New Publication

Police and governments may increasingly adopt surveillance technologies in response to coronavirus fears

By Joe Masoodi , The Conversation, 23 March, 2020

Facial recognition software could be applied to managing people during pandemics.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated headlines with public fears mounting and governments around the world scrambling to find ways to control the spread of the virus. Many governments have declared national emergencies, with the Canadian federal government...

Collecting race-based data during coronavirus pandemic may fuel dangerous prejudices

By Sachil Singh , The Conversation, 27 May, 2020

Racially sorted patients are surveilled, often with negative consequences.

Brian Sinclair wheeled himself into a Winnipeg emergency room in September 2008 seeking assistance with his catheter bag. He had a bladder infection, but instead of receiving treatment, remained in the waiting room for 34 hours until his body...

Series on COVID-19 Response in Japanese

Midori Ogasawara has written a series of articles for Japan’s national newspaper Asahi Shimbun web magazine GLOBE+, in May 2020, available here . All are written in Japanese, but there are brief English summaries attached to get a sense of the series. All articles are so far about surveillance developing in response to COVID-19,...

The coronavirus pandemic highlights the need for a surveillance debate beyond ‘privacy’

By David Lyon, The Conversation, 24 May 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has stirred up a surveillance storm. Researchers rush to develop new forms of public health monitoring and tracking, but releasing personal data to private companies and governments carries risks to our individual and collective rights. COVID-19 opens the lid on a much-needed debate. Read More

Congratulations to Midori Ogasawara!

Dr. Ogasawara has been appointed as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Victoria , starting January 2021. Please also see her recent publications: Ogasawara, Midori. 2019. “The Daily Us (vs. Them) from Online to Offline: Japan’s Media Manipulation and Cultural Transcoding of Collective Memories”, The Journal of Contemporary Eastern...

David Lyon: Cellphone tracking might help stamp out COVID-19. But at what cost?

By David Lyon, The Ottawa Citizen , 6 April 2020

Recently, Toronto Mayor John Tory “misspoke” at a TechTO event regarding the possibility of using cellphone tracking surveillance in the struggle against COVID-19. Ottawa’s medical officer of health, Vera Etches, noted that officials want to know if people are heeding safe-distance advice and suggested location data from phones could...

Data-Driven Elections: Papers Published

Papers delivered at the Big Data Surveillance (BDS) 2019 workshop on Data-Driven Elections , hosted by Colin Bennett and David Lyon in Victoria by project partner the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC (OIPCBC) , have been published in a special issue of Internet Policy Review , an international journal for...

Data-driven elections and the key questions about voter surveillance

By David Lyon and Colin Bennett, The Conversation , August 5, 2019

Using data during election campaigns is nothing new. But as the Canadian federal election approaches, authorities must be diligent that data tracking doesn't become surveillance. Read more

Proportional representation isn't all about the data

By Colin Bennett, Opinion, Times Colonist , November 4, 2018

Cambridge Analytica was a symptom of a pervasive belief that elections are now won with data, says Colin Bennett, a political science professor at the University of Victoria. He contends that these practices are far less common in countries that have multi-party systems rooted in elections based on proportional...

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