3. Mobilize to address crises of societal values

Sousveillance can help expose a crisis of societal values. You can help by collaborating with fellow citizens via the use of web-based platforms to report for example misconduct by authorities or others.

The concept of sousveillance, also known as inverse surveillance, refers to the ability of people to reduce crises of societal values, such as misconduct by authorities through documenting and/or recording their actions. Recent political unrests have been particularly illustrative in showing how sousveillance can expose police misconduct and can help communicate and increase awareness regarding norms about acceptable and unacceptable uses of authority.

Key steps: 
  • Members of the public could make use of readily available recording devices (including smart phones), as well as applications such as “Stop and Frisk Watch”, a smart phone application that monitors police misconduct. In doing so, however, diligence is required to prevent putting oneself or others in harm’s way while recording incidents.
  • Make sure that the act of recording does not interfere with an emergency response effort and does not threaten the privacy, safety or dignity of parties involved, including those harmed and response team members.
Example: 

The Stop and Frisk Watch by the New York Civil Liberties Union gives New Yorkers a tool to ‘monitor police conduct and hold the NYPD accountable for unlawful stop-and- frisk actions and other police misconduct’.  The app provides instructions as well as recording and reporting functionalities. The recording function includes a geotagging system.

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