Engagement within civic spaces: User consent to public surveillance and identity reconstruction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperResearch


This paper is about the intensifying relationship between platforms and urban environments, captured by a growing interest to ‘smarten up’ our cities. It grapples with how current concepts encompass and direct the make-up of the changing relation of the ‘social’ and public space engagement and the role technology plays creating everyday – through recording, quantifying,
processing and analysing enormous volumes of public and personal data - billions of data points in this relationship. In particular, sparse insights are available on the dynamics of emerging surveillance technologies – associated with increasing integration of data across domains – and the increasing opaqueness of user interfaces, undermining the nature of agreement entered into by citizens and challenging their trade-off capacities. In order to understand the degree of users’ voluntary engagement in serving as data sources and to determine their capacity of analysing the complex trade-offs in this setting, we introduce the concept of “geno-digital spores” - a necessary
extension to the soft-used term “digital footprints” – to yield insights in the way these disrupt more traditional notions of time, space, ownership and power. Geno-digital spores increasingly redefine human identity as a predictive model of behaviour. Their evolving nature over time has consequences for the requirements of informed consent requested to users. Implications for users’
capacity to make an informed choice over their engagement in a publicly surveilled space and the constant reconstruction of their personal identities are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConnected Lives: Data and Disorder
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
EventConnected Lives: Data and Disorder. - Oxford & London, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Jun 201925 Jun 2019


ConferenceConnected Lives: Data and Disorder.
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityOxford & London
Internet address


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