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Being filmed at work: How police perceive citizens’ use of cameras to conduct sousveillance

Conference paper
Authors Marie Eneman
Jan Ljungberg
Bertil Rolandsson
Dick Stenmark
Published in 24th UK Academy for Information Systems International Conference Proceeding. Oxford, UK, April 2019
ISBN 978-0-9560272-3-8
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Department of Sociology and Work Science
Language en
Keywords wearable technology, camera, mobile phone, police, surveillance, sousveillance, social media
Subject categories Information Systems, Social aspects, Law and Society, Children, Technology and social change, Human Computer Interaction


Today’s widespread use of camera-equipped smartphones means that anyone may easily be filmed in public, and - through social media - exposed to a large audience whilst conducting their daily work. Police officers belong to an occupation that frequently has to encounter this situation. The police is a public authority with a broad societal mission aimed at reducing crime and increasing security in society, but is also entitled to make use of force at work. The latter is a fact that places high demands on them to organize and conduct their work in accordance with applicable laws and guidelines to ensure legal security for citizens, and to provide transparency and accountability. We intend to investigate what consequences citizens’ use of this wearable technology with built in cameras have on police officers’ individual practices. This research in progress paper will therefore address the question: How do police perceive citizens’ use of cameras to document them while conducting work? To answer the question, we conducted a qualitative study using the Swedish Police as a case, where in-depth interviews with police officers constitute the main data source. Theoretically, we draw upon on research on technological affordances, accountability, surveillance and sousveillance.

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