Security in the Drone Age: Reinvestigating the Secret

If drone warfare, digital surveillance and targeted killing as contemporary and increasingly dominant yet controversial security practices are to be understood and debated, we need to pay attention to a number of ways in which these practices produce secrecy. Drawing on research from the Wikidronia Project – a project documenting US security practices in the Obama-era – this paper calls for a turn to data visualization techniques and strategies as method in order to capture and make sense of the complex politics of these security practices, the scale of the networks mobilized, their visualities, and ultimately their politics.

Elspeth Van Veeren is a Lecturer in Political Science in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies and a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio at the Bristol Watershed. Specialising in the security cultures, politics and foreign policy of the United States, she has researched cultures of security associated with torture, Guantanamo, and more recently on drone warfare and targeted killing. Overall, her work concerns contemporary practices, technologies, and cultures that mobilise publics for and against war. Her latest project is a study of invisibility, secrecy and security.