Watching the watchmen: resisting drones and the "protester panopticon"
- Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, SY23 3BD, UK
Abstract. The skies as sites of protest are opening up. Protester-operated drones are beginning to appear in the skies above protests: watching the watchmen, installing an additional layer of surveillance, increasing accountability and self-discipline amongst the police. In this way protester drones could be seen as establishing a "protester panopticon", with the police as subjects. This article explores the potential panoptic effect of the gaze upon the police, drawing on sousveillance theory, before using counter-surveillance as a way to explore potential options for police resistance to the gaze of the protester drone. These resistive efforts are broken down into four categories, legislation and regulation, obscuring the gaze, electronic countermeasures and kinetic and physical force.