Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies

Grant agreement ID: 287842
February 2012 – January 2015


“IRISS (Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies) will investigate societal effects of different surveillance practices from a multi-disciplinary social science and legal perspective. It will focus on the effects that surveillance practices introduced to combat crime and terrorism can have on citizens in open and democratic societies. It will review surveillance systems used in fighting crime and terrorism and will examine the driving forces that have led to the spread of these practices. It will review current research on public attitudes towards surveillance, the impact of surveillance on civil liberties and citizens’ trust in political institutions. In a set of case studies, the impact of surveillance on the everyday lives of citizens will be analysed in detail. These studies will focus on the relations between citizens and the state, between citizens and private sector institutions and between citizens. Based on the findings from these case studies, a series of comparative empirical social experiments will be conducted to test different attitudes towards surveillance in different democratic contexts. These experiments will investigate citizens’ attitudes towards surveillance and the extent to which democratic rights can be exercised under existing regimes of surveillance and how these rights can be strengthened. The empirical research will inform an analysis designed to explore options for increasing social, economic and institutional resilience. IRISS will produce a better understanding of how surveillance affects different types of societies and how different groups react to surveillance. It will produce a comprehensive account of resilience options, focussing on strengthening democratic processes and public discourse about appropriate reactions towards threats against open democratic societies. The consortium will involve stakeholders in expert workshops, an international advisory board and by other means.”