Monday, 15 September 2008

ANPR camera network

Front page story in the guardian, so everybody's probably seen it. There's going to be a little bit about ANPR in the surveillance and society paper proposal we're writing, given that its about resistance to speed cameras in the UK.

(evening Edit: Comment is Free discussion of this story. As ever, from my discourse analysis perspective, it's the comment section that is the most interesting, as you get to see what arguments and beliefs are actually being used in the world. That and I can't get enough bitchy internet)

Also, I picked up September's Issue of Scientific American. I've never read it before, but it caught my eye in the shop because it is a special issue 'will technology kill privacy' and the 'future of privacy'. On cursory inspection it seems packed full of interesting stuff (although heavily weighted towards the specific US case in its policy and legal implications - the technology largely carries over). One thing I just saw, that I pretty much agree with is that 'privacy' harms are often actually other types of harms, and a really interesting point that is worth thinking about (and I like, having a soft spot for egalitarian, social justice arguments):

"Much (though not all) anxiety about genetic privacy would go away if medical care were affordable to everyone."

Makes you wonder how many surveillance issues can be thought of in these ways - that surveillance systems are frequently used to maintain the status quo position of inequality, because inequality tends to cause things that are system-destabilising (crime for example). So if there was less inequality, there would be less need for surveillance systems, or they could be used for more benign activities - in the above case, for epidemiological research for example.

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