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Mettre en marché les peurs urbaines : le développement des « safe cities » numériques

Abstract : In Nice, Marseille, Saint-Étienne and Valenciennes, digital security projects for cities are being developed, often referred to as “safe cities”. The digital devices are diverse and designed to protect urban spaces: so-called "smart" CCTV, where algorithms scan pictures to signal crowd movements, violence, intrusions; “hypervision” platforms, which cross-analyze municipal and national files; online big data to prevent crimes; connected law enforcement, etc. Until now, these digital security devices have been analyzed through a lens emphasizing the risk they pose to civil liberties, with an increased surveillance of the whole population. I suggest their development can be studied from the angle of the construction of a market. Who benefits from crime control? First of all, my research shows how private firms, multinationals as well as start-ups, invest this market, coming from traditional video surveillance, defense, but also digital services. Nevertheless, the construction of this market is also supported by public authorities, at the local level, in the cities that experiment these projects, but also at the national and European levels, by virtue of this market’s economic growth potential. The analysis of the firms’ products sheds light on how these devices draw on urban targeting, as they are rather intended for city centers, shopping malls, train stations and other central places of intense traffic. This raises questions about the spatial division of control work: is it digital in the centers compared to the presence of police in working-class neighborhoods, or a mixture of both? This research also shows how these devices strongly target street crime - and therefore certain social groups. This excludes other forms of illegality, since the public resources invested do not target financial crime for instance, nor the development of illegal furnished tourist rentals such as Airbnb, which nonetheless destructure local real estate markets. In the end, it is the transformation of our lives in the public space of contemporary cities that this research examines.
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Contributor : Myrtille Picaud Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, February 14, 2022 - 4:20:17 PM
Last modification on : Monday, March 21, 2022 - 2:50:29 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Sunday, May 15, 2022 - 7:19:58 PM


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Myrtille Picaud. Mettre en marché les peurs urbaines : le développement des « safe cities » numériques. Claudia Senik. Sociétés en danger, La Découverte, pp.139-156, 2021, ⟨10.3917/dec.senik.2021.01.0139⟩. ⟨halshs-03573348⟩



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