Data Justice in Mexico’s Multiveillant Society: How big data is reshaping the struggle for human rights and political freedoms

Mexico draws constant critical attention for its high-levels of crime and weak rule-of-law: more than 160,000 deaths due to violence; some 30,000-people estimated to have been 'disappeared'; kidnappings estimated to run into tens of thousands of victims every year; and, one of the world's worst records for protection of journalists and human rights defenders.

However, what has not yet received significant attention or academic scrutiny is Mexico's emergence as a laboratory for new forms of surveillance (and its resistance). The Mexican scenario fosters a unique opportunity to understand contemporary dilemmas born from the interaction between big data, freedom (of speech, movement, and assembly), and authoritarian and criminal impulses (state and non-state).

This project, led by Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin at the University of Exeter, aims to create a theory/methods package to engage with multiveillance and data justice, through ethnographic research, mobile apps, participatory action research and big-data workshops. It aims to create the first data justice open source tool that is tailored to a politico-legal scenario where the absence of regulation, enforcement and security are the norm, in a setting where configurations of data-governance challenge state-corporate efforts of mass dataveillance.

The project will take advantage of connectedness and social media sharing and co-produce new avenues to practice, to improve and to assert data justice in Mexico and, hopefully, in other scenarios around the world.

Project website