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The Snowden leaks indicate the extent, nature, and means of contemporary mass digital surveillance of citizens by their intelligence agencies and the role of public oversight mechanisms in holding intelligence agencies to account. As such, they form a rich case study on the interactions of “veillance” (mutual watching) involving citizens, journalists, intelli-gence agencies and corporations. While Surveillance Studies, Intelligence Studies and Journalism Studies have little to say on surveillance of citizens’ data by intelligence agencies (and complicit surveillant corporations), they offer insights into the role of citizens and the press in holding power, and specifically the political-intelligence elite, to account. Atten-tion to such public oversight mechanisms facilitates critical interrogation of issues of surveillant power, resistance and intelligence accountability. It directs attention to the veillant panoptic assemblage (an arrangement of profoundly une-qual mutual watching, where citizens’ watching of self and others is, through corporate channels of data flow, fed back into state surveillance of citizens). Finally, it enables evaluation of post-Snowden steps taken towards achieving an equiveillant panoptic assemblage (where, alongside state and corporate surveillance of citizens, the intelligence-power elite, to ensure its accountability, faces robust scrutiny and action from wider civil society).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-25
JournalMedia and Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2015

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