Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing


Product Details

$31.99  $29.75
Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.3 X 1.0 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

Sarah Brayne is Assistant Professor of Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining the faculty at UT-Austin, Brayne was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Microsoft Research. Brayne is the founder and director of the Texas Prison Education Initiative, a group of faculty and students who volunteer to teach college classes in prisons throughout Texas.


"Predict and Surveil is a breakthrough book, a close-up, ethnographically grounded, examination of how urban police departments are using the power of big data to try to anticipate crime and outflank criminals and how, in so doing, they risk reproducing inequality by embedding results of past discrimination inside opaque algorithms. At a moment when urban policing has come under unprecedented scrutiny, this volume provides indispensable insight into a critical element, big data, that could replace due process with guilt by association--or, if used properly, could help reduce discrimination and open policing to democratic control." -Paul DiMaggio, Professor of Sociology, New York University

"Predict and Surveil reveals not only the sociological drivers of modern police surveillance, but also how the sociological merges with data science to sustain the ideologies of race and inequality at the core of contemporary policing. Sarah Brayne skillfully combines the tools of contemporary ethnography and organizational sociology to show the distorting effects of tech-driven surveillance on the moral judgments that animate policing from top to bottom, judgments that animate invasive tactics that erode the dignity of citizens in everyday life. It is an astonishing accomplishment that should set off alarms in all of us." -Jeffrey Fagan, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia University

"A brilliant and necessary book. Sarah Brayne incisively reveals how big data is used in policing by taking us inside the precincts and cruisers, and observing first hand how policing platforms work. It's essential reading if you want to understand how data collection and algorithmic scoring are used in the work of police surveillance, classification, and control, and where it is failing us." -Kate Crawford, Distinguished Research Professor and cofounder of the AI Now Institute, New York University

"Predict and Surveil is a superb portrait of a police force seeking to take advantage of modern 'big data' technologies while trying to remain unbound by them. It moves smoothly from a first-hand account of how these tools are deployed by police officers to a sophisticated analysis of the organizational and institutional forces shaping the uses of information in social control. Lucidly written and compellingly argued, this incisive study could hardly be more timely." -Kieran Healy, Duke University

"Simultaneously eye-opening and terrifying, this pathbreaking book cracks open the black box of predictive algorithms and artificial intelligence to reveal how new surveillance technologies amplify police power, harden inequality, and threaten our civil rights. With theoretical rigor and ethnographic sensitivity, Sarah Brayne traces our digital footprints-who we call, where we drive, what we buy-as they pass from tech firms and intelligence agencies into the hands of crime analysts and patrol officers. Predict and Surveil sheds singular light on how big data changes law enforcement, and how we can start changing it for the better." -Forrest Stuart, author of Down, Out, and Under Arrest and Ballad of the Bullet