Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance: Challenges of Technological Change

A report, entitled ‘Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance: Challenges of Technological Change’, is available from the Royal Academic of Engineering (26 March 2007) at: http://www.raeng.org.uk/policy/reports/default.htm

I was a member of the advisory committee that helped shape the report and found the process and its outcome to be a useful, multi-disciplinary and balanced treatment of the complex issues of privacy and surveillance. I recommend the report and would be very grateful for any comments or reactions to its findings and recommendations.

My own sense it that its focus on ‘dilemmas’ was important and distinguishes this report from many others that more typically argue one of the two opposing pole positions in one of the most important debates of the day surrounding the societal implications of information and communication technologies.

Early press coverage includes:
http://www.raeng.org.uk/policy/reports/default.htm
http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/releases/shownews.htm?NewsID=378
http//news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6494815.stm&cid=1114691574
http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=42573&in_page_id=34
http://software.silicon.com/security/0,39024655,39166539,00.htm
http://www.24dash.com/egovernment/18444.htm

Coverage of Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance report published 26 March 2007National pressPublic webcams, not CCTV, urged to avoid Big Brother society
Guardian Unlimited, UK
27 March 2007
The recommendations, in a report called Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance, published by the Royal Academy of Engineering, come as the Home Office and police forces prepare to upgrade national CCTV networks amid concern that evidence from the cameras is often too poor in quality to use in criminal investigations…Big Brother surveillance means noone is safe, experts warn
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1572626.ece
The Times, UK
27 March 2007
The report by the Royal Academy of Engineering, Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance — Challenges of Technological Change, argues that the scientists developing surveillance technology should also think about measures to protect privacy…

Personal data must be protected from misuse, report warns
Financial Times, UK
27 March 2007
The study, by The Royal Academy of Engineering, is the most authoritative in a growing number of studies paining a disturbing picture of a future in which the routine recording and storing of personal data expands in such a way as to turn it into an instrument of repression or terror…

Big Brother is harming you, warns report
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/27/nbigbros27.xml
Daily Telegraph, UK
27 March 2007
The growth of CCTV cameras, supermarket loyalty cards and the proposed ID scheme risk turning Britain into a Big Brother state, a report said yesterday… The Royal Academy of Engineering painted a stark future where personal details could be hijacked and abused by terrorists and criminals…

Hi-tech threat to ‘private’ life
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6494815.stm
BBC Online, UK
26 March 2007
Bombs triggered by the presence of people with specific biometric traits may soon be feasible, warns a report. Written by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the report looks at how technology is eroding personal privacy…

Big Brother ‘puts lives at risk’
The Sun, UK
26 March 2007
By PETE BELL. CCTV, supermarket loyalty schemes and national ID cards could be putting British lives in jeopardy, according to a report. …

How Big Brother puts you in danger
Metro, UK
26 March 2007
Big Brother Britain is putting lives at risk, according to a new report into surveillance. Much of the information captured by security cameras or stored in …

‘Stop CCTV growth’ call by expert
Metro, UK
26 March 2007
The number of CCTV cameras in Britain is so large that installing any more should be halted until their need is proven, an expert has said. …

UK has 1% of world’s population but 20% of its CCTV cameras
This is London, UK (Evening Standard)
26 March 2007
Britain is now being watched by a staggering 4.2million – one for every 14 people and a fifth of the cameras in the entire world. …
[also in Daily Mail 27 March see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=444819&in_page_id=1770]

Regional press

MPs to investigate Big Brother surveillance
Scotsman, UK
27 March 2007
By Tim Castle. LONDON (Reuters) – The growing surveillance society is to be examined by an influential committee of MPs as police call for new regulations …
…The report by the Royal Academy of Engineering said research should be conducted so that individual privacy was built into electronic surveillance systems.

Trade press

Surveillance society must be managed
IT PRO, UK
26 March 2007
Royal Academy of Engineering releases report warning against potential misuses of CCTV, identity cards and databases. The mismanagement of CCTV, …

Big Brother Britain ‘putting lives in danger’
24dash.com, UK
26 March 2007
Supermarket loyalty cards, CCTV schemes and Government projects such as the national identity cards scheme must be adapted to minimise the risk of a “Big …

Surveillance culture erodes personal privacy
ZDNet Asia, Asia
27 March 2007
… personal information held by various organizations is impacting the privacy of UK citizens, according to a report from the Royal Academy of Engineering. …

Surveillance culture erodes personal privacy
Silicon.com, UK
26 March 2007
By Tim Ferguson. The increasing amount of personal information held by various organisations is impacting the privacy of UK citizens and potentially putting …

We can have ‘win-win’ on security vs. privacy
PhysOrg.com – Evergreen,VA,USA
26 March 2007
However, in a challenging report to be published on Monday 26 March 2007, The Royal Academy of Engineering says that, with the right engineering solutions, …

Engineers warn of government and corporate database risks
ComputerworldUK, UK
27 March 2007
By Tash Shifrin. The Royal Academy of Engineering has called on the government to manage the risks posed by huge public databases and tracking technologies …

Hi-tech ‘threat’ to private life
Help Net Security, Croatia
27 March 2007
Bombs triggered by the presence of people with specific biometric traits may soon be feasible, warns a report. Written by the Royal Academy of Engineering, …

Government urged to tackle privacy threat
http://www.precisionmarketing.co.uk/Articles/253304/Government urged to tackle privacy concerns .html
Precision Marketing, UK
27 March 2007
Dilemmas of Privacy & Surveillance, a report by The Royal Academy of Engineering, argues that as databases holding sensitive personal information continue to grow, and as government moves to develop initiatives like the National Identity Register, privacy issues should be a key concern for both government and the direct marketing industry…

Broadcast

Professor Nigel Gilbert gave interviews broadcast on:
LBC Radio – 26 March
British Forces Radio – 26 March
BBC Radio Essex – 27 March

2 thoughts on “Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance: Challenges of Technological Change

  1. … chanced upon your blog when surfing the OII website searching for Phil Zimmermann’s talk, and I see we have a similar take on what is happening on the UK policy agenda. See my blog at
    http://politicsofprivacy.blogspot.com/2007/03/further-evidence-of-privacy-and.html

    Others begin to take note of the UK surveillance situation as well, by the way. I just received an invitation from the Centre for British Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin to talk about the privacy situation here. Interesting, I thought.

    Best wishes — and I enjoyed the Sandra Braman talk very much!

    Andreas

    Dr. Andreas Busch andreas.busch@hertford.ox.ac.uk

    Reader in European Politics, and
    Course Director, MPhil in European Politics and Society, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford

    Like

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