What does surveillance mean for open democratic societies, and what are the implications for our form of social living? IRISS provides answers to these questions and input to a more rational societal discourse on surveillance and security in democratic societies.
The EU project IRISS investigated societal effects of different surveillance practices from a multi-disciplinary social science and legal perspective. It focused on the effects that surveillance practices introduced to combat crime and terrorism can have on citizens in open and democratic societies, but also looked at other society models.
IRISS reviewed surveillance systems used in fighting crime and terrorism and examined the driving forces that had led to the spread of these practices. In a set of case studies, the impact of surveillance on the everyday lives of citizens was analysed in detail. Based on the findings from these case studies, a series of comparative empirical social experiments has been conducted to test different attitudes towards surveillance in different democratic contexts. These experiments 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 informed an analysis designed to explore options for increasing social, economic and institutional resilience.
IRISS contributes to a better understanding of how surveillance affects different types of societies and how different groups react to surveillance. It produces a comprehensive account of resilience options, focusing on strengthening democratic processes and public discourse about appropriate reactions towards threats against open democratic societies.