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How the Olympics results in increased surveillance

How the Olympics results in increased surveillance

Canadians often face the argument that increased public video surveillance is necessary to guarantee their personal safety, or to make sure that their neighbourhood, community or city remains free of vandalism, poor driving or violent crime. Once a new surveillance technique or technology is put into operation, it becomes difficult to reverse the decision – and, consequently, we, as individual members of society, lose one more private moment in time.

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Do you enjoy being watched?

The author of a new article on surveillance in The Walrus thinks you do. Hal Niedzviecki says that while the thought of being monitored used to disturb us (think George Orwell and Nineteen Eighty-Four), cameras and other surveillance techniques are so prevalent today that we’ve stopped noticing them. And, he says, when we do notice we don’t really care (case in point: when it was announced that 10,000 cameras would be installed in Toronto’s subways, streetcars and buses, he asserts that citizens “shrugged and went about their business”).

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The future is friendly? Experimenting with RFID

Last week, the Seattle Times reported on an experiment the University of Washington is conducting with radio frequency identification, or RFID. The university, responsible for one of the largest experiments using wireless tags in a social setting, has effectively created a futuristic atmosphere where RFID is everywhere. With this in place, they hope to uncover problems before the technology becomes widely adopted.

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Top Ten Lists

Day to day, our actions are being captured, and increasingly, it’s being done by surveillance cameras. This technology – like RFID tags – is being used by more organizations everyday to improve security and deter thieves. And while that’s a perfectly legitimate reason to employ cameras, organizations should also be ensuring their surveillance activities minimize the impact on people’s privacy.

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