SSC Seminar Series: Colin Bennett, University of Victoria

Is Your Neighbour a Liberal or a Conservative? Voter Surveillance and the ‘Data-Driven’ Election Campaign

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

12:30 – 2 pm

Stirling Hall 401

(Grad Students are also invited to join Colin Bennett for an informal discussion in MacCorry room C512 from 10.30 to 11.30 before his seminar.)

The conventional wisdom is that the modern political campaign needs to be “data driven” to consolidate existing support and to find potential new voters and donors. The capture and consolidation of these data permit the construction of detailed profiles on individual voters and the “micro-targeting” of increasingly precise messages to increasingly refined segments of the electorate. These practices constitute a form of surveillance.  But what form of surveillance, and how does it differ empirically and theoretically from the surveillance of suspects, consumers, and employees? The presentation will examine these critical issues with some reference to the current US presidential election.        

About the Speaker:  

Colin Bennett is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria. His research is focused on the comparative analysis of surveillance technologies and privacy protection policies at the domestic and international levels. In addition to numerous scholarly and newspaper articles, he has published six books, including The Governance of Privacy (MIT Press, 2006) and The Privacy Advocates:  Resisting the Spread of Surveillance (MIT Press, 2008). Professor Bennett researches the capture and use of personal data by political parties in Western democracies as a co-investigator on the SSHRC Partnership Grant on Big Data Surveillance. Contact: / 

Presented by Surveillance Studies Centre Seminar Series and the Department of Political Studies.

Everyone Welcome!