New Transparency and Surveillance Research Project Announced

A 2.5 million dollar grant is being given to a group of 8 academic researchers by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Announced today, the grant is to be spent over seven years in the study of how and why average citizens are being watched by public and private organizations. The study is being titled “The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting.” Part of the study will be to look at the flow of surveillance information that is now possible with computer use.

From the Queen’s University press release:

The new project will examine the history, key characteristics and consequences of the New Transparency. Among areas of focus are the role of technology companies in fostering surveillance; digital media including networking sites like Facebook; post-9/11 developments including profiling and surveillance at mega-events like the Olympics; population management surveillance in conflict zones such as Israel/Palestine; and challenges and resistance to inappropriate surveillance.

Queen’s University Sociology Professor David Lyons will be heading up the team, which will also include Queen’s professors Elia Zureik and Laureen Snider (Sociology) and Art Cockfield (Law). Also on the team are Kirstie Ball (The Open University, UK), Colin Bennett (University of Victoria), Andrew Clement (University of Toronto, Faculty of Information Studies & Department of Computer Science) and Kevin Haggerty (University of Alberta). Collaborators from other countries will also be involved and industry representatives will act as advisers.


  1. Hope that they look hard at the British experience and the Royal Academy of Engineering report.

    Interesting take in the Grauniad: Public webcams, not CCTV, urged to avoid Big Brother society

  2. Bloody right there. We came from the UK to Canada 4 years ago. Even then it felt like you couldn’t move without being under constant surveillance – and it has only got worse since then. Please Canada don’t even think about going down that route!