The Justice, Equity and Technology Table is a collaborative network-building effort to address the impacts of data-driven policing on racialised communities throughout Europe. We aim to build a broad set of visions and strategies of confronting discriminatory policing and the use of data-driven technologies. Our work centres the needs and experiences of racialised and marginalised communities, and seeks to expose and confront the harms inflicted by the use of new forms of surveillance and control in their contexts.
Data driven policing and discrimination as an emergent issue
Racialised and marginalized communities in Europe are over-policed and under-protected. Across the continent, evidence of racial profiling by police forces is increasing. Meanwhile, issues of institutional racism are hardly addressed.Groups and individuals confronting the harms of racial profiling, over-policing and surveillance now face an additional challenge: the shift to data-driven policing.
The increased use of technologies to assist policing and wider law enforcement practices complicates the discovery and addressing of problems of systemic, institutional racism.
In this context, the Table serves as a space of convening and organizing between those most invested in anti-racism, non-discrimination and the detrimental effect of technologies on issues of social justice.
Part of our work includes investigation into the effects of the increased use of data-driven technologies for minority groups and communities, as well as methods of contestation.
Combining a collective understanding of racialized criminalisation with insights about the incursion of new technologies into contemporary policing, the Table aims to shift the narrative and build strategies.
Our work is focused around three strategic aims:
• Enabling connections and coordinating strategies across affected communities, to build resilient, effective and community-driven strategies for structural change
• Pushing back on implementation of violent policing technologies and contesting racialised criminalisation
• Changing the narrative around data-driven policing while uplifting policies and practices for community wellbeing
This is What Police Tech Looks Like
What stands out during the conversations both at Table meetings and elsewhere, is the great challenge to grasp the exact nature and consequences of the trend towards more data-driven policing. Anecdotal information and incidental reports provide us with some direction but there is still a lack of clarity about the extent of data-driven policing and high-tech surveillance and how this emergent issue touches the daily lives of racialised and marginalised groups.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to surface, document and expose local stories and experiences of the harms inflicted upon racialised communities by the use of new forms of surveillance and control. Such inquiries help to gain crucial insights from the ground to inform strategies contestation and community resilience, and inspire coordinated strategies and actions. Furthermore, stories of how implementation works out in real life are needed to challenge mainstream assumptions on racialised criminalisation and to shift industry lead tech narratives.
This is What Police Tech Looks Like explores what monitoring and documenting projects exist across Europe and how stories of harm can inform potential coordinated actions.
Refusing Control: Stories of Organising
Slowly but surely a push-back against data-driven technologies is growing. There is a great potential here to learn from each other and the different present-day campaigns and strategies – both from close allies as across movements. Similarly, insights from a wealth of histories of resistance against repression can inform and inspire organising today. Collecting stories places struggles side by side, makes struggles visible to one another, surfaces our connected experiences and broadens our scope of what is possible.
With Refusing Control we want to recognise and uplift efforts of organising and movement building. We will do so by documenting and sharing stories of relevant community organising and advocacy, facilitating collective learning about practises of organising and connecting the dots for future collaborations.
Please get in touch if your work touches upon these issues - whether you are an organiser or researcher around data-driven tech, policing or discrimination, or you are working to document harms or to collect organising stories – we would be happy to connect.