News Archive: 2006

Media Resources

Read more to access the summary of the research findings and background documents related to the GPD international survey on privacy and surveillance.

SP Seminar Series

Wednesday, November 8th, Carrie Sanders, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology, McMaster University "Policing and Information Technologies (IT): An Ethnographic Analysis of Policing and the Impact of IT on Work Processes, Criminal Identities and Deviant Spaces". Location: Mackintosh Corry Hall, Room D528 Time: 12:00 - 1:30 pm


The terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 led to increased government and public attention on surveillance and information-sharing within emergency preparedness agencies. Since 2001, emergency services across Canada and the US have been taking active steps to centralize their services through the implementation of advanced information technologies (IT).

UK Surveillance Report Released

A report written by the Surveillance Studies Network and commissioned by the UK Information Commissioner's Office was released 2 November 2006.

The report describes Britain as a "surveillance society," where there are up to 4.2m CCTV cameras--about one for every 14 people--and increased monitoring of work, travel and telecommunications.

Fears that the UK would "sleep-walk into a surveillance society" have become a reality, the government's information commissioner Richard Thomas has said.

Researchers highlight "dataveillance", the use of credit card, mobile phone and loyalty card information.

SP responds to Arar report

Surveillance Project investigators have written to the Canadian government in response the the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar.

Several Queen's University GPD investigators have written to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, and the Subcommittee on the Review of the Anti-terrorism Act. The letter, dated 18 October 2006, urges lawmakers to implement the necessary legislation to promote the recommendations of the Commission's report as soon as possible, and states, in part, that

SP Seminar Series

Thursday, November 2nd, Cagatay Topal, PhD candidate, Queen's Department of Sociology "Deleuze Makes Sociology or Sociology Remakes Deleuze? Surveillance over Migrant Workers and Immigrants from Turkey in Germany". Jointly presented by the Department of Sociology and The Surveillance Project Location: Mackintosh Corry Hall, Room D411 Time: 12:30 - 2:00 pm


Surveillance over migrant workers and immigrants from Turkey in Germany is a means of inclusion/exclusion in order to construct them as "suitable" foreign objects. As surveillance objects, Turkish workers and immigrants affect surveillance regimes by complying with, neutralizing, negotiating and resisting surveillance. Surveillance regimes are slowly but surely changing their character: how far does the supposed theoretical shift from the disciplinary society to the society of control explain this?

SP Seminar Series

Thursday, October 26th, Andrew Stevens, PhD candidate, Queen's Department of Sociology "What Does the Sample Say? Pre-employment Screening and 'Flexible' Economies".

Location: Mackintosh Corry Hall, Room D528 Time: 12:30 - 2:00 pm


Employment and labour are definitely married to the economic realm, but under the auspices of neoliberal work regimes one's position in the market is permanently uncertain; individuals must take responsibility for their own precarity. To meet the demands of new economic shifts, many firms are looking for a more thorough measure of an individual's capacity to be a productive member of the team. Indeed, where particular techniques of workplace surveillance (e.g., keystroke monitoring, video surveillance, call monitoring, etc.) centers on the labour process, pre-employment screening increasingly focuses on the worker rather than the work itself.

SP Seminar Series

Friday, October 20th, Virginia Eubanks, Department of Women's Studies, University at Albany, SUNY "Technologies of Citizenship: Surveillance and Political Learning in the Welfare System". Location: Mackintosh Corry Hall, Room D528 Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm


Surveillance of low-income women in the United States is nothing new. From techniques of reproductive sterilization to methods of industrial psychology, the canaries in the coal mine of technological "progress" have routinely been the poor and oppressed. So what is new about surveillance technologies in the welfare office? In this paper, I offer evidence that women receiving public benefits in a small city in upstate New York perceive significant, troubling, and ongoing changes. Over three years of participatory research with women living in transitional housing, I learned that welfare administration technologies play a considerable role in reproducing power assymetries and constructing manageable subjects for neoliberal governance regimes. These "technologies of citizenship," in addition to providing new forms of discipline and control, offer sites of political learning to low-income women, teaching lessons about their comparative social worth, competence, and opportunities. Rather than being "information" or "technology poor," as much public policy argues, most low-income women have in fact had too much interaction and too intimate a relationship with information technologies. In this paper, I explore some of those intimate interactions, their impacts on welfare recipients' understandings of their citizenship, and suggest a kind of education for critical technological citizenship—Popular Technology—that turn these experiences into resources for—rather than barriers to—learning and engagement.

Call for Papers

Surveillance and Society online journal "Smart Borders and Mobilities: Spaces, Zones, Enclosures" Deadline for submissions: 1st March 2007.

Call for Papers

Surveillance and Society online journal "Smart Borders and Mobilities: Spaces, Zones, Enclosures" Edited by Louise Amoore, Stephen Marmura , and Mark Salter Deadline for submissions: 1st March 2007 Publication date: September 2007

The border has been called the fundamental political institution, delineating between inside/outside, us/them, safe/dangerous, known/unknown. With the increased ability of state and commercial agents to overcome and reinvent traditional sovereign lines, borders are instantiated throughout society not simply at border posts but also at airports, in databases, through international call centers, and with identity documents. Cross-border data-flows may complicate realities already identified as problematic within information-based societies. Surveillance practices in public spaces, border zones, and the workplace may become both more nuanced and more intrusive, as we see with anti-globalization protests, Schengen border zones, and in low-wage non-unionized labour shops. The tracking and identification of specific individuals or groups by government agencies may be intensified. Consumers may be increasingly subjected to "foreign" marketing and advertising strategies not legally sanctioned within their own societies. Citizens may have data transmitted and analyzed far from the point of origin or of collection in the cases of passenger profiling or the more general war on terror. Wider and wider risk groups are being surveilled in ways that circumvent or restructure borders.

Intl Survey Research Workshop

The International Survey Research Workshop agenda is now available online.

Berlin conference

"The New Surveillance Society - How much social science is required in evaluation research?" Conference Nov 30/Dec 1 2006, Berlin.

The aim of the conference is to present and discuss methods and approaches to assess the social and political impacts of surveillance technologies. Moreover, the academic perspective shall be extended by integrating international art projects on surveillance in the programme. The conference will be held November 30th to December 1st 2006 in Berlin at the Technical University and will include experts in different disciplines, artists and members of the public.

Intl Survey Research Workshop

Paper proposals for the International Survey Research Workshop are due 18 August 2006.

The Globalization of Personal Data (GPD) project , funded by a grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, invites you to submit a proposal for a paper based on the findings of an international public opinion survey on surveillance and privacy. The paper will be presented during a workshop at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario on 17-18 November 2006. The public opinion survey was carried out under the auspices of the GPD project and covers nine countries.

National ID Cards Workshop

National ID Card Systems: an International Research Workshop organized by The Globalization of Personal Data Project (GPD) in association

Canadian Biometric ID Documents

CANADIAN BIOMETRIC ID DOCUMENTS: A Public Forum Thursday June 15, Toronto. 6:45-10:00 PM ET

The possibility of having some form of biometric ID document in Canada has been in the news again recently. What is being considered? What are the implications of different options? The Canadian government has said little about what it is planning. Join us in person or online to hear the experts, to ask questions, and to make your views heard.

This forum includes a live, interactive webcast. See our website for more details about the forum and the issues.

The Real Big Brother

Kirstie Ball will be screening the premier of the BBC production The Real Big Brother , Friday, May 26th.

Location: Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room D528 Time: 12:00noon to 1:00pm

*This will be a half hour film with time for discussion.

Part of a BBC2 series called 'The Money Programme'. The series has been made in partnership with...

SP Seminar Series

Zeinab Karake-Shalhoub from the American University of Sharjah in the UAE, Thurs May 25.

Zeinab Karake-Shalhoub American University of Sharjah, UAE Privacy and Trust in Electronic Commerce: An Agency Theory Perspective Thursday, May 25th Goodes Hall, Room 409 10:30am-12:00pm

"I use agency theory to ground my empirical analysis of more than 100 e-commerce firms in an examination of privacy and trust in e-commerce relational exchanges. Several trust-building measures, including privacy statements, the existence of a chief privacy oficer, and a trusted third-party seal of approval are identified; companies will then be evaluated based on an index of those trust builders. I will demonstrate that there is a positive relationship between management ownership and trust, and that managers who fail to protect the privacy and interests of their stockholders--as well as their own--will never gain customer loyalty."

New Theorizing Surveillance book

New Theorizing Surveillance book from Willan Publishers is now available.

Congratulations to David Lyon and all the contributors to the new book, Theorizing Surveillance: The panopticon and beyond , now available from Willan Publishers. The book is an edited collection of papers from last year's SP workshop of the same name. To view the table of contents and to order,...

post-doc position

POSITION AVAILABLE: Post-doctoral Fellowship

Globalization of Personal Data Applications for a Post-doctoral Fellowship are sought within a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)-funded project on the Globalization of Personal Data at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada. This is a four-year international and multi-disciplinary collaborative project (2003-2007). It examines the causes and consequences of trans-border flows of personal information. A major international survey of attitudes to monitoring, profiling, and privacy is the central focus of the project.

New GPD Post-doc

Lynda Harling-Stalker is the GPD's newest Post-doctoral Fellow.

Many of you know Lynda as she has been working as a research assistant on the international survey since September 2005. Lynda successfully defended her PhD dissertation at Carleton University in April and has now accepted a GPD postdoctoral fellowship. She will continue to work on the international survey under...

Summer Seminar 11-15 June 2007

Surveillance Summer Seminar, 11 - 15 June 2007.

Lyon featured in Chronicle

The March 17 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education features an article on surveillance studies.

Volume 52, Issue 28, Page A18


Watching the Watchers

In the burgeoning field of surveillance studies, researchers scrutinize the many ways in which human activity is monitored by government and industry


Walk anywhere in Manhattan's business districts, and almost every step you take will be recorded by surveillance cameras.

But you don't need a camera or a big city for surveillance. Anyone on a computer — from a farm outside Orem, Utah, to a resort on the Fijian island of Viti Levu — is most likely being monitored by electronic forms of surveillance that track consumer habits or calculate probable voting behavior.

Online journal needs your help

Please write a letter to help the online journal Surveillance and Society.

Dear Colleagues

The editors of the online journal Surveillance and Society are currently preparing to make Surveillance and Society a registered charitable company. This will enable us to give the journal a firm organisational basis and allow us to have a wider membership with an expanded portfolio of activities involving a greater number of people.

One of the requirements we have to fulfil to become a charity is to demonstrate the charitable nature of our activities.

Ethical Surveillance Design


Workshop on Generating Collaborative Research in the Ethical Design of Surveillance Infrastructures

June 8-11, 2006, Austin, Texas.

Surveillance may be understood as a set of processes of identification, tracking, analysis and response which organize social knowledge, social relations, and social power. Surveillance mediates everyday life. For example, internet "cookies," shopping loyalty cards, and mobile phone numbers all individuate and identify us. These identifiers are used to index databases recording our web surfing activities, our purchases, and our movements. The databases are subjected to statistical analysis in order to produce knowledge of demographic categories, typical patterns, or suspect behavior. This knowledge is then applied back to individuals in the population in order to assign each to a particular niche market or risk group, and to act toward them accordingly. Thus, through surveillance, knowledge is created, categories and types are produced, individuals are assigned social identities, and actions are taken that articulate those identities within a larger social order.