Privacy Versus Scrutiny

University of Alberta’s Kevin Haggerty, Professor of Criminology & Sociology, urges us to consider the security of our personal information.

 |  Transcript [PDF]

In the post-Snowden era, people are giving a lot more thought to privacy. This is especially true in Canada with the recent passing of Bill C-51 that allows government agencies to share a citizen’s information between departments, including health and tax information.

So what do we really know about surveillance in Canada and how much control do we have over our personal information?

“We’re really in the midst of a world historical transformation in terms of the dynamics of visibility in surveillance that all of us are open to new types of scrutiny because of new types of technologies and policies and governmental practices from smart phones to the internet to DNA databases, etc.” says Kevin Haggerty, professor of criminology and sociology at the University of Alberta.

Haggerty stresses that with the advent of new technologies and government policies, we are under increasing scrutiny. Very often, we are not aware of how our information is being shared.

“I try and think about the big picture,” adds Haggerty. “I try to think about what this means in terms of peoples’ identities, in terms of politics, in terms of privacy and freedom, and that’s in a nutshell, what I do.”

He is also one of the authors of Transparent Lives: Surveillance in Canada, a book that examines how and why surveillance is infiltrating our daily lives and what we can do about it. For more information, check out the book trailer video here.

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Kevin D. Haggerty is a Killam Research Laureate and editor of the Canadian Journal of Sociology. He is Professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Alberta. His recent work has been in the area of surveillance, governance, policing and risk. He and his co-author (Aaron Doyle) are currently writing the book 57 Ways to Screw Up in Graduate School, which conveys a series of professional lessons for the next generation of graduate students.