competences.

Bowling, B., R. Reiner & Sheptycki, J. (2019), The Politics of the Police, 5th edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Bulluck, K. (2018), “The Police Use of Social Media: Transformation or Normalisation?”, Social Policy & Society, 17 (2): 245–258

Gundhus, H., Talberg, N. & Wathne, C.T. (2019), “Politiskjønnet under press” in Det Digitale er et Hurtigtog: 83-116. Oslo: Fagbokforlaget; Sunde, I.M. & N. Sunde (eds.) (2019), Det Digitale er et Hurtigtog!, Oslo: Fagboksforlaget.

Ralph, Liam (2021): “The dynamic nature of police legitimacy on social media”, Policing and Society, Online first.

Sunde, I.-M. (2019), ”Patruljering på internett”. In Straff & frihet – Til vern om den liberale rettsstat. Festskrift til Tor-Aksel Busch. Sæther, K.E., Kvande, K.A, Torgersen, R. og Stridbeck, U. (eds.). Oslo: Gyldendal: 597-608.

Kira Vrist Rønn is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark. Policing Intelligence and national security have long been her main area of research. She focuses both on theory and practice, and her ambition is to harvest the many fruits that come from integrating thinking about concrete security practices with theoretical conceptualisations. Currently, she runs the research project “The Online Police Gaze” founded by The Independent Research Fund Denmark. The project focuses on the practices of online policing. The ability of the police to navigate digital spaces is increasingly necessary to counteract cybercrime and maintain public safety. The purpose of the project is to scrutinize the preconditions for online policing both patrolling and online investigations. Furthermore, she is PI on the research project, INTELHUB, which is sponsored by The Carlsberg Foundation. The scope of INTELHUB is to develop a Scandinavian research environment on Intelligence Studies with a focus on trust and legitimacy vis-à-vis the public. Contact:

13:00 – 13:20 AI for Police Reform in the United States: On the Algorithmic Normalization of Police Violence by Matthew Nesvet

AI for Police Reform in the United States

On the Algorithmic Normalization of Police Violence

Matthew Nesvet

Miami Dade College

This paper explores the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to reform police, analyzing how for-profit criminal justice experts and the “compliance-tech” industry deploy AI to govern police violence. By analyzing how a police accountability software system in widespread use at police agencies encodes state violence at a police department in the southern United States, I discuss how politicotechnical processes underlie the algorithmic normalization of police violence. Based on a year of fieldwork in this police department’s court-ordered reform and auditing unit and interviews with chiefs of police, officers, criminal justice experts, compliance-tech executives, and activists, I describe how police accountability AI quantifies and compares police uses of force incidents at the individual level, directing attention to those who deviate from a given unit’s mean level of violence while normalizing the everyday violence each unit and the department as a whole enacts. At many police agencies, this mobilization of AI to manage violence so it converges to a mean and can remain unseen replaces judicial and political efforts to reduce department-wide violence. In contrast to how scholars describe public surveillance and surveillance capitalism (e.g. Zuboff 2018; Brown 2015; Foucault 1980, 1982), AI for police accountability achieves power with knowledge of select low-level workers that obfuscates how police systemically use violence and disrupts the political sociality needed to contain it. The result is that police monitoring AI, like policing, addresses systemic violence by surveilling and punishing select workers, leaving sources of their violence unaddressed. AI thinkers from Descartes to Turing and McCarthy have described machines that imitate cognition but lack autonomy. AI oversight of state violence imitates politics and sociality without deviating from a scripted outcome. This is how police enlist monitoring AI to perform “algorithmic governmentality” (Rouvroy 2013 et al) and neutralize collective efforts to think and disrupt carceral violence.

Matthew Nesvet (PhD 2020) is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Miami Dade College. Previously, he was a criminal justice expert at the U.S. Congressional Research Service, where he wrote CRS Reports and briefed Members of Congress on policy issues related to criminal justice. His exposé on the revolving door of government police reformers and private policing experts who prevented meaningful reform of the New Orleans Police Department was published in The Appeal in 2019, based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork embedded at police headquarters. He has been interviewed about police reform by The Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, NPR, and Boston Weekly, among other media, and his writings on the police reform industry have been cited in publications such as The Nation. His scholarship on policing and the science and technology behind state violence in the US and South Africa is variously in print, forthcoming, and in progress. Contact:

13:20 – 13:40 RegTech, Compliance and the Private Intelligence Industry: Pluralization of Policing in the Context of Regulatory and Surveillance Capitalism by Tereza Østbø Kuldova

RegTech, Compliance and the Private Intelligence Industry

Pluralization of Policing in the Context of Regulatory and Surveillance Capitalism

Tereza Østbø Kuldova

Oslo Metropolitan University

RegTech, or the regulatory technologies industry, is one of the fastest growing segments of the compliance industry, moving from finance into other highly regulated industries and promising to leverage new advances in machine learning, big data analytics and natural language processing to “disrupt” and “innovate” anti-money laundering (AML) compliance and the fight against corruption, financial crime, terrorist financing and other harms and crimes. RegTech promises to cut costs and deliver integrated solutions spanning regulatory monitoring, rapid identification of regulatory obligations, integrated and up-to date compliance management platforms and workflow systems, expanded possibilities for monitoring, surveillance and internal risk and threat assessments, and other services within KYC, AML, beneficial ownership tracking, sanctions intelligence, identification, authorization, verification, and more. While legal scholars discuss the consequences of this ‘platformization of regulation’ and datafication of law, even pondering the possibilities of ‘personalized law’ with predictive capabilities, criminology and legal and organizational anthropology have been so far rather silent on this industry despite its increasing role in the fight against corruption, money-laundering and related crimes. Building on Verhage, who rightly argued that the compliance industry needs to be understood in terms of pluralization and privatization of policing (Verhage 2011), I will expand on this analysis and extend it into an analysis of governance in the context of regulatory and surveillance capitalism (Levi-Faur 2017; Zuboff 2019) and informed by insights from surveillance and critical algorithm studies. Moreover, I will discuss the increasing integration of compliance with private intelligence industries, the reasons behind this and the possible consequences. Grounded in digital ethnography of the RegTech and compliance industry, policy, product, and document analysis, as well as interviews with compliance officers and other experts, this paper thus aims to open a critical discussion of the increasing and yet often expertly hidden power of compliance as a particular mode of governance that imitates data-driven policing while appropriating intelligence techniques and hybridizing criminal law.

Tereza Østbø Kuldova is a Research Professor at the Work Research Institute, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University. She is a social anthropologist and the author of How Outlaws Win Friends and Influence People (Palgrave, 2019), Luxury Indian Fashion: A Social Critique (Bloomsbury, 2016), co-editor of Crime, Harm and Consumerism (Routledge, 2020), Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs and Street Gangs (Palgrave, 2018), Urban Utopias: Excess and Expulsion in Neoliberal South Asia (Palgrave, 2017), in addition to numerous articles. She is currently working on algorithmic governance, surveillance, corruption and crime, and artificial intelligence in policing and the welfare state. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Extreme Anthropology and of the Algorithmic Governance Research Network. Email:

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

Verhage, Antoinette. 2011. The Anti Money Laundering Complex and the Compliance Industry. London: Routledge.

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

13:40 – 14:00 Q&A

14:00 – 14: 20 Break

14:20 – 14:40 From Criminal Cartography to Geospatial Predictive Policing: A Critical Reconstruction by Carlo Gatti

From Criminal Cartography to Geospatial Predictive Policing

A Critical Reconstruction

Carlo Gatti

University of Turku, Finland

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of interest in predictive policing, with a clear opposition emerging between supporters and critics of its implementation. While critical analyses conventionally point to operational asymmetries (biased training, feedback loop, skewed data collection), opacities, and gnoseological traps interwoven with crime patterns, I argue that a deeper critique is preliminarily needed. Focusing on place-based techniques, I maintain that contemporary predictive methods reveal a basic continuity with the political and epistemic dictates historically framing the conceptualization of crime in relation to space. Two main conceptual axes validate and operationalize this heritage: first, the junction between the rational-action theory and the socio-economic deficit paradigm; secondly, the ontologisation of crime along lines other than biologicist positivism, but still integral to the etiologic paradigm. Therefore, any attempt to promote a fair and transparent use of predictive calculations should first problematise the persistence of these ideological bottlenecks and, on that ground, radically reconsider simplistic differentiations between place-based and person-based predictions.

Carlo Gatti is a salaried doctoral candidate of Turku University, where he is conducting his research on the asymmetries associated with the implementation of predictive policing in Europe, and the role of private corporations involved therein, in the framework of the UTUGS program, after being first awarded an EDUFI Fellowship. He has a Master’s Degree in Law from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, where he specialized in the criminal dogmatics about crimes of opinion and repression of dissent, and a Master´s Degree in Criminology and Sociology of Law from the Barcelona University (UB), where he deepened the transformations in the repression techniques in the austerity age and became a member of the Observatory of the Penal System and Human Rights (OSPDH) of the same University. Contact:

14:40 – 15:00 Police investigations and Facial Recognition in Delhi by Shivangi Narayan

Police investigations and Facial Recognition in Delhi

Shivangi Narayan

Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

This paper is an ethnographic account of the use of facial recognition by Delhi Police in the investigation of a three-day violent episode in India’s capital city, Delhi where members of the majority community (Hindus) committed acts of arson, loot, murder on the members of the minority community (Muslims). The minority community also attacked the former in self-defence. The attacks came close to nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) proposed by the central government. Several youth, majority of them Muslim, 18-40 years of age were arrested and jailed for allegedly rioting and inflaming religious tensions in North East Delhi. A number of them were arrested using the newly acquired facial recognition software which helped the police in analysing CCTV footage of the riots. In this paper, I investigate the ways in which CCTV cameras and facial recognition was used by Delhi Police to force the Muslim youth of North East Delhi, and consequently their community, into submission. This is significant in the context of the social and political change in India where Hindu majoritarianism has become mainstream. This paper will reiterate the arguments about bias and fairness of technological systems made in previous work (Marda and Narayan 2020, 2021) arguing that objectivity/neutrality of the technological systems depends a lot on the location and social context in which these systems are set up, designed, and trained and used. This paper will be based on an ongoing ethnographic study to understand the impact of CCTV cameras and facial recognition on urban life in the North East part of Delhi. This area has been chosen because of the active use of facial recognition in the context of the 2020 riots and also because of the inherent assumptions of the police officers and people of Delhi of the area being violent and crime prone.

Shivangi Narayan is a Researcher based at JNU, looking at Digital Policing in India for the Algorithmic Governance and Cultures of Policing (AGOPOL) project, 2021-2024. She finished her PhD from the Centre for Studies of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in 2021. Her areas of interest are Algorithmic Policing Systems, Digital Identification and paper based criminal records. Her book “Surveillance as Governance - Aadhaar|Big Data in Governance” was published in 2021.

Marda, Vidushi, and Shivangi Narayan. 2020. “Data in New Delhi’s Predictive Policing System.” In Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency, 317–24. FAT* ’20. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery.

Marda, Vidushi, and Shivangi Narayan. 2021. “On the Importance of Ethnographic Methods in AI Research.” Nature Machine Intelligence 3 (3): 187–89.

Durkheim, Émile, and George Simpson. 1933. Émile Durkheim on The division of labour in society. New York: Macmillan

15:00 – 15:20 The Rest of It: How Russian Post-Soviet Reforms Failed to Dissolve Plan System in Government and Policing, and How it Affects Contemporary Policing Culture by Ella Paneyakh

The Rest of It

How Russian Post-Soviet Reforms Failed to Dissolve Plan System in Government and Policing, and How it Affects Contemporary Policing Culture

Ella Paneyakh

College of International and Public Relations Prague, Czech Republic

Despite common view, the plan system was not completely dissolved in the course of post-Soviet market reforms; instead, market economy, as well as some other fields for independent human activity (e.g. cultural and political entrepreneurship) had been allowed to proliferate within the framework of dense and rigid ‘accounting and control’ practices that still dominate in government and policing. Since the beginning of Soviet history, Lenin’s ‘accounting and control’ system was designed initially to control not only production and distribution of goods, but also labor force (including police and government personnel), and to establish and maintain deep political control over citizens. In the times of New Economic policy (1920s) that follows a short period of war communism, most of the economy still operated outside the plan system, or on the brink between market and plan. Enforcement agency, as well as a large public corporation, regulative authority, and the Communist party itself were the main types of locations where the ‘accounting and control’ governmentality matured and acquired its typical features: KPI-oriented work, rigid internal regulations, dense accounting and reporting, involvement of street-level personnel into accounting work, criminalization of deviations. During consolidation of Soviet regime these practices gradually spread over all types of organizations, but they bear the imprint of their origins. After the collapse of Soviet Union many new presumably plan-free fields of action (Fligstein 2011) emerged, including market economy. But the role of arbiters within these fields still belonged to the agencies managed in the ‘plan’ logic: courts, regulative authorities, and, to the largest extent of all, to enforcement agencies (Yakovlev 2021). Attempts of reforms in these critical areas failed to destroy internal practices of ‘soviet’ management, while most external checks on enforcement agencies had been gradually lifted. This led to formation of policing culture based on bureaucratic accountability (Paneyakh 2014). Digitalization of police work interacts with post-plan in interesting and partially unexpected ways.

Ella Paneyakh, PhD, is a researcher in the College of International and Public Relations Prague, Czech Republic. Before she was a Docent at the Sociology Department, National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg campus, 2015-2020. In 2009-2015 she worked as a professor in the Department of Political Science and Sociology at the European University at St. Petersburg, and as a Director and Senior researcher for the Institute for the Rule of Law in the same university. Previously, she studied as a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department of the University of Michigan (2002–2009) and received an M.A. from the Department of Political Science and Sociology at the European University at St. Petersburg (2001). In 1996, she received a specialist diploma in Economics in the St. Petersburg University of Economics and Finance. She has been a columnist for Vedomosti in 2002-2020, and she received a “Liberal mission” journalism award in 2020. She is a member of the Redkollegia Award panel. She has also written for Forbes-Russia, Eurozine and many other media.

Fligstein, Neil, and Doug McAdam. "Toward a general theory of strategic action fields." Sociological theory 29.1 (2011): 1-26.

Yakovlev, Andrei. "Composition of the ruling elite, incentives for productive usage of rents, and prospects for Russia’s limited access order." Post-Soviet Affairs 37.5 (2021): 417-434.

15:20 – 15:40 Shift or assimilation? Changes in the daily Moscow law enforcers practices after its digitalization by Dmitrii Serebrennikov

Shift or assimilation?

Changes in the daily Moscow law enforcers practices after its digitalization

Dmitrii Serebrennikov

Institute for the Rule of Law, EU SP

Law enforcement agencies use new technologies around the world, but in recent decades, its dramatic growth has begun to change the day-to-day practices of ordinary law enforcement officers. Sarah Brayne (2017) calls such changes as “shifts” of varying degrees. However, does the digitalization of the police always lead to significant “shifts”? Or will new technologies be assimilated by old practices and not provide any changes? This study proposes to look at digitalization in the context of a hyper-centralized, technically backward, and closed to external observer system of Russian law enforcement. To examine the research questions, I conducted nine in-depth interviews (its collection continues) with criminal investigators and police officers in Moscow, which has the most modern technologies for the work of law enforcers in the country. I briefly review two sides of digitalization. First - how does technology impact the practice of law enforcement officers (for example, surveillance cameras with biometrics, new examinations, the introduction of new databases, dissemination of messengers among police officers). Second and on the contrary, – what allows the police to assimilate new changes and prevent radical “shifts” in working practices such as preservation of paper workflow and old organizational structure, the conservatism of the authority. Based on the results, interpretation of the "shift" concept in the context of the Moscow police will be discussed. The broader context of my speech will be devoted to different cases in which new technologies are radically affecting the work of police officers as well as cases when existing institutions manage to assimilate and neutralize their influence.

Dmitrii Serebrennikov graduated with a BA in history and an MA in sociology from the European University in St. Petersburg, he also completed an additional program in applied data science (EU SP & Yandex). Since 2020, Serebrennikov has been working at the Institute for the Rule of Law at the EU SP. He is involved in quantitative and qualitative research of urban security systems in Russia (primarily surveillance cameras). At the moment, he is writing articles on the material of spatial analysis of CCTV location in different cities, as well as on data from interviews with the heads of surveillance camera monitoring centers and law enforcement officers. He is theoretically interested in the topics of social security and surveillance studies and how the technologically backward Russian police are adapting to new technologies.

15:40 – 16:00 Q&A

16:00 – 16:20 Break

16:20 – 16:40 Policing, New Technologies and Resistance in Brazil: The Fight Against the Introduction of Photography in the 19th Century and the Mobilization Against Artificial Intelligence in the 21st Century by Paulo Cruz Terra

Policing, New Technologies and Resistance in Brazil

The Fight Against the Introduction of Photography in the 19th Century and the Mobilization Against Artificial Intelligence in the 21st Century

Paulo Cruz Terra

Fluminense Federal University, Brazil

In January 1900, land transport workers from the then capital of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, stopped the movement of vehicles and goods through the city in a strike that had as one of the reasons the possible obligation to be photographed by the police. As in other countries, photography technology was increasingly used by the Brazilian Police in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2021, a bill was brought to the City Council of Rio de Janeiro, currently the second-most populous city in Brazil with 6.7 million inhabitants, to ban the use of facial recognition technology by the municipal government, including the police. The project justifies that it was made from the contribution of militants from civil society organizations involved in activism related to the use of artificial intelligence. This paper aims to analyze the population’s resistance to the use of new technologies by the police in two different historical moments. In this sense, it intends to investigate the meanings attributed by activists to these new technologies used in security and what strategies were found. The research concerning the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century is mainly based on the analysis of newspapers, while for the present moment, it includes the press and interviews with activists.

Paulo Cruz Terra is a professor at the History Department of Fluminense Federal University in Brazil. He was an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, in Germany, during 2019 and 2020. Currently, he is a researcher of the Project Algorithmic Governance and Cultures of Policing, based in Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway.

16:40 – 17:00 Authoritarianism, Social Media, and Militarized Policing in Brazil by Tomas Salem and Erika Robb Larkins

Authoritarianism, Social Media, and Militarized Policing in Brazil

Tomas Salem

University of Bergen

Erika Robb Larkins

San Diego State University

In Brazil as elsewhere, policing is currently being reshaped by the emergence of social media as a multifaceted tool for horizontal communication within police institutions, gathering of intelligence and surveillance, public visibility, and the crafting of institutional identities. In this text, we examine the different uses of social media by Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police forces. In particular, we are concerned with the online presence of the special operations unit of the police (Batalhão de Operacões Especiais, BOPE), known as one of the world’s deadliest police forces. As an elite combat squad, BOPE officers regularly engage in highly militarized forms of policing in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. At the same time, their on-the-ground actions are complemented by a social media presence which offers documentation of the squad’s activities while also cultivating an aesthetics of identity and self. Drawing on an analysis of BOPE’s official Instagram and Facebook social accounts, as well as representations of policing circulating among military police officers in closed WhatsApp-groups, we explore how policing work is visually and textually constructed not just as military conquest but also as moral, gendered work. In particular, we examine the intersecting tropes of technology, nationalism, reproduction, transparency and Christian-conservative morality which appear as a central symbolic element in the police’s social media accounts. In our analysis, we approach the police’s social media presence as a form of digital police work and focus on the multiplicity of perspectives and voices that contribute to the processes of subjective formation among police officers and their supporters.

Tomas Salem is a PhD fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen. He carried out fieldwork with the Pacifying Police Units of Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police in 2015 and has a background working in the fields of Public Security and Gender Studies. His research interests span from critical perspectives on masculinity to post-colonial theory, as well as right-wing authoritarianism, state formation and state violence, with recent articles appearing in American Ethnologist and Conflict and Society. Salem is affiliated to the AGOPOL project and is currently writing a monograph based on his work with the police. His PhD project focuses on masculinity and desire among alpinists, climbers and modern adventurers in Argentina and Norway.

Dr. Erika Robb Larkins is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Behner Stiefel Chair of Brazilian Studies, and Director of the Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies at San Diego State University. Larkins’ research and teaching focuses on violence and inequality in urban settings. Her first book, The Spectacular Favela: Violence in Modern Brazil (U California Press 2015), explores the political economy of spectacular violence in one of Rio’s most famous favelas. A second book, (Cornell U. Press 2023) The Sensation of Security: Private Guards and Social Order Brazil, examines how the private security industry produces urban inequality. She has also published on issues of race, gender, and politics in Brazil, with recent articles appearing in American Ethnologist, City and Society, and the Journal for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, and in public outlets including El País and Estadão (O Estado de São Paulo).

17:00 – 17:20 Sonic Policing and Musical Resistance During Brazil’s Parliamentary Coup in 2016 by Kjetil Klette Bøhler

Sonic Policing and Musical Resistance During Brazil’s Parliamentary Coup in 2016

Kjetil Klette Bøhler

Oslo Metropolitan University

Recent work in sound studies, ethnomusicology and anthropology suggests that sonic practices are used to control and manipulate individuals within specific social and political orders. However, other scholars argue that sounds also make political critiques audible and affective as they both unite and separate bodies, people, and political communities. This paper explores such processes during a turning point in Brazil’s political history by drawing on ethnographic data gathered during a parliamentary coup d’etat that removed Rouseff from power in August 2016. The coup ended 13 years of labor party government, which had lifted 50 million Brazilians out of poverty, and fueled distrust in political representation and polarization. This study provides insights into the sonic critiques and policing that were part and parcel to this new political context through an ethnography of how sound was used to both control citizens and articulate affective critiques. To study this, I analyze field notes, videos, recordings, and interviews, that examine interactions between protesters and military police officers during demonstrations that gathered half a million Brazilians in Sao Paulo, autumn 2016. I focus on how military police officers used the sounds of rubber bullets, helicopters, and sirens from police cars to scare protesters and occupy public spaces through sonic means. I also analyze how protesters used sounds, rhythms, and melodies to contest such regulations of public space and describe how they voiced critique sonically and musically of the new authoritarian regime that emerged after the coup. The study shows that sonic practices constitute novel forms of affective emancipation and control that provides new insights into how cultures of policing work. I theorize these findings by developing the concepts of ‘sonic policing’ and ‘musical resistance’, and use these notions to discuss how fear, noise, pleasure, and joy engage, separate, and unite bodies politically in particular ways.

Kjetil Klette Bøhler is a Research Professor at NOVA: Norwegian Social Research, Oslo Metropolitan University. He works at the intersection of ethnomusiocology, anthropology and sociology and has worked extensively with the politics of music in Latin-America.

17:20 – 17:40 From Restraint to Data-driven Militarism? Sociotechnical Imaginaries in the Norwegian Police by Helene O. I. Gundhus and Christin Thea Wathne

From Restraint to Data-driven Militarism? Sociotechnical Imaginaries in the Norwegian Police

Helene Oppen Ingebrigtsen Gundhus

University of Oslo

Christin Thea Wathne

Oslo Metropolitan University

Drawing on interviews with police officers, we will in this paper explore sociotechnical imaginaries in the Norwegian police (Chan 2021, Jasanoff 2015). How are multiple visions of desirable futures animated by the police? How is this embedded in social practices, the materiality of networks and instruments for co-production of a digital police service? 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). 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 (PID) as a starting point for studying sociotechnical imaginaries of digital police practice. In Norway, the PID is framed as a new business model for the police where new data-driven methods and intelligence products will contribute to a more objective and scientific basis for decision-making (Politidirektoratet 2014). The Police Intelligence Doctrine positions data-driven intelligence as a key element of knowledge-based management and practice, central to the quality reform in the Norwegian police; as such, it represents a new ‘epistemic power’ in the police organization and the society (Archer et. al. 2020). The standardization of information retrieval also aligns with the leadership’s desire for tighter management of police personnel in the name of cost-efficiency, thus resulting in organizational change (Gundhus, Talberg, & Wathne 2021). Drawing on interviews and observations of the police, we will explore how commonly shared and multiple visions of these sociotechnical imaginaries are negotiated and navigated among mangers and on the ground-level.

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

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.

Jasanoff, S. (2015). Future imperfect: Science, technology, and the imaginations of modernity. In: Jasanoff, S. & Kim, S.H. (eds). Dreamscapes of modernity: Sociotechnical imaginaries and the fabrication of power. Chicaco: University of Chicago Press, pp. 321-341.

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

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

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

Helene Oppen Ingebrigtsen Gundhus, Professor and Head of Department - Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. Her research interests include policing and society, security and social control, crime prevention, knowledge regimes, science and technology studies (STS), qualitative methods (discourse analysis, ethnography).

Christin Thea Wathne is a Research Director and Research Professor at Work Research Institute (AFI), Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway. Her research interests include leadership and management, New Public Management, organizational development, organizational learning, professions, social identity and working environment and mastering.

17:40 - 18:00 Q&A and Concluding Remarks


Tereza Østbø Kuldova

Christin Thea Wathne

This workshop 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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