Accepted Paper:

Between Smart surveillance and military urbanism: the case of Aerostatic Balloons in Santiago de Chile.  


Martin Tironi (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)
Matías Valderrama (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

Paper short abstract:

Militarized urbanism, smart city, controversy, surveillance technology, Santiago, criminality.

Paper long abstract:

A modern surveillance system was implemented in two of the wealthiest municipalities of Santiago de Chile in the form of high-flying aerostats equipped with high-resolution cameras remotely controlled. This system auto-defined as "smart" and initially designed for war and border control was brought by municipal entities to face "the war against crime" and "manage public space more efficiently". However, it immediately generated a series of conflicts related to the profound violation of privacy and excessive surveillance that such a device may imply in the city. This article describes the different and opposing tactics displayed by the actors involved in the controversy: on the one hand, the work of its representatives in order to unmilitarize and decontextualize the technology; on the other hand, the attempt of its opponents to remilitarize and repoliticize the technological artefact of surveillance. Along with this study, in situ maintenance and operating interventions of the surveillance aerostats are analyzed, as well as how people coexist and deal with the devices, making them part of their daily lives and routines. Through the analysis of these dynamics, the article shows how this foreign surveillance technology adopts different degrees of operation and how as an actor it is enacted with various hints, visions and activities.

Panel T010
Stakeholder engagement in smart city (re-)development