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Title: The citizens’ perspective : awareness, feelings and acceptance of surveillance and surveillance systems for fighting crime in Italy. A quantitative study
Authors: Brockdorff, Noellie
Appleby-Arnold, Sandra
Colonnello, Claudia
Faro, Sebastiano
Keywords: Crime prevention -- Europe
Privacy -- Italy -- Case studies
Electronic surveillance
Privacy -- Law and legislation
Issue Date: 2015-05
Publisher: European Union
Citation: Brockdorff, N., Appleby-Arnold, S., Colonnello, C., & Faro, S. (2015). The citizens’ perspective : awareness, feelings and acceptance of surveillance and surveillance systems for fighting crime in Italy. A quantitative study. RESPECT, Rules, Expectations & Security through privacy-enhanced convenient technologies (G.A. 285582). European Union.
Abstract: This document presents the results for Italy within the framework of a larger study undertaken as part of the RESPECT project – “Rules, Expectations and Security through Privacy-enhanced Convenient Technologies” (RESPECT; G.A. 285582) – which was co-financed by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013). Analyses are based on a survey regarding the perceptions, feelings, attitudes and behaviours of citizens towards surveillance for the purpose of fighting crime, carried out amongst a quota sample that is representative of the population in Italy for age and gender. Responses were gathered, predominantly, through an online survey supplemented by a number of questionnaires administered in face to face interviews, in order to fulfil the quota and also reach those citizens who do not use the internet. The questionnaire consisted of 50 questions and was available online in all languages of the European Union between November 2013 and March 2014. The face to face interviews were carried out between January and March 2014. The sample is based on the responses from 200 individuals who indicated Italy as their country of residence in the online survey or were administered the questionnaire face to face. As a result, the Italian respondents indicated overall a strongly felt lack of trust in the protection of, and control over, personal information gathered via surveillance. At the same time, it depends on the specific type of surveillance measure whether respondents feel more unhappy or happy with it. But despite the respondents’ general perception of surveillance measures being useful, surveillance measures currently reduce feelings of insecurity in less than 1 in 4 people, whereas in 1 out of 3 respondents the presence of surveillance produces feelings of insecurity. Analyses also indicate that whilst feeling happy or unhappy with surveillance is only weakly related to feeling more secure or insecure in the presence of surveillance, an increased belief in the effectiveness of laws regarding the protection of personal data gathered via surveillance may make citizens feel more secure. More research is needed to disentangle the relationships and effects between surveillance measures, feelings of security or insecurity, and citizens’ general quality of life feelings.
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