The (Big) Data-security assemblage: Knowledge and critique


The Snowden revelations and the emergence of textquoteleftBig Datatextquoteright have rekindled questions about how security practices are deployed in a digital age and with what political effects. While critical scholars have drawn attention to the social, political and legal challenges to these practices, the debates in computer and information science have received less analytical attention. This paper proposes to take seriously the critical knowledge developed in information and computer science and reinterpret their debates to develop a critical intervention into the public controversies concerning data-driven security and digital surveillance. The paper offers a two-pronged contribution: on the one hand, we challenge the credibility of security professionalstextquoteright discourses in light of the knowledge that they supposedly mobilize; on the other, we argue for a series of conceptual moves around data, human–computer relations, and algorithms to address some of the limitations of existing engagements with the Big Data-security assemblage.

Big Data & Society