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ERIC Number: ED578723
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 233
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-0-3551-5357-6
Cops and Cells: Theorizing and Assessing the Implications of Smartphone Surveillance for Policing
Roche, Sean Patrick
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, State University of New York at Albany
In the United States, police officers are empowered to use force, and are often people's first point of contact with the criminal justice system. Significantly, in the last decade, the majority of American citizens have acquired smartphone technology, which allows them to document and broadcast police behavior on a scale never before seen. Several high-profile police use of force incidents have been captured on video, and the resulting public outcries suggest that this technology now presents exceptional challenges to the maintenance of police legitimacy. Foucault (1977) argues that power in modern society is achieved by surveillance systems that work to normalize behavior by discouraging nonconformity, and individualizing and documenting those who do deviate from accepted standards. Thus, citizens' smartphone monitoring of the police may be essentially corrective, and beneficial for police legitimacy. This Foucaultian model suggests important attitudinal preconditions, which are assessed here. Using data from two recent national surveys, one of police officers and the other of members of the American public, three studies were conducted. Study 1 assessed if and to what extent police officers are aware of citizen recording (i.e., sousveillance), how likely they perceive it to be, and the extent to which they worry about it. Study 2 presented members of the public with randomized survey vignettes depicting police-citizen encounters to assess the impact of the presence of smartphones on respondents' emotions and intention to comply. Study 3 examined the relationships between perceived procedural justice, police performance satisfaction, and experience interpersonal police misconduct on the perceived effects of citizen smartphone surveillance and overall support for citizens engaging in such practices. The results of the three studies provide mixed support for a Foucaultian model for understanding how citizen smartphone surveillance may eventually influence policing in the United States. The results for Study 1 suggest that American police officers today are sincerely concerned with these technologies, and that individual officers' concerns vary by their exposure to technology and viral videos that depict police officers. At the situational level, Study 2's results indicate the presence of smartphone technology is weakly related or unrelated to respondents' emotional affect and intent to comply, and that this effect is primarily comforting rather than emboldening. Finally, Study 3 provides tentative support for the claim that citizen smartphone surveillance is viewed as largely acceptable among the general public. However, the antecedents for believing that these recording have strong effects, either positive or negative, on police behavior are still largely unknown. Still, perceived positive effects are the strongest predictor of overall support for citizen smartphone surveillance. As well, the results suggest that respondents who are dissatisfied with the ways that police officers treat citizens in their communities are more likely to believe that recording the police using smartphone devices is acceptable. The implications of the findings for theory, research, and policy are discussed, along with each study's attendant limitations. Areas for future research are then outlined. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A