Asser researcher writes on the limits of digital surveillance for Het Parool

Published 2 March 2020


Asser researcher Dr Dimitri van den Meerssche writes an article for the Dutch newspaper Het Parool calling for a debate on the limits of the digital surveillance (welfare) state in light of the recent SyRI case judgment.

In his article, entitled "Towards a critical debate on the limits of digital surveillance," Dimitri points to the proactive, opaque and discriminatory nature of algorithmic risk associations employed by the government. This data-driven politics of possibility, he argues, leads to three concerns from the perspective of democracy and the rule of law. First, the proactive risk governance tools inverse the presumption of innocence that is central to safeguard trust between citizens and the state. Secondly, the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools in decision-making processes leads to problems of transparency and accountability: no oversight is possible for what happens in the black box of algorithmic association. Finally, Dimitri points to the problems of discrimination and vulnerability in risk modelling techniques. The SyRI case, he argues, clearly shows how socio-economic inequality was translated in digital precariousness. Read the full article (in Dutch) on Het Parool here.

Dimitri is a researcher for the Asser research strand on Dispute Settlement and Adjudication in International and European Law. This research strand is organised around inquiry into attributes of trustworthy dispute settlement in international adjudication. More information on the event, and to register click here.