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Surveillance and Resistance in a Risk Society

There seem to be three responses to mass surveillance with varying degrees of interest from the populace:

1) Notice: U. Toronto professor Andrew Clement has offered $100 for a “privacy compliant” surveillance camera:

In some cases, it can be hard to tell who is responsible for a camera, which is itself a problem, according to Clement. “We have a right to know who’s collecting our information, that’s fundamental to our privacy legislation,” he said. “If you don’t see a sign, it’s clearly not compliant with privacy laws around informed consent.”

I’d add that the consent should be meaningful and actionable. The watched deserve some clear information on how to object to what may be wayward watchers (be they stationary or drone-enabled cameras).

2) Sousveillance: Tiny lifelogging cameras now cost about $300; the price is sure to decline over time. Even audio recordings can convey a good deal of injustice meted out by the authorized “watchers.” At a 2012 Diane von Furstenburg fashion show, models wore “Google Glasses” as they walked down the runway, filming the audience that observed them. With the right interface, such glasses may make their wearers’ “laser-focused, walking encyclopedias;” or not.

3) Hiding: Researchers are apparently developing methods for foiling facial recognition software. Others seek “routes of least surveillance.”

4) Illegal resistance: Berlin activists/criminals are now gamifying the destruction of cameras:

The winner of the game does not get a trophy or a year’s supply of spray paint. The competition ends on 19 February, to coincide with the start of the European Police Congress. The prize, says Camover, is to be in the frontline of a protest that will take place three days earlier, on 16 February. The location has yet to be confirmed, but Camover advises anyone who turns up to “crouch to avoid the flying cameras”.

The activists may soon be joined by the “Cheaters” shamed in a popular TV show.

So the state of play appears to be: join the surveillance game, stop it, modify it, or inform people about its players. Any other options?