Accepted Paper:

"Won't somebody please think of the children!"—Tools of pedophilia diagnosis and risk assessment in techno-security culture  


Katrin M. Kämpf (University of Paderborn)

Paper long abstract:

One eminent fear of western societies besides terrorism or illegalized migration concerns pedophilia. For example, British government officials claim that the publication of classified materials leaked by Edward Snowden might have enabled pedophiles to escape detection. Their German colleagues demand large scale data-retention possibilities also to monitor pedophiles while the Bavarian teacher's association suggested that potential future teachers should undergo a medical pedophilia screenings.

Dominant discourses on pedophilia concentrate on predictive and pre-emptive measures, risk assessment and management, and—within the medical community—on the correct diagnosis of the paraphilia, as a correct diagnosis is considered paramount for risk assessment and treatment of sex offenders.

While earlier diagnostics of pedophilia predominantly consisted of clinical/psychiatric interviews, today's diagnostic tools include a range of technological procedures such as phallometry, MRI, choice reaction time measuring and more recently actuarial approaches. While many of these instruments are currently mostly used in attempts to assess risks of recidivism in convicted sex offenders, recently there has been a growing demand in popular discourse to use these or similar tools to pre-emptively screen all sorts of people who work with children.

I will introduce some of these tools and analyze whether and in how far these tools as well as the growing demand for large scale screening function are part of the logic of predictive maximum security and characteristic for techno-security culture.

Panel I1
Understanding techno-security: On pre-emption, situational awareness and technological superiority