Notes from the International Workshop on Inverse Surveillance (aka. Sousveillance):

Surveillance                           Sousveillance
------------                           -------------

God's eye view from above.             Human's eye view.
(Authority watching from on-high.)     ("Down-to-earth.")

Cameras usually mounted on high        Cameras down-to-earth (at
poles, up on ceiling, etc..            (ground level), e.g. at human

Sur-veiller is French for "to          Sous-veiller is French for "to
watch from above".                     watch from below".

Architecture-centered                  Human-centered
(e.g. cameras usually mounted on       (e.g. cameras carried or worn
or in structures).                     by, or on, people).

Recordings made by authorities,        Recordings of an activity
remote security staff, etc..           made by a participant in the

Note that in most states it's          In most states it's legal to
illegal to record a phone              record a phone conversation of
conversation of which you are          which you are a party.  Perhaps
not a party.  Perhaps the same         the same would apply to an
would apply to an audiovisual          audiovisual recording of your own
recording of somebody else's           conversations, i.e. conversations
conversation.                          in which you are a party.

Recordings are usually kept in         Recordings are often made public
secret.                                e.g., on the World Wide Web.

Process usually shrouded in            Process, technology, etc., are
secrecy.                               usually public, open source, etc..

Panoptic origins, as described         Community-based origins, e.g.
by Foucault, originally in the         a personal electronic diary,
context of a prison in which           made public on the World Wide Web.
prisoners were isolated from           Sousveillance tends to bring
each other but visible at all          together individuals, e.g. it
times by guards.  Surveillance         tends to make a large city
tends to isolate individuals           function more like a small town,
from one another while setting         with the pitfalls of gossip, but
forth a one-way visibility to          also the benefits of a sense of
authority figures.                     community participation. 

Privacy violation may go               Privacy violation is usually
un-noticed, or un-checked.             immediately evident.  Tends
Tends to not be self-correcting.       to be self-correcting.

It's hard to have a heart-to-heart     At least there's a chance you can
conversation with a lamp post,         talk to the person behind the
on top of which is mounted a           sousveillance camera.
surveillance camera.

When combined with computers, we       When combined with computers, we
get ubiquitous computing               get wearable computing.
("ubiqcomp") or pervasive              ("wearcomp").  Wearcomp usually
computing ("pervcomp").                doesn't require the cooperation
Ubiq./perv. comp. tend to rely on      of any infrastructure in the
cooperation of the infrastructure      environments around us.
in the environments around us.

With surveillant-computing, the        With sousveillant-computing, it
locus of control tends to be with      is possible for the locus of
the authorities.                       control to be more distributed.

Also see the Wikipedia entry on sousveillance.


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