Recording and Reporting: Camera Phones, User-Generated Images and Surveillance

Recording and Reporting: Camera Phones, User-Generated Images and Surveillance

Bilge Yesil
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-051-8.ch016
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This chapter addresses the changing nature of surveillance by way of user-generated images, especially caught-on-tape style photographs and videos captured on mobile phones. Through a discussion of examples from Turkey (as well as from around the world), this chapter discusses the emergent function of the camera phone as a tool of surveillance used to document the misconduct of other individuals or authority figures. Aligned with the complex, decentralized networks of the synoptic paradigm rather than the more static, closed model of the Panopticon, camera phones intensify the visibility of anyone, anytime, anywhere. They facilitate lateral surveillance and sousveillance practices, enabling ordinary individuals to watch social peers or those in power positions, albeit in non-systematic, non-continuous and spontaneous ways. One could assume that camera phones and these new socio-technological practices they permit are empowering the individuals. However, by engaging in sousveillance, individuals become implicit partners in surveillance society.
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User-Generated Images

Before moving on to a more detailed discussion of how the increasing prevalence of images captured on mobile phones shapes and alters ways of watching and being watched, it is necessary to give a general overview of the uses and implications of user-generated images.

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