Monday, September 24, 2007

Commissioner says we're all "little brothers" in surveillance society

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, who is promoting an international privacy conference taking place in Montreal this week, is interviewed in the National Post. The focus of the interview is the "little brothers" that have an impact on privacy, including the proliferation of digital cameras. See:

Print Story - network

Ordinary citizens part of 'surveillance society': Privacy czar

Carly Weeks

CanWest News Service

Sunday, September 23, 2007

OTTAWA -- If you think the oppressive hand of Big Brother is the only threat to personal privacy in today's digital society, think again.

Our camera phone-toting friends and strangers in the online universe can be just as responsible for the erosion of the truly private life as the corporations and government agencies that keep tabs on citizens in the name of product sales and national security, warns federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart.

"It's not just Big Brother who's akin to a government watching you in the Orwellian dystopia," Ms. Stoddart said in an interview. "We're all little brothers. We're all fascinated with the gadgets that allow you to do this."

The pervasive presence of technology, and its unprecedented capacity to surreptitiously track the lives of others, is one of the issues to be addressed at a major international privacy conference that will be hosted by Ms. Stoddart in Montreal this week.


But Ms. Stoddart says people who complain about the watchful eye of governments and corporations should first take a long look in the mirror.

That's because technology and the Internet are turning ordinary citizens into spies who can post pictures of the neighbours' yards online. Even social networking sites like Facebook, intended to let people tell friends and co-workers what they're up to, can be corrupted by the unwanted circulation of false or malicious postings.

"We're all participating in the surveillance society," Ms. Stoddart said, adding that "knowledge gives us power."

She notes that more people are living alone and turn to technological gadgets to satisfy a craving for human contact....

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