Leaking boats and borders: The virtu of surveilling Australia's refugee population

Luke Heemsbergen, Angela Daly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


When refugees displaced to Australia’s offshore detention do speak, it is via violations of privacy and surveillance upended through publicity. Weak legal rights to privacy in Australia juxtapose the increasing secrecy under which the Australian state operates its own offshore detention centres (Manus Island and Nauru). Australia’s institutional context accelerates concerns of authoritarian surveillance whereby we find an acceleration of prohibitive privacy for government and prohibitive transparency for individuals. Our analysis of such authoritarianism synthesises media-law in practice with theories of the management of visibility (Flyverbom 2016; Brighenti 2010) to decipher the socio-political context and effects of pervasive surveillance and its radical disclosure. Our contribution speaks to applicable privacy concerns for states grappling with invasive data collection and the prohibiting of the private voice of the surveilled, which we see as doubly acute for those left vulnerable in Australia’s border zones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-396
Number of pages8
JournalSurveillance and Society
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017


  • refugees
  • Australia
  • surveillance
  • detention centres
  • privacy


Dive into the research topics of 'Leaking boats and borders: The virtu of surveilling Australia's refugee population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this