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GPS Seminar: “Touchdown”: imagining people, targeting SIM cards

Tid: 2017-10-04 13:15 -- 2017-10-04 15:00
Plats: Department of Global Political Studies (GPS), Lounge room, 9th floor, Niagara building, Malmö University, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1, Malmö
Målgrupp: Alla intresserade

Bruno Oliveira Martins (Postdoc, GPS)
Moderated by Erika Svedberg (Senior Lecturer, GPS)
Discussant: Malin Isaksson (Senior Lecturer, GPS)

“Touchdown”: imagining people, targeting SIM cards

This paper focuses on drone strikes outside legally recognized battlefields, understood here as a radical security practice relying upon data-driven surveillance. In concrete, it concentrates on problematizing strikes that target not people, but rather SIM cards in cellphones. These “Touchdown” strikes are understood here as the most extreme demonstration of the politics of data. Despite ontologically universal in its outreach, surveillance produces very different outcomes and affects its objects in very different ways.

The main theoretical arguments presented here connect critical literature on drone technology with constitutional theory. By focusing on the constitutional principles of due process, transparency, and accountability, the article advances the argument that detachment between the imagined person and the targeted SIM card augments the problems already observed in many targeted killings. Moreover, pattern of life analysis is a methodology that is, per definition, an inherent contradiction to the due process logic. Additionally, in the presentation it will be argued that SIM card targeting demonstrates that technology can create a false notion of certainty. This has two main consequences: it facilitates extreme security practices; and it leads to higher numbers of wrong targeting and civilian casualties.

Information on Bruno Oliveira Martins’ research is available at: http://forskning.mah.se/en/id/ah3641

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