Privacy and Surveillance in the news

In the last day or two, privacy and surveillance have been regular features of the online news sources I read and twitter articles from (@achurches). Globally, we are seeing (IMHO), an increase in surveillance and correspondingly a potential decrease in privacy.

The New Zealand Herald  reported in two articles that the police are using drones for surveillance and that A new “super spy” camera with facial recognition is being used to monitor the crowd at Eden Park, recognising trouble makers and recording faces.

Here is an interesting quote from the “super camera” article  -

Recent advances in CCTV technology have brought warnings from overseas privacy advocates. In the United Kingdom, new 16-megapixel HD cameras can pick out a face more than 800m away, and match it against wanted people. Such technology scans faces and “maps” their points out into a series of algorithms. Comparisons can then be made using facial recognition software to verify people’s identity.“

How comfortable do you feel with your face and data being matched against a database of “wanted people”?

Its not just security cameras that are of concern to young people. TV3 reported that 1 in 6 secondary school students didn’t see a doctor or nurse when they needed to over a year period and that one third report it was privacy concerns that were a reason for this.

We live in a connected community and world where much, if not everything, we do is recorded and public. Our students need to be aware that they live in this connected world and that there actions are no longer private. We might want to complain about the invasion of privacy, but we can’t change this and the level of surveillance is going to increase. Awareness is critical, understanding of their and our rights to privacy is important. Also encouraging behaviours that are going to protect privacy.

These articles are a great stimulus for discussion and debate around privacy and surveillance.

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