Apr 2020 – Jun 2021
All over the world, states are responding to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by invoking the state of emergency – generally characterized by an expansion of the state power, allowing it to perform actions that it could not carry in times of normal politics. States of emergency, and the security practices they allow, have the potential to be instrumentalized to advance political agendas and destabilize societies, in particular the ones already exposed to some form of conflict.
In the current pandemic scenario, these security practices are often mediated by surveillance technologies that different countries around the world have been openly deploying, from metadata analysis to geolocation tracking and facial recognition screening. A comparative analysis of how different countries are employing these technologies at the service of exceptional security practices is required in order to understand broader societal implication of the pandemic.
Discussions on the state of exception and the state of emergency are central to the literatures on constitutionalism, democracy, ethics, and security. Additionally, considering that the contemporary security practices are very much reliant on big data, pattern of life analysis, geolocation, and facial recognition, literatures on the ethics of technology, surveillance studies and the political sociology of technology should be mobilized as well.
The project will address three main research questions:
1. How are different states using the state of emergency to fight the COVID 19 pandemic?
2. What are the broader societal implications emanating from the widespread use of security technologies during states of emergency?
3. How can the literatures on Science and Technology Studies (STS), critical security studies and ethics of technology contribute to inform policy-making in times of exception?
Bruno Oliveira Martins was interviewed by CNN for a news video focusing on the use of drones during the COVID-19 pandemic. The video report illustrates the different uses of drones, from humanitarian relief to surveillance, and it showcases both the potential of drone technology and the problems associated with it.
All over the world, states are responding to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by invoking the state of emergency – generally characterized by an expansion of the state power, allowing it to perform actions that it could not carry in times of normal politics.