The Center of Excellence of Public Safety Management (CESAM, Erasmus University Rotterdam) has started a new project entitled "Boundary Management of Private Spaces in a Public Safety Context". In response to rapidly expanding possibilities for smart urban governance, privacy concerns are emerging both among citizens and government actors raising questions about how to navigate trade-offs between efficient service, public safety and privacy. This research aims to develop a practiced and networked understanding of privacy that allows different situational and personal privacy needs to be recognized and met in practice. At the fore stands the concept of "boundary management" as a vital mechanism for balancing and safeguarding privacy concerns and public security needs. Boundary management can be understood as an active process in which individuals draw context-specific, co-owned privacy boundaries, defining the extent to which others might gather personal information about them. It gives individuals – as well as organizations – the possibility to determine what, how much, when and to whom they disclose information about themselves and as such regulates the relationship between disclosure and privacy. In the context of smart city policies such boundary management acquires an explicitly spatial dimension. Hence, the investigations will center on both street-level and at-a-distance forms of surveillance and control, including practices of self- and co-surveillance among the citizenry. The main objectives of the project are
- To develop a differentiated understanding of privacy in a security context that clarifies the personal, situational and context-dependent shifts in privacy needs and concerns
- To investigate the process of boundary management as vital mechanism for balancing between safeguarding private spaces and security needs and to clarify the mechanisms and strategies used in the boundary management process
The project is conducted in collaboration with the municipality Rotterdam. It started in January 2018 and will run for 2 years.
Dr. Saskia Bayerl