Investigating the manifold effects surveillance has on citizens in democratic societies; and investigating options for increasing social, economic and institutional resilience are the focus of VICESSE in this research area. Looking into the social processes underlying surveillance, and the relationship between security and privacy, a wider social context is taken into consideration. Members of VICESSE have been leading the European research project IRISS and were involved in the European research projects SURPRISE and ASSERT. Methodological approaches include, but are not limited to, case studies, interviews, questionnaires, action research, focus groups and citizen consultation meetings. The projects results are supporting a ‘balanced risk awareness’ and an informed public debate about the impact (surveillance) technologies have on society with regard to fundamental civil liberties.
Most security research takes technology as a starting point. Security problems are defined as issues to be solved by more and better technologies. To understand the effects of security technology requires a broad approach, taking into account indirect and distant consequences of local technology solutions. We have developed a methodology to analyse the wider ramifications of security research in the course of European research project ASSERT. More details can be found on the project’s website. VICESSE offers guidance and advice to design security research projects from early design phase to implementation of results to provide for a privacy and data-protection friendly research process.
In the last decade investments in safeguarding the security of European citizens have increased dramatically. Decisions are seemingly immediate responses to specific security issues. They tend to be technology-driven and made behind closed doors. There is an urgent need for a decision support system which directs all processes that lead to decisions on security investment to be transparent and participatory, and that accounts for context and multi-dimensionality of society. Security investment includes a choice between different approaches to increasing security, and DESSI makes this choice transparent by understanding the nature of a threat and describing and evaluating the security investment alongside its alternatives. The alternatives are identified or developed in a participatory process, including experts and stakeholders.