Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Surveillance Project

More good stuff from Canada:

The Surveillance Project

"The Surveillance Project researches the ways in which personal data are processed. We explore why information about people has become so important in the 21st century and what are the social, political and economic consequences of this trend. Questions of 'privacy' and of 'social sorting' are central to our concerns.

Surveillance is 'any systematic attention to a person's life aimed at exerting influence over it' (James Rule). So The Surveillance Project studies everything from supermarket loyalty cards to police networks searching for suspects. We have a special interest in the surveillance aspects of post 9/11 quest for tightened security. While high-tech methods have become very significant, we also examine surveillance as face-to-face supervision or as mediated watching using video cameras.

Surveillance is not simply about large organizations using sophisticated computer equipment. It is also about how ordinary people - citizens, workers, travelers, and consumers - interact with surveillance. Some comply, others negotiate, and yet others resist. The Surveillance Project explores how expanding flows of personal data affect and are affected by everyday life."

In addition to top-notch work by research director and sociology professor David Lyon, he and his colleagues are active participants in public forums. For June 2007 they're organising National ID Card Systems: an International Research Workshop (abstracts due next month) and a really interesting-sounding Surveillance Summer Seminar.

See also:

Location Technologies: Mobility, Surveillance and Privacy: A Report to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada 2005 (pdf)

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