Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 25 Contemplating the End of Privacy

Hasan M Elahi is a media artist working themes of surveillance and privacy; his subject, himself. And he has a great sense of humor. After false accusations of terrorism, he created the Tracking Transience project The website tracks his location. He documents every quotidian moment of his life in photographs which he sends to the FBI and posts on the web site.

His project is wry comment on self surveillance and surveillance by institutions. He replaces security by obscurity with security by ubiquity.

While logic proposes that government and industrial institutions can perfect decision making with ever more information, even Hoovered illegally, data has time and time shown that acting on existing information is the problem.

Meanwhile we are in a love affair with self surveillance as personal brand: Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, web sites and blogs. In fact, we place tremendous value on discovering and exploiting each emerging channel. It's an example of signalling theory in psychology.

In the words of Eric Schmidt “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

There are many excellent public interest organizations working on privacy issues including the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Hear Elahi speak about this and other projects at the nexus of technology and art for which electronic media is the raw material. It's part of the PSU Art Department Monday Night Lecture Series, your best entertainment value for the dollar!

Talk in the Shattuck Hall Annex out front, 1914 SW Park Avenue, at the corner of SW Broadway and Hall on the PSU campus. 7:30PM Free