Public administration as surveillance

Authored by: C. William , R. Webster

Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies

Print publication date:  March  2012
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415588836
eBook ISBN: 9780203814949
Adobe ISBN: 9781136711077


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This chapter will explore the centrality of public administration to emergent surveillance societies. In particular, it will set out the role played by government and public services in assembling the apparatus of contemporary surveillance. The focus is the emergence of large public bureaucracies, the collection and processing of vast amounts of information about citizens, and the extension of these activities in order to make public services as effective and efficient as possible. The chapter will set out the emergence of these activities in the paper-based era and the evolution of these activities in the information age as new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and “eGovernment” expands the surveillance possibilities and scope of public administration. These “modernization” processes are occurring in a number of countries, including those beyond North America and Europe.

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