Researchers say they have created a special kind of paint which can block out wireless signals.It means security-conscious wireless users could block their neighbours from being able to access their home network – without having to set up encryption.The paint contains an aluminium-iron oxide which resonates at the same frequency as wi-fi – or other radio waves – meaning the airborne data is absorbed and blocked.
New Sciences of Protection Conference: Theme Panel 4 with Drew Hemment ‘Loca: Location orientated Critical Art’ and Andrew Clement ‘Total Transparency Solutions Inc’
Drew Hemment introduced the work of ‘Loca,’ or location orientated critical art (http://www.loca-lab.org/). Loca is an artistic practice which seeks to explore the often ambiguous ethical implications of pervasive surveillance. It “looks at what happens when it is easy for everyone to track everyone, when surveillance can be effected by consumer level technology within peer-to-peer networks without being routed through a central point.” We could say that, following John McGrath, Loca seeks to stimulate reflection not on whether we want to inhabit ‘surveillance space’(for we already do), but on how we want to inhabit it.
Andrew Clement’s ‘Total Transparency Solutions’ also probes the ethical implications of inhabiting surveillance space, a space which is neither public, nor private. In particular, and as the name suggests, Total Transparency Solutions addresses the problem of transparency for the ethics of surveillance space. Relations of visibility in surveillance space are often asymmetrical, with the watched not usually being able to see the watchers. Total Transparency Solutions, who also provided the ID card scheme and safety infrastructure for the New Sciences of Protection Conference, argue that without the symmetrical visibility of watcher and watched surveillance space faces a crisis of legitimacy. They seek to address imbalances in transparency and accountability through the use of public signs like the ones below. In the absence of such ‘checks and balances’ the stratifications of surveillance space – the social sorting effected by surveillance – are without justification. It could be argued that, following Lincoln’s famous maxim for representational government, Total Transparency Solutions propose a kind of surveillance of the people, for the people, by the people.
Thank you to our fabulous Joseph Rigby for this great summary
If anyone happens to be dropping in to New York over the next couple of months be sure to pop in to MOMA and check out the new exhibition: Design and the Elastic Mind. It has been curated by Paola Antonelli,, who previously put together the Safe exhibition in 2006, and has much inspired this Designing Safe Living research programme at Lancaster university. As cited in the exhibition text “Design and the Elastic Mind explores the reciprocal relationship between science and design in the contemporary world by bringing together design objects and concepts that marry the most advanced scientific research with attentive consideration of human limitations, habits, and aspirations.” I was overwhelmed by the intensity of information and the plethora of objects, photographs, video, visuals and text on show which demanded my time and concentration. There is no way any could summarise or spin this into an easy bitesize review and give it justice. So if you dont get to go to MOMA , just make sure you spend 30 mins per lunch hour reading through the online exhibition.
Last November BBC 4 ran a three part series called “Visions of the Future” presented by Dr. Michio Kaku. Here he discusses a range of emerging future related topics from robots & brain pacemakers to in-vitro grown organs and meat to the theories and practices of Neil Gerschenfeld’s self fabrication bits & atoms department at the MIT. YouTube clips for each episode: intelligence , biotech, quantum
Bronislaw Szerszynski, a Senior Lecturer and Director of CSEC (The Centre for the Study of Environmental Change now based in Lancaster’s Department of Sociology) has critiqued the series.
To read the review please download from here> Szerszynski’s critique of Dr. Michio Kaku’s Visions of the Future BBC4 series
- Risk in the 21st Century lecture series at the James Martin 21st Century School at the University of Oxford. With speakers discussing risk, time series analysis, statistical futures and the improbable. IncludingNassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Didier Sornette, Professor on the Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Leonard A. Smith<, Research Professor in Statistics, and Director – Centre for the Analysis of Time Series, Sarah Harper, Director of the Oxford Institute of Ageing
- The “Surveillance, identity and the future of privacy in the 21st century ” lecture series at the James Martin Institute of Science and Civilization is also running at Oxford University until March.
- Horizon ran a series in 2006 called Human V2.0 discussing the future of our childrens’ children and beyond Some great videos can be seen here including Ray Kurzweil, Baroness Greenfield and more.
- Ray Kurzweil’s website>
Department of Psychology, Lancaster University – Mark Levine and John Dixon
ABSTRACT:This paper will present data from a Home Office funded study of the impact of public order measures like CCTV surveillance and street drinking legislation on social relations in public space. The focus of the research was the town square in Lancaster city centre. Data comprised a survey (n=808) and in-situ interviews (n= 59) with users of the town square including teenagers, mothers with young children, homeless people, travellers, commercial workers and the elderly. The paper will concentrate on one emergent property of the analysis. Where most public order research focuses on concepts of ‘risk’ and ‘trust’, we explore the impact of CCTV surveillance on ideas of social responsibility. In particular, we present evidence that support for CCTV is related to lower feelings of responsibility for the welfare of others who might be co-present in public space. We consider this in terms of the idea of diffusion of responsibility to the CCTV apparatus. We also examine, against a background of high levels of support for CCTV, the tensions between ideas of freedom and accountability that are revealed in talk about that support. We draw these out by comparing and contrasting talk about CCTV cameras with talk about speed (Gatso) cameras.
Download Mark & John’s presentation> Locating Social Reponsibility: CCTV & Public Space ppt