Crowdsourced surveillance and networked data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Possibilities for crowdsourced surveillance have expanded in recent years as data uploaded to social networks can be mined, distributed, assembled, mapped, and analyzed by anyone with an uncensored internet connection. These data points are necessarily fragmented and partial, open to interpretation, and rely on algorithms for retrieval and sorting. Yet despite these limitations, they have been used to produce complex representations of space, subjects, and power relations as internet users attempt to reconstruct and investigate events while they are developing. In this article, I consider one case of crowdsourced surveillance that emerged following the detonation of two bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon. I focus on the actions of a particular forum on, which would exert a significant influence on the events as they unfolded. The study describes how algorithmic affordances, internet cultures, surveillance imaginaries, and visual epistemologies contributed to the structuring of thought, action, and subjectivity in the moment of the event. I use this case study as a way to examine moments of entangled political complicity and resistance, highlighting the ways in which particular surveillance practices are deployed and feed back into the event amid its unfolding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-77
Number of pages15
JournalSecurity Dialogue
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.


  • Algorithms
  • crowdsourcing
  • data
  • social networks
  • surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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