New Publication

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...

Facebook: A mass media micro-surveillance monopoly

By Andrew Clement and David Lyon, April 23, 2018, Opinion, The Globe and Mail By blowing the whistle on Cambridge Analytica’s dodgy dealings with political campaigners in the U.S. and the U.K., Canadian Chris Wylie has given the social-media anthill a well-deserved kick. We’re now getting a rare glimpse into the hyperactive but hidden world of online-data trafficking –...

New Book: The Culture of Surveillance: Watching as a Way of Life

By David Lyon, Polity Press , March 2018

From 9/11 to the Snowden leaks, stories about surveillance increasingly dominate the headlines. But security and police agencies or internet and phone companies are not the only players. Surveillance is not only 'done to us' - it is something we do in everyday life. We submit...

Cambridge Analytica shows the perils of ‘voter analytics’ industry

By Colin Bennett, Opinion, iPolitics , March 21, 2018

Recent revelations about the practices of the British company, Cambridge Analytica (CA), raise a larger set of questions about democracy: Should “Big Data” be playing a role in our elections? Should the “micro-targeting” of precise...

Facebook’s data scandal highlights risks of Canada’s weak internet sovereignty

By Andrew Clement, Contributed to The Globe and Mail , March 25, 2018

Canadians are rightfully troubled by recent news of Cambridge Analytica's abuse of Facebook data for psychographic profiling and political manipulation. The threats to personal privacy and democratic governance exposed in this case are not an isolated...

Sidewalk Labs’ Toronto waterfront tech hub must respect privacy, democracy

By Andrew Clement, Opinion, The Toronto Star , January 12, 2018

Sidewalk Toronto can potentially set an exemplary standard for digital governance with its experimental Quayside neighbourhood. But the project should proceed no further than its planning period if it cannot achieve basic principles of organizational responsiveness, transparency and accountability. Read More...

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