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VUB Chair in Surveillance Studies Seminar III: Panel discussion on Educational Surveillance

Thursday, 4 February, 2021 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculty: Recht en Criminologie
Online Teams meeting
VUB Chair in Surveillance Studies


Since the start of the 21st Century, schools have been increasingly implementing surveillance technologies, including CCTV, metal detectors, biometrics and online tracking, for a variety of different purposes that range from efficiency and safety to supporting a new pedagogy of personalised learning. The pandemic has intensified this trend, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom, although other countries are also slowly catching up especially in the context of the deployment by universities of proctoring software. What is becoming clear is that, like other surveillance technologies, educational surveillance contributes actively to social sorting and cumulative disadvantage of marginalized and vulnerable groups in society. Moreover, not only do these technologies exacerbate existing biases in society and impact social justice, they are changing schooling and pedagogy in unintended ways.

This seminar will discuss current developments in educational surveillance in Europe and North-America and the social, ethical and legal issues that accompany them. 


Ben Williamson is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the Centre for Research in Digital Education, University of Edinburgh, UK, where he researches education policy and digital technology. He is the author of Big Data in Education: The Digital Future of Learning, Policy and Practice, an editor of Learning, Media and Technology, and maintains the public-facing research blog Code Acts in Education.

Chris Gilliard is a writer, professor and speaker. His scholarship concentrates on digital privacy, surveillance, and the intersections of race, class, and technology. He is an advocate for critical and equity-focused approaches to tech in education. His ideas have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Ed, and Vice Magazine. He is a Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center Visiting Research Fellow, a member of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry Scholars Council, and a member of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project community advisory board.

Seda Gürses is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Multi-Actor Systems at TU Delft at the Faculty of Technology Policy and Management, an affiliate at the COSIC Group at the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT), KU Leuven. Together with Miriyam Aouragh, Helen Pritchard and Femke Snelting, Seda recently founded The Institute for Technology in the Public Interest,  she is also a member of Constant VZW, a Brussels based feminist arts collective. Her work focuses on privacy enhancing and protective optimization technologies (PETs and POTs), privacy engineering, as well as questions around software infrastructures, social justice and political economy as they intersect with computer science.

Valerie Steeves is a Full Professor in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa, Canada.  She is the principal investigator of The eQuality Project, a seven-year partnership of researchers, educators, youth and policymakers looking at the impact of algorithmic sorting on young people.


The seminar will take place on 4 February 2021 from 17h00 until 18h30 via Teams. Registration is free but necessary. After registration, you will receive the link to the online seminar. Registration can be done below. Please keep in mind that the seminar will be recorded and made visible on our website afterwards. 

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