вход по аккаунту



код для вставкиСкачать
This article was downloaded by: University College London
On: 24 Oct 2017
Access details: subscription number 11237
Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG, UK
The Routledge International Handbook of the Crimes of the Powerful
Gregg Barak
Corporate social responsibility, corporate surveillance and neutralizing corporate
Publication details
Hans Krause Hansen, Julie Uldam
Published online on: 17 Jun 2015
How to cite :- Hans Krause Hansen, Julie Uldam. 17 Jun 2015 ,Corporate social responsibility,
corporate surveillance and neutralizing corporate resistance from: The Routledge International
Handbook of the Crimes of the Powerful Routledge.
Accessed on: 24 Oct 2017
Full terms and conditions of use:
This Document PDF may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproductions,
re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.
The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents will be complete or
accurate or up to date. The publisher shall not be liable for an loss, actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages
whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
Corporate social responsibility,
corporate surveillance and
neutralizing corporate resistance
On the commodification of
risk-based policing
Hans Krause Hansen and Julie Uldam
Multinational corporations (MNCs) are increasingly under fire and challenged by indigenous
peoples, local communities and others affected by the detrimental consequences of corporate
activity for their local environment and livelihoods. The oil industry in particular constitutes a
site of controversy, with civil society groups exposing companies’ misconduct to public scrutiny
(Du and Viera, 2012; Van den Hove et al., 2002). One of the most notorious events in the oil
industry is the Brent Spar case. In 1995, Shell’s plans to dump the Brent Spar oil storage platform
in the North Atlantic were blocked, as Greenpeace initiated a campaign that brought the plans
into the limelight (Livesey, 2001). The same year Shell was criticized for not making an effort
to intervene when the Nigerian military regime of Sani Abacha executed nine Ogoni activists
who had opposed Shell for exploiting their people and land in the Niger Delta (Livesey, 2001).
In 2010 BP was brought into the limelight when their Deepwater Horizon platform spilled
780,000 m3 of oil into the Gulf of Mexico (Du and Viera, 2012). Following BP’s attempt to
clean up the area, local communities are still experiencing oil surfacing in areas deemed ‘clean’
by BP, sickness from toxic exposure, and a collapse in fish stocks and local livelihoods (Platform,
2014). Following this, civil society groups – both local Gulf Coast communities and civil society
organizations in London where BP is headquartered – have raised questions about the oil company’s inadequate restoration initiatives in the wake of the oil spill (Bridge the Gulf, 2012; UK
Tar Sands Network, 2011).
A common response by oil companies has been to monitor the activities of their critics. When
considering the significance of corporate efforts in more detail, a number of important questions
emerge. These include not only how corporate surveillance (CS) is carried out in practice and
what its impact might be on the critics, but how it goes together with private forms of regulation,
including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) (O’Callaghan, 2007; Vogel, 2010; Scherer and
Palazzo, 2011; Gane, 2012). In this chapter we focus on these two types of corporate response to
resistance and their intersections – corporate surveillance of people critical of corporate conduct
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
Commodification of risk-based policing
and CSR – and we theorize their significance for our understanding of the role of corporations
in governance processes.
Attempts to conceptualize this bricolage of corporate responses to public resistance already
exist in the literature. For instance, the concept of corporate counter-mobilization strategies (Kraemer
et al., 2013) suggests the existence of dynamic interactions between corporations’ CSR activities,
surveillance and social movement organizing. CSR activities typically revolve around two issues,
both of which may involve considerable public relations and marketing communications activity directed towards employees, investors, and specific communities. First, they address corporate
codes of conduct, transnational standards for transparency, and financial and socio-environmental
principles to be followed by corporations. Second, they emphasize the centrality of the so-called
‘business case’, including the financial benefits of being a ‘good corporate citizen’ involved in
local community projects that purportedly benefit community members at large (Carroll and
Shabana, 2010; Palazzo and Richter, 2005). Nonetheless, such CSR initiatives often generate
civil society criticism. Corporations are accused of window dressing and hiding the dangers and
shortcomings of corporate capitalism (e.g. Banerjee, 2008; Fleming and Jones, 2013). In particular, CSR activities may obscure the reason why MNCs expand their operations globally in the first
place, such as the search for profits, the economic incentives relating to lower taxes and salaries,
as well as lax host country regulation outside the West (Hilson, 2012). It is in response to this
deepening of criticism from various fronts, including activists and watchdogs capable of creating
sustained public attention to the consequences of corporate activity, that companies monitor the
activities of their critics so as to salvage the reputational benefits of their CSR initiatives. The
methods used include covert surveillance and infiltration to anticipate and contain the criticism
(Lubbers, 2012).
The chapter is structured as follows. The first section attempts an in medias res illustration of
corporate promotion of CSR alongside corporate surveillance of activists, building on our own
empirical studies and other recent research. Our focus is on MNCs in the extractive industry,
specifically oil, gas and mine companies. In relation to their extractive activities, MNCs combine
corporate social responsibility initiatives with surveillance of activists operating in the Global
North as well as in the South. We first turn our attention to Europe and specifically to the UK.
We focus on MNCs offering cultural sponsorships in the name of CSR while monitoring climate
justice activists who protest against these activities. We analyse files from BP and Shell on individual activists in the UK obtained through Subject Access Requests under the Data Protection
Act 1998 as well as press responses from the two oil companies.1 We then take a brief look at
CSR and corporate surveillance and intelligence practices by MNCs operating in communities
in the Global South. The extractive industry has been chosen as our key analytical object because
it is characterized by social, economic and political conflicts and contestation ranging from the
very local to the regional and transnational. In particular, mine, oil or gas projects leave a large
environmental footprint, and their capacity to generate economic activity wields a huge influence on social, political and environmental dynamics within and across societies and regions
(Du and Viera, 2012).
This outline of the forces at work in corporate attempts to counter their critics paves the way
in the second section for a discussion of the theoretical implications of our analysis. On the basis
of a synthesis of recent literatures relating to policing and governance we argue that the contemporary bricolage of CSR and corporate surveillance may usefully be understood in relation
to wider social changes, including the proliferation of private and hybrid forms of policing to
protect new sites of private authority within global governance. While in various ways drawing
on intelligence gathering, these forms of policing both contribute to and thrive on the emergence of global information markets where information about various forms of risk is produced
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
H.K. Hansen and J. Uldam
and commodified. Today, corporations are better equipped than ever to anticipate, respond to
and contain criticism.
Corporate counter-mobilization: corporate social responsibility
and corporate surveillance
CSR initiatives in the extractive industry target various publics, ranging from consumers and
citizens living at a distance from the extractive process, to the local communities affected directly
by it. Whereas in the Global North CSR activities typically seek to complement already existing
state regulations and initiatives in a variety of issue areas, in the Global South CSR activities are
played out in very different institutional contexts: extreme public sector resource scarcity, a much
weaker enforcement of legislation, a lack of governmental monitoring of corporate activity, as
well as widespread corruption (Matten and Moon, 2008). Governmental commitment to international conventions, most of them non-binding in the first place, are generally non-existent.
It is against this background that there is considerable room for corporate self-regulation,
giving way to assumptions that corporations are capable of filling ‘governance gaps’ as well as
‘policing themselves’ in the absence of strong state agencies (Börzel and Risse, 2010; Hilson,
2012). While in some regions such ‘gap-filling’ and ‘self-policing’ has involved the deployment
of private military forces and the cooptation or even killing of protesters, there has also generally
been a growing focus on CSR (Hilson, 2012). Nonetheless, many of the CSR activities in the
extractive sector are often questioned as attempts to divert attention away from corporate misconduct, including cooperation with suppressive military forces and reluctance to take responsibility for human and environmental assaults (Platform, 2014). In response, corporations monitor
the activities of their critics. Here, corporate uses of surveillance are not limited to communities
in the Global South, but are also evident in Western countries where activists seek to bring into
public limelight corporate misbehaviour in solidarity with indigenous peoples. In the following
we illustrate these dynamics with examples from the UK, Indonesia and Guatemala.
In the UK, CSR initiatives promoted by extractive MNCs have attracted various forms of criticism. Over the course of the past two decades BP and Shell have increased their sponsorships of
art and culture in the UK (Chong, 2012; Liberate Tate, 2012). BP has sponsored Tate, one of the
leading galleries in the UK, and the 2012 Olympics and the Cultural Olympiad, which included a
Shakespeare Festival. The sponsorship involved the appointment of BP as Sustainability Partner of
the Games. Shell has sponsored the Southbank Centre in London. This includes the Shell Classics
International, an annual series of classical music. In protesting against oil sponsorships of UK’s
cultural institutions, groups such as the Reclaim Shakespeare Company and Shell Out Sounds
have organized pop-up performances of Shakespeare-inspired scripts in Stratford and guerrilla
choir performances at the Southbank Centre. More generally, a wide variety of movements have
criticized corporations for using cultural sponsorships in the West to divert attention from their
activities in the Global South (Uldam, 2014). In response, extractive MNCs engage in the monitoring of these activists. This is illustrated in the following email with the subject line ‘Video of
Reclaim Shakespeare Company at British Museum’ in which BP identifies two members from a
civil society group that calls for the Royal Shakespeare Company to drop BP as a sponsor:
A video from Sunday’s British Exhibition [sic] ‘pop-up’ performance. http://vimeo.
com/46239547. The usual crowd were part of the action. James Anderson was once again
prominent and I think he, along with Sophie Harvey, are ones to keep an eye out for in
particular over the next few weeks.
(BP email, 24 July 2012, 13:08)
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
Commodification of risk-based policing
What seems to be a systematic practice of identifying activists may be further illustrated in the
following email with the subject line ‘Tar Sands meeting (not in London)’. The email identifies
individuals and notes that the promotion of local alternatives to relying on tar sands as a resource
for energy may be expected to be taken up by the activists in question:
FYI – Tar Sands Network are holding a meeting in Oxford this Sunday http://tarfreetowns.
org/news/launching-tar-free-oxford/ in what appears to generate more members/increased
interest in their issue which means that in all likelihood our regular activists (Sophie Harvey,
possibly Alice Gordon and James Anderson) are likely going to engaged [sic] with that.
(BP email, 2 August 2012, 17:08).
The identification of named ‘regular’ individuals suggests that the monitoring of critics is a regular part of BP’s practices.
In some cases the practice of monitoring of activists also reveals that corporations seek to avoid
raising their own profile more than necessary by keeping silent about the substance of the criticism raised. This they do by simply abstaining from commenting on the issues raised by activists,
or by referring to general notions of freedom of expression and rule of law. Shell’s responses to
an employee of a non-profit organization, who had been criticizing the company for violating
human rights in Nigeria, provide an illustration of this tactic:
[David Butler] has written a piece or two recently [links to two articles] I don’t think we
should respond, but I will ask the web watchers to keep an eye on retweeting etc.
(Shell email, 3 March 2011, 09:38)
Responding to the criticism is only considered necessary if the criticism has potential to gain visibility among wider publics. This is further captured in a reply discussing the extent to which the
critical article has reached beyond the readership of the two platforms on which it was featured:
Agree that responding to this article in particular would raise the profile unnecessarily, especially as it was published in February 2010 and has apparently not generated much reaction:
I ran the article through [redacted] to check if any bloggers have linked through to it on
their blogs – there were no hits; and the comment section at the end of the article is empty.
(Shell email, 3 March 3 2011, 12:14)
In another case, however, Shell in fact responded in public to critiques by issuing a statement:
Shell respects the right of individuals and organisations to engage in a free and frank exchange
of views about our operations. Recognising the right of individuals to express their point
of view, we only ask that they do so within the law and with their safety and the safety of
others in mind.
(Quoted in the Guardian, 1 March 2013)
By making this public statement, Shell constructs an appearance of inclusivity, albeit without
engaging with the substance of the criticism, which questions the ethics of the company’s
Such corporate surveillance is often carried out by means of contracting with risk assessment
and PR agencies. One example that relates to the UK is the risk assessment agency Exclusive
Analysis (EA). EA produces analyses of socio-political environments so as to ‘forecast reputation
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
H.K. Hansen and J. Uldam
risks’ for a variety of sectors, including the extractive industries. In May 2012 the Head of Indicators and Warning from EA contacted a freelance documentary photographer who had covered
political protest in the UK for news media, including the Guardian. In the email, he described
his job as ‘producing objective forecasts of civil unrest in the UK’. He explained that he had
been ‘analysing the actions of many of the groups that you have encountered over the years’,
just as he had ‘followed Climate Camp, Rising Tide, UK Tar Sands Network and UK Uncut
and others regularly on social media’ (email, 2 May 2012). While there is no specific mention
of oil companies, EA specializes in providing risk assessment to the energy sector. Several of the
groups that the agency monitors are concerned with issues of climate change, and with a history
of criticizing BP and Shell.
In her research on corporate spying on activists in Europe, Lubbers (2012) shows how former
intelligence officials (e.g. from police or military agencies) are hired by private companies to
conduct intelligence gathering, working exclusively for the interests of a company. This facilitates information flows between public authorities and private companies, as private security and
intelligence agents use their connections with former colleagues. Companies can thus access
information about the whereabouts of corporate critics known to the police as activists engaged
in civil disobedience (Lubbers, 2012). For BP, for example, monitoring the activities of activists
entails keeping up to date on the police’s handling of individual activists, as the following email
[Redacted] is keen to know what was the outcome of Brian Jones’s detention last week: was
he arrested & charged or released without charge?
(BP email, 17 April 2006, 17:04)
In all, BP’s and Shell’s monitoring of activists, with the intention to anticipate and contain
criticism, is closely connected to their efforts at constructing and protecting the image of being
socially responsible corporations. This dynamic is manifest in the Global North as well as in
the South. Extractive companies involved in the surveillance of activists in communities in the
Global South, often in conjunction with local elites, is a phenomenon widely documented in the
literature (e.g. Imai et al., 2007; Welker, 2009). For example, an environmental activist seeking to
document environmental damage to the quality of water close to a gold-mine in Guatemala run
by Canadian Goldcorp was subject to surveillance and threats, and ultimately had to leave the
community (Imai et al., 2007: 139). Companies also use local elites as the ‘first line of corporate
defence’ against activists. This is a strategy which is combined with community welfare projects
sponsored by companies and clearly relates to wider CSR commitments (Kraemer et al., 2013;
Welker, 2009). As Welker observes (2009: 143) with reference to the US-based Newmont Mining Corporation’s operation in Indonesia, local civilians are drawn ‘into the sphere of corporate
security through community development’. Corporate sponsorship of community development
is important to cultivate allies, gain access to territories, and to obtain detailed knowledge about
what is going on.
Optimistic studies on CSR have pointed to the disciplining effects of protests against oil
and mining companies’ operations, arguing that indigenous people and communities can push
companies to adopt CSR policies (e.g. Kapelus, 2002). This has the potential to contribute to
win-win scenarios. However, as the examples show, while companies do respond by adopting
CSR policies, they also respond with a range of other counter-mobilization strategies, such as
surveillance and related intelligence practices.
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
Commodification of risk-based policing
Theorizing the role of CSR and corporate surveillance
in global governance
The earlier observations raise a number of important issues that we address in the remainder of
this chapter. In particular, we discuss how we can theorize the role played by corporate surveillance and intelligence practices alongside CSR initiatives at a time when MNCs operate in a
wide variety of structurally different settings, facing multiple and generally critical publics. Here
we suggest that the contemporary nexus between CSR and corporate surveillance may be usefully understood in relation to the proliferation of hybrid forms of policing to protect new sites
of private authority. While ultimately aiming at the production of security and order (Kempa
et al., 1999), these forms of policing both contribute to and thrive on the emergence of global
information markets where intelligence about various forms of risk is produced and monetized.
This intelligence is valuable to corporations as they seek to protect the reputational benefits of
their CSR activities with efforts to anticipate and contain civil society criticism.
Traditionally, policing and its associated surveillance and intelligence practices have mainly been
associated with governmental authority, i.e. the state. However, in recent years researchers have begun
to investigate the role of non-state actors, including corporations in policing, surveillance and intelligence. For instance, business ethics scholars have examined intelligence-gathering among companies, with a particular focus on the thin line between legitimate corporate intelligence practices
vis-à-vis competitors and the questionable if not unethical and illegal industry of espionage proper
(e.g. Crane, 2005). While also focusing on the role of these practices in relation to issues pertaining
to market competition, management and communication scholars have started examining the ways
in which companies try to anticipate criticism, most recently on the basis of ‘big data’ and various
forms of sentiment analyses (Coombs and Holladay, 2007; Hearn, 2010; Jones et al., 2009). Scholars of political science, international relations, law and criminology have focused in more detail on
the growing corporate employment of risk management and military personnel to resolve various
security-related tasks (Gill and Phythian, 2012). What is particularly interesting in these strands of
literature is not only the recognition of the important role of surveillance and intelligence practice as
performed by private actors for issues relating directly to issues of market competition (business intelligence and spying), but also that governance functions conventionally undertaken by public authorities have become a matter for corporations to perform. Corporate policing has become increasingly
important. As Joh (2005: 615) has observed, many corporations ‘seek to safeguard property and the
lives of those on that property, to plan against risks of all kinds – street crime, riots, terrorism, natural
disasters, and so on – to be first-response problem solvers, and to maintain a public reputation’. In
corporations that span multiple legal jurisdictions, the workforce assigned to various forms of policing and security prevention and problem solving can be large. In Nigeria, for example, by the late
1990s, 20 per cent of Shell’s workforce was devoted to security tasks, with the company relying on
an extensive system of surveillance of protests and conflicts (Watts, 2005).
Part of this story is also the surge of private investigative and intelligence companies since the
end of the Cold War, firms that are staffed with former government employees and work largely
unchecked by law enforcement agencies. As a former government MI5 security agent comments:
The big change in recent years has been the huge growth in these companies. Where before
it was a handful of private detective agencies, now there are hundreds of multinational security organizations, which operate with less regulation than the spooks themselves.
(Armstrong, 2008: 2; see also Ruskin, 2013)
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
H.K. Hansen and J. Uldam
Other research has also shown how former intelligence officials from police or military agencies
are hired by private companies to do intelligence gathering (Lubbers, 2012).
These intersections between public and private policing are unfolding in the face of a growing
role for non-state actors, especially corporations, in assuming tasks that (especially in the Western
world) were previously managed by governments and public agencies. Private authority, privatized regulation, political CSR, multi-stakeholder and civil regulation are among the concepts
that have been used in the literatures to depict these developments (e.g. Cutler et al 1999; Haufler,
2006; Scherer and Palazzo, 2011). These concepts in various ways point to important developments, but we have to include other literatures as well in order to understand not only how CSR
and corporate surveillance and the rationales that underpin them take shape, but also how these
practices, as we have already observed, in fact transcend established distinctions between public
and private forms of policing (Kempa et al, 1999; O’Reilly, 2010). Where is, for example, the
exact boundary between the public and private in the CSR and surveillance practices illuminated
in the earlier section? The following discussion provides suggestions for how we can conceive
of these issues.
One first point is that surveillance generally aims at getting intelligence for the purpose of
control, and as such it involves the gathering of information through acts of monitoring, and
subsequent analysis and evaluation of information (Lyon, 2007; Gill and Phythian, 2012: 43). In
a wider sense, as we can derive from our empirical observations in this chapter, intelligence is
about the production of strategic knowledge, which, following Rathmell (2002: 89), is ‘targeted
and actionable’, involving ‘predictive knowledge for specific consumers’. The production of
intelligence may involve secret methods and sources, as our examples from Shell and BP suggest,
but these are not defining for intelligence as such (Rathmell, 2002; Gill and Phythian, 2012: 31).
A second point relates to governmentality. Governmentality refers to the particular rationalities and technologies deployed in the conduct of conduct, and it is conventionally distinguished
from two other dimensions of governmental power: (1) the techniques and practices by which
human beings are made subjects to regular and predictable routines, also termed discipline, and
(2) sovereignty, which refers to the command of central authority over territory. Crucially, governmentality is not exclusive to the state and its institutions of government. It may also form part
of non-state institutions, ranging from state agencies to social movements and corporations. Thus,
governmentality dissolves the otherwise conventional boundaries between public and private,
state and civil society, national and international. However, this does not imply that the state is
abandoned as a locale from which ‘many “private” powers derive their support for their authority’ (Garland, 1997: 175).
From this vantage point, an extended concept of policing may be developed. Policing has
become intrinsically related to risk rationalities and risk management technologies that draw
upon market logics (Ericson and Haggerty, 1997; see also Power, 2007). While the repressive,
punitive or deterrent measures to control have always been part of policing, the production of
knowledge of ‘risky’ sites, processes and populations has become of growing importance. As
such, risks are not first-order things but rather the product of social processes by which objects
become recognized and described as risk. When objects of concern are described in terms of
risk, ‘they are placed in a web of expectations about management and actor responsibility’ (Power,
2007: 6). ‘Risk-based policing’ is based on the gathering of information in order to prevent and
make predictions. Thus, policing becomes a matter of intervening before the event rather than
reacting to it (O’Malley, 2010).
It is in this light that we may think of corporations’ attempts to anticipate reputational risks
posed by activists through surveillance, and also the efforts to contain them through tactics of
silencing their critique, as a form of risk-based policing. Such risk-based policing not only targets
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
Commodification of risk-based policing
specific named individuals, however, as our examples with Shell and BP suggest. Andrejevic’ s
(2014) distinction between targeted and generalized surveillance suggests that risk-based policing
combines different forms of surveillance and intelligence practices. Whereas the former monitors
particular named citizens, the latter refers to the monitoring of public opinion more broadly, relying on ‘increasingly ubiquitous and comprehensive forms of data collection’, popularly known
as big data (Andrejevic, 2014: 56).
Big data analysis is mostly in the hands of government and corporations, which use big data
to ‘nudge, persuade, to influence’ (Richards and King, 2013: 44). In this context, governments
and corporations are central players in an expanding information market where all sorts of data –
small and big – about risks is commodified. By commodification we mean the process through
which such information is incorporated into capitalist accumulation, to draw upon a Marxist
conception of commodification (Scholte, 2005: 161). Risk information becomes commodified
through its hardware (equipment such as computers), software (digital programs that process
information through the hardware), service (specialized IT consultancy companies) and content
(facilitated by telephone companies and satellites, online service providers and cable suppliers).
As Scholte remarks, ‘information and communications have become important to capitalism not
only as infrastructure to facilitate other processes of accumulation, but also as major objects of
accumulation themselves’ (Scholte, 2005: 171).
Hoogenboom (2006) has coined the term ‘grey intelligence’ to refer to the hybrid nature
of contemporary intelligence practices that rests on such risk information produced by a wide
range of actors in information markets. These include private entrepreneurs delivering informal
intelligence products, such as:
background information on (potential) employees; risk analyses of markets, competitors and
countries; fraud investigations into internal fraud, due diligence reports of potential merger
partners and for instance personal information (political interests, social behaviour, financial
position etc.) of employees.
(Hoogenboom, 2006: 380)
The rise of information markets where intelligence is commodified for risk management purposes reflects that ‘risk’ has produced new actors and networks engaged in a much wider ‘risk
industry’ (Ericson, 2007). More than a state-corporate symbiosis proper (O’Reilly, 2010), the risk
industry is an assemblage of governmental, commercial, non-governmental and hybrid actors
that supply powerful actors with managerial instruments, information about benchmarks for best
practice in ‘risky’ areas or zones, rankings and other devices.
Discussion and implications
Recent reporting suggests that MNCs’ surveillance of their critics is widespread (Lubbers, 2012;
Ruskin, 2013). This is reflected in our examples from the oil industry, where BP and Shell monitor individual citizens in order to anticipate reputational risks and contain criticism. We suggest
that in the context of a growing role for non-state actors, especially corporations, in assuming
tasks previously managed by governments, these practices may usefully be understood as riskbased policing that both produce and draw on ‘grey intelligence’ that spans public, private and
civil society domains, and is subject to commodification processes on information markets.
Grey intelligence resonates well with broader theoretical discussions about polycentric governance (Scholte, 2005), with Foucauldian studies of neoliberal governmentality and not least
with studies of policing (Haggerty and Ericson, 1997; Kempa et al., 1999; Joh, 2005; Williams,
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
H.K. Hansen and J. Uldam
2005; Baer, 2008; O’Malley, 2010; Sklansky, 2011). It suggests forms of social control based on
organizational rationalities and technologies deployed by state as well as non-state actors, and it
implies the proliferation of market rationalities and procedures within policing (whether public
or private). Such tendencies are particularly clear in the extractive industries, where major extractive companies deploy knowledge, expertise and technologies delivered by private guards, risk
analysis bureaux and other commercial actors, such as the printed media. The supply of such ‘risk
management tools’ may facilitate the enrolment of corporations into the fighting of ‘bad things’,
conventionally thought to be the key task of state authority, while cultivating their competitiveness aspirations (Hansen, 2011).
In other words, rather than being simply exercised through a centralized bureaucratic apparatus such as the state, we need to also consider policing as a form of power that is exercised through
logics of problematization, calculation and intervention undertaken by a host of different actors.
The expansion of corporate surveillance comes at a time when corporations are promoting their
commitment to CSR more insistently than ever, in communities in the Global South as well as
in the North where global justice activists criticize CSR initiatives as ‘greenwashing’ (Hilson,
2012). In both of these contexts, corporate policing is impossible without information gathering
and intelligence, relying on the deployment of risk and surveillance technologies (Ericson, 2007;
Lyon, 2007; Andrejevic, 2014).
It is with these developments in mind that our analysis of extractive MNCs’ surveillance
of activists should be considered as a modest first step towards understanding the dynamics of
corporate surveillance and CSR today, and their broader significance for corporate power and
governance. We suggest that future research may usefully address two interrelated issues. The first
issue concerns the theorization of the different modes of surveillance and intelligence afforded
by neoliberal governmentalities and the particular forms of policing associated with them. There
is much to gain, we believe, by further refining the concepts of information markets and grey
intelligence, their underlying political economy, and importantly, the different ways in which
state, market and civil society actors deploy different surveillance models, ranging from panoptic to synoptic (Sadler and Lloyd, 2009; Gane, 2012). The second issue concerns the place of
corporations within regimes of surveillance from the perspective of ‘targeted’ and ‘generalized’
surveillance (Andrejevic, 2014). In this respect, the proliferation of monitoring technologies that
enable intelligence gathering on the basis of big data warrants particular attention. The power of
big data resides in its predictive capacity, and in particular, its power to enable pre-emption. (Kerr
and Earle, 2013: 67). Pre-emptive predictions do not adopt the perspective of individuals, but are
typically made from the perspective of a corporation or a state, which seeks to anticipate certain
types of action. Pre-emptive predictions raise new questions about responsibility. By combining
‘targeted’ and ‘generalized’ surveillance, corporations are now capable of predicting pre-emptively
the activities of their critics – in communities and in the north – and thus better contain them,
in much more encompassing ways than previously. This observation raises important concerns
about the boundaries of privacy, about who is privileged by these technologies and who is marginalized and, of course, about the wider rationales of corporations’ engagement with CSR, and
their policing of critics.
1 All civil society individuals have been anonymized to protect their families. With a single exception (the
human rights non-governmental organization [NGO]), none of the groups have been anonymized. This
decision has been made with informed consent from the activists included in this study.
The Data Protection Act allows individuals to request copies of personal information that UK-based
organizations hold on them
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
Commodification of risk-based policing
Andrejevic, M. (2014) ‘Surveillance in the Big Data Era’, in Kenneth D. Pimple (ed.) Emerging Pervasive Information and Communication Technologies (PICT): Ethical Challenges, Opportunities and Safeguards. Dordrecht,
Netherlands: Springer, pp. 55–69.
Armstrong, S. (2008) ‘The new spies. When the Cold War ended, it didn’t spell curtains for the secret agent.
Private espionage is a boomi’. New Statesman, 7 August.
Baer, M.H. (2008) ‘Corporate policing and corporate governance: What can we learn from HewlettPackard’s pretexting scandal?’ Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series Working Paper No. 08-15.
New York University School Of Law.
Banerjee, B. (2008) ‘Corporate social responsibility: The good, the bad and the ugly’. Critical Sociology, 34(1):
Börzel, T. and Risse, T. (2010) ‘Governance without a state. Can it work?’ Regulation and Governance, 4:
Bridge the Gulf (2012) ‘At shareholder meeting, BP board member agrees to tour struggling Gulf Coast
communities’. Available at: (accessed 28 August 2014).
Carroll, A.B. and Shabana, K.M. (2010) ‘The business case for corporate social responsibility: A review of
concepts, research and practice’. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12(1): 85–105.
Chong, D. (2012) ‘Institutions trust institutions critiques by artists of the BP/Tate Partnership’. Journal of
Macromarketing, 33(104): 104–116.
Coombs, W.T. and Holladay, S.J. (2007) ‘The negative communication dynamic: Exploring the impact of
stakeholder affect on behavioral intentions’. Journal of Communication Management, 11(4): 300–312.
Crane, A. (2005) ‘In the company of spies: When competitive intelligence gathering becomes industrial
espionage’, Business Horizons, 48: 233–240.
Cutler, A.C., Haufler, V. and Porter, T. (eds) (1999) Private Authority and International Affairs. Albany: State
University of New York Press.
Du, S. and Viera Jr., E.T. (2012) ‘Striving for legitimacy through corporate social responsibility: Insights
from oil companies’. Journal of Business Ethics, 110(4): 413–427.
Ericson, R.V. (2007) Crime in an Insecure World. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Ericson, R. and Haggerty. K. (1997) Policing the Risk Society. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Fleming, P. and Jones, M. (2013) The End of Corporate Social Responsibility. London: Sage.
Foucault, M. (1991 [1978]) ‘Governmentality’, in G. Burchell, C. Gordon and P. Miller (eds) The Foucault
Effect: Studies of Governmentality. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, pp. 87–104.
Gane, N. (2012) ‘The governmentalities of neoliberalism: Panopticism, post-panopticism and beyond’. The
Sociological Review, 60(4): 611–634.
Garland, D. (1997) “Governmentality” and the problem of crime: Foucault, criminology, sociology’. Theoretical Criminology, 1(2): 173–214.
Garland, D. (2003) ‘The rise of risk’, in R. Ericson (ed.) Risk and Morality. Toronto: University of Toronto
University Press, pp. 48–86.
Gill, P. and Phythian, M. (2012) Intelligence in an Insecure World. Cambridge: Policy Press.
Haggerty, K.D. and Ericson, R. (2000) ‘The surveillant assemblage’. British Journal of Sociology, 51(4):
Hansen, H.K. (2011) ‘Managing corruption risk’. Review of International Political Economy, 18(2): 251–275.
Haufler, V. (2006) ‘Global governance in the private sector’, in C. May (ed.) Global Corporate Power. Boulder,
CO: Lynne Rienner.
Hearn, A. (2010) ‘Structuring feeling: Web 2.0, online ranking and rating, and the digital “reputation”
economy’. Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization, 10.
Hilson, G. (2012) ‘Corporate social responsibility in the extractive industries: Experiences from developing
countries’. Resources Policy, 37: 131–137.
Hoogenboom, B. (2006) ‘Grey intelligence’. Crime, Law and Social Change, 45: 373–381.
Imai, S., Ladan M. and Dander, J. (2007) ‘Breaching indigenous law: Canadian mining in Guatemala’.
Indigenous Law Journal, 6(1): 101–139.
Joh, E. (2005) ‘Conceptualizing the Private Police’. Utah Law Review, 2: 574–617.
Johnson, L. (ed.) (2009) Handbook of Intelligence Studies. New York: Routledge.
Jones, B., Temperley, J. and Lima, A. (2009) ‘Corporate reputation in the era of Web 2.0: The case of Primark’. Journal of Marketing Management, 25(9–10): 927–939.
Kapelus, P. (2002) ‘Mining, corporate social responsibility and the “community”: The case of Rio Tinto,
Richards Bay Minerals and the Mbonambi’. Journal of Business Ethics, 39: 275–296.
Downloaded By: University College London At: 11:56 24 Oct 2017; For: 9781315815350, chapter12, 10.4324/978131581535
H.K. Hansen and J. Uldam
Kempa, M., Carrier, R., Wood, J. and Shearing, C. (1999) ‘Reflections on the evolving concepts of “private policing”’. European Journal of Criminal Policy and Research, 7: 197–223.
Kerr, I. and Earle, J. (2013) ‘Prediction, preemption, presumption: How big data threatens big picture privacy’. Stanford Law Review, 65 (3 September): 65–72.
Kraemer, R., Whiteman, G. and Banerjee, B. (2013) ‘Conflict and astroturfing in Niyamgiri: The importance
of national advocacy networks in anti-corporate social movements’. Organization Studies, 34: 823.
Liberate Tate (2012) ‘Disobedience as performance’. Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts,
17(4): 135–140.
Livesey, S.M. (2001) ‘Eco-identity as discursive struggle: Royal Dutch/Shell, Brent Spar, and Nigeria’. Journal
of Business Communication, 38(1): 58–91.
Lubbers, E. (2012) Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark. Corporate and Police Spying on Activists. London: Pluto Press.
Lyon, D. (2007) Surveillance Studies. An Overview. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Matten, D. and Moon, J. (2008) ‘“Implicit” and “explicit” CSR: A conceptual framework for a comparative understanding of corporate social responsibility’. Academy of Management Review, 33(2): 404–424.
O’Callaghan, T. (2007) ‘Disciplining multinational enterprises: The regulatory power of reputation risk’.
Global Society, 21(1): 95–117.
O’Malley, P. (2010) Crime and Risk. London: Sage.
O’ Reilly, C. (2010) ‘The transnational security consultancy industry: A case of state-corporate symbiosis’.
Theoretical Criminology, 14(2): 183–210.
Palazzo, G. and Richter, U. (2005) ‘CSR business as usual? The case of the tobacco industry’. Journal of Business Ethics, 61(4): 387–401.
Platform (2014) ‘Picture This – A Portrait of 25 Years of BP Sponsorship’. Available at: www.platform (accessed 28 August 2014).
Power, M. (2007) Organized Uncertainty. Designing a World of Risk Management. Oxford: Oxford University
Rathmell, A. (2002) ‘Towards postmodern intelligence’. Intelligence and National Security, 17(3): 87–104.
Richards, N.M. and King, J.H. (2013) ‘Three paradoxes of big data’. Stanford Law Review, 65 (3 September):
Ruskin, G. (2013) Spooky Business. Corporate Espionage Against Nonprofit Organizations. Washington, DC: Center for Corporate Policy.
Sadler, D. and Lloyd, S. (2009) ‘Neo-liberalising corporate social responsibility: A political economy of corporate citizenship’. Geoforum, 40: 613–622.
Scherer, A.G. and Palazzo, G. (2011) ‘The new political role of business in a globalized world: A review
of a new perspective on CSR and its implications for the firm, governance, and democracy’. Journal of
Management Studies, 48(4): 899–931.
Scholte, J.A (2005) Globalization. A Critical Introduction (2nd edn). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Sklansky, D.A. (2011) ‘Private power and human rights’. Law and Ethics of Human Rights, 5(1): 112–135.
Uldam, J. (2014) ‘Corporate management of visibility and the fantasy of the post-political: Social media and
surveillance’. New Media and Society, doi: 10.1177/1461444814541526.
UK Tar Sands Network (2011) ‘BP Overwhelmed by Criticism at AGM’. Available at:
org/2011/04/bp-overwhelmed-by-criticism-at-agm/ (accessed 28 August 2014).
Van den Hove, S., Le Menestrel, M. and De Bettignies, H.C. (2002) ‘The oil industry and climate change:
Strategies and ethical dilemmas’. Climate Policy, 2(1): 3–18.
Vogel, D. (2010) ‘The private regulation of global corporate conduct’. Business and Society, 49(1): 68–87.
Watts, M.J. (2005) ‘Righteous oil? Human rights, the oil complex and corporate social responsibility’.
Annual Review of Environmental Resources, 30: 73–407.
Welker, M. (2009) ‘“Corporate security begins in the community”: Mining, the corporate social responsibility industry, and environmental advocacy in Indonesia’. Cultural Anthropology, 24(1):142–179.
Williams, J.W. (2005) ‘Governability matters: The private policing of economic crime and the challenge of
democratic governance’. Policing and Society, 15(2): 187–211.
Без категории
Размер файла
100 Кб
9781315815350, ch12
Пожаловаться на содержимое документа