Big Brother is Watching. And Maybe That's a Good Thing: Race, Technology & The Future of Policing

None at The Commons Brooklyn

Thu, May 4 at 7:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes

If we truly care about making policing egalitarian and fair to everyone, then that may mean embracing more technology, not less.


Sounding the alarm about technology, policing, and privacy has become an almost daily occurrence. We are told that the government’s use of technology as a surveillance tool is an “insidious assault on our freedom.” That it is “nearly impossible to live today without generating thousands of records about what we watch, read, buy and do—and the government has access to them.” The message is clear: Big Brother is watching, and we should be afraid.

But the police use of technology does not have to be dystopian. In fact, technology can be privacy and citizenship enhancing. To make this point, the first part of this Olio examines several areas of policing where the deployment of new technologies—from the use of simple smartphone applications like FaceTime and Google Hangout to the deployment of high tech surveillance cameras—can enhance the goals of transparency, accuracy, and legitimacy.

The second part of this Olio makes a complementary argument: If we truly care about making policing egalitarian and fair to everyone, then that may mean embracing more technology and policing, not less. Indeed, harnessing technology, including surveillance technology, can help de-racialize policing. This turn to technology will not be cost-free. Indeed, one cost will be the redistribution of privacy. This cost, especially to those who already enjoy a surfeit of privacy, may seem great. But even greater should be the possibility that technology can move society closer to egalitarian, race-free policing, and to the goal of true equality before the law.

Teacher: Bennett Capers
Venue: The Commons Brooklyn
Add to Calendar May 4, 20177:30 p.m. May 4, 2017 America/New_York Think Olio | Big Brother is Watching. And Maybe That's a Good Thing: Race, Technology & The Future of Policing If we truly care about making policing egalitarian and fair to everyone, then that may mean embracing more technology, not less. None

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


Other Upcoming Olios


"Places, Everyone!" - The History of Broadway & The Theater District in NYC

Location: at Online

Teacher: Whitney George

Jan. 18, 2021, 8 p.m.

The Tyranny of Happy: Contemporary Over-Performance

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

Jan. 21, 2021, 7:30 p.m.

Communities Fight Back: Meeting our Needs During Capitalist Crisis

Location: at Online

Teacher: Lauren Hudson

Jan. 27, 2021, 7:30 p.m.

Defund the Police?

Location: at Online

Teacher: Briana Toole

Jan. 28, 2021, 8 p.m.

Bioethics: On Living and Dying

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

Feb. 9, 2021, 7:30 p.m.

Indigenous Peoples and Settler Colonialism

Location: at Online

Teacher: J. Kēhaulani Kauanui

Feb. 18, 2021, 8 p.m.

Deschooling & Decolonizing: Creating The Third University

Location: at Online

Teacher: Kashema Hutchinson

Feb. 18, 2021, 7:30 p.m.


Stay in Touch


Instagram Mailing List Contact

Get Involved


Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.