Sarah Brayne Wins Law and Society Association Article Prize

Fri, May 11, 2018
Sarah Brayne Wins Law and Society Association Article Prize
Sarah Brayne's work on the LAPD wins top article prize.

The PRC's Sarah Brayne has won the the Law and Society Association Article Prize for “Big Data Surveillance: The Case of Policing,” published in the American Sociological Review (2017).

According to the Law and Society Association, this remarkable article assesses how new developments in policing and surveillance in Los Angeles have transformed as a result of the adoption of big data analytics. Based on remarkable access to the Los Angeles Police Department, including 75 interviews and 18 months of ethnography, Sarah Brayne provides a closely-observed empirical account of how the new software-generated monitoring information actually affects daily law enforcement. Her findings are that the police’s use of big data amplifies prior surveillance techniques, quantifies previously intuitive evaluations of risk, extends surveillance to individuals who have not previously had police contact and extends surveillance into a much broader range of private and public institutions. Additionally, big data is used for predictive rather than explanatory ends, changing the way that risk is evaluated. While the implications for privacy, due process and the enhancing of social inequality are significant and chilling, Brayne is careful not to overstate the consequences of the LAPD’s increasing reliance big data analytics. This research exemplifies the best attributes of empirical law and society scholarship and is fully deserving of the Law and Society Association’s Article Prize for 2018.

The Law and Society Association Article Prize annually recognizes exceptional scholarship in the field of sociolegal studies for an article published (in English) in the previous two years.  

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