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Event description

Digital surveillance, carried out by both governments and technology companies, has become common practice around the world. Surveillance technologies, such as facial recognition, are widely used for many purposes including making online payment, verifying identity, and public security. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries have used surveillance technologies to track the spread of the virus. As in other areas of international affairs, there is an increasing tendency in the West to frame, analyse, and discuss digital surveillance as authoritarianism vs. democracy. Oxford Global Society (OXGS) brings together leading analysts to examine the following issues:

(1) How are governments around the world using and relying on surveillance technologies? What are the roles of technology companies in governments’ surveillance schemes?

(2) What are the main factors (such as culture, state-society relations) that shape the public’s views about digital surveillance in their daily lives in different countries?

(3) When it comes to “digital authoritarianism”, China is often the focus of discussion. How different are the practices of the Chinese government from that of Western world?

(4) Does the division between authoritarianism vs. democracy help in understanding the practices of digital surveillance? 


Denis Galligan  OXGS Director; Emeritus Professor at Oxford University


Ralph Schroeder Professor at Oxford Internet Institute (OII, Oxford University); Programme Director of the MSc in Social Science of the Internet and Senior Research Fellow at OII.

Jinghan Zeng Professor of China and International Studies at Lancaster University (UK); Academic Director of China Engagement and Director of Lancaster University Confucius Institute; OXGS Fellow.

Daniel Smilov Associate professor of Political Theory at the Political Science Department, University of Sofia (Bulgaria); OXGS Fellow.

Learn more about the speakers here 

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