Although most Canadians are familiar with surveillance cameras and airport security, relatively few are aware of the extent to which the potential for surveillance is now embedded in virtually every aspect of our lives. We cannot walk down a city street, register for a class, pay with a credit card, hop on an airplane, or make a telephone call without data being captured and processed. Where does such information go? Who makes use of it, and for what purpose? Is the loss of control over our personal information merely the price we pay for using social media and other forms of electronic communication, or should we be wary of systems that make us visible—and thus vulnerable—to others as never before?
The work of a multidisciplinary research team, Transparent Lives explains why and how surveillance is expanding—mostly unchecked—into every facet of our lives. Through an investigation of the major ways in which both government and private sector organizations gather, monitor, analyze, and share information about ordinary citizens, the volume identifies nine key trends in the processing of personal data that together raise urgent questions of privacy and social justice. Intended not only to inform but to make a difference, the volume is deliberately aimed at a broad audience,including legislators and policymakers, journalists, civil liberties groups, educators, and, above all, the reading public.
The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting is a Major Collaborative Research Initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Its goals are to understand the factors that contribute to the expansion of surveillance as a technology of governance, including its underlying principles, technological infrastructures, and institutional frameworks, and to elucidate the social consequences of surveillance for institutions and for ordinary people. Transparent Lives reflects research conducted in the course of this seven-year project. The volume was jointly authored by eleven members of the New Transparency team: Colin J. Bennett, Andrew Clement, Arthur Cockfield, Aaron Doyle, Kevin D. Haggerty, Stéphane Leman-Langlois, David Lyon, Benjamin Muller, David Murakami Wood, Laureen Snider, and Valerie M. Steeves.
Introduction: How Canadian Lives Became Transparent to Watching Eyes
Trend 1: Expanding Surveillance: From the Atypical to the Routine
Trend 2: Securitization and Surveillance: From Privacy Rights to Security Risks
Trend 3: The Blurring of Sectors: From Public Versus Private to Public with Private
Trend 4: The Growing Ambiguity of Personal Information: From Personally Identified to Personally Identifiable
Trend 5: Expanding Mobile and Location-Based Surveillance: From Who You Are to Where You Are
Trend 6: Globalizing Surveillance: From the Domestic to the Worldwide
Trend 7: Embedding Surveillance in Everyday Environments: From the Surveillance of People to the Surveillance of Things
Trend 8: Going Biometric: From Surveillance of the Body to Surveillance in the Body
Trend 9: Watching by the People: From Them to Us
Conclusion: What Can Be Done?
APPENDIX 1: Surveillance and Privacy Laws: FAQS
APPENDIX 2: Surveillance Movies
APPENDIX 3: How to Protect Your Privacy Online: FAQS
APPENDIX 4: Canadian NGOs Concerned with Surveillance, Privacy, and Civil Liberties
APPENDIX 5: Further Reading
Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.Subscribe to our newsletter now
Read past newsletters