The Impact of Political Culture on Consent to Government-Sponsored Digital Surveillance Under Authoritarian and Democratic Conditions

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In both democratic and authoritarian regimes across the world, governments increasingly use digital technologies to monitor and alter the behavior of residents within their borders. While the tools employed are similar across various political systems, the ways in which societies consent and negotiate with government surveillance are determined by their political culture. Using the research context of Coronavirus, this thesis tests how political culture influences the ways in which governments and societies interact through digital surveillance under a common threat. The research question is: how did political culture impact societal consent to government-sponsored digital surveillance in the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan during the COVID-19 pandemic? This thesis uses mixed methods of existing survey data and organic semi-structured interviews to understand how culture impacts consent to contact tracing applications. The study compares surveillance activity and sentiment data in both countries’ digital space through Michel Foucault’s theories of power and resistance.
Date of Award1 Sept 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorKerry Brown (Supervisor) & Konstantinos Tsimonis (Supervisor)

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