This paper argues that privacy has limited influence on the use of new and untested surveillance technologies in contemporary Australian law enforcement, in part due to the construction of current privacy laws and oversight principles.
The considerable growth of surveillance technologies, dataveillance and digital information processing has occurred across many domains, including the night-time economy. We explore a particular technology (ID scanners) and the connections between this form of surveillance and associated database construction with the broader use of new forms of territorial governance. In turn, we argue that privacy, at least in the context of Australia, has limited influence on the use of new and untested surveillance technologies in contemporary law enforcement. In part, this is due to the construction of current Australian privacy laws and oversight principles. We argue this in itself does not solely account for the limitations of privacy regimes, as recent Canadian research demonstrates how privacy regulation generates limited control over the expansion of new crime prevention technologies. However, a more telling problem involves the enactment of new laws allowing police and venue operators to exclude the undesirable from venues, streets and entertainment zones. These developments reflect the broader shift to governing through sub-sovereign territorial controls that seek to leverage many current and emerging surveillance technologies and their normalisation in preventing crime without being encumbered by the niceties of privacy law.