Increasing digitization and surveillance pose a high risk of exclusion, bias, misidentification, and privacy violations, disproportionately affecting marginalized groups, despite unproven effectiveness in improving governance and reducing crime.
The increasing digitization of our world has led to greater surveillance, with governments and corporations tracking people’s movements and limiting access to services. Technologies such as digital IDs, facial recognition systems, GPS devices, and spyware are being used to improve governance and reduce crime, but their effectiveness is often unproven, and they pose a high risk of exclusion, bias, misidentification, and privacy violations. These negative impacts fall disproportionately on marginalized groups such as religious, ethnic, and sexual minorities, migrants and refugees, and human rights activists. As technologies like artificial intelligence, drones, and facial recognition continue to advance, the prevalence of invasive tracking systems will only increase. However, there is also growing pushback against surveillance, including lawsuits, protests, and calls for legislation. This reading list highlights examples of surveillance from around the world and the uneven impact it has on society.