The ability of governments and companies to surveil everyday life has never been greater. Digital surveillance, biometric monitoring, and smartphone tracking enable the state and corporations to mine personal data, often at the cost of fundamental civil liberties. My dissertation asks what drives the expansion of surveillance as such, and examines how these technologies impact everyday life across diverse communities in Israel/Palestine.
My multi-sited ethnographic research takes place among digital rights activists and communities subjected to intensive tracking as well as engineers, entrepreneurs, and policy-makers developing and implementing biometric and digital surveillance. As a cultural anthropologist, I ask how technological systems affect lived experience. I strive to understand what makes people, and the institutions they compose, invest in or contest these technologies.
My research has practical and theoretical implications. Ethnographically, I am concerned with the kind of humanity at stake in new surveillance regimes. Practically, my research aims to help policymakers implement biometric and digital monitoring ethically, without eroding essential civil and political rights.