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I blog daily about life, work, and the future

Blogging daily since 2020

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Surveillance cameras aren’t really new.

Unless you are someone with something to hide, you’d even dismiss such technology as mundane and a part of daily life.

And what are these surveillance cameras for?

From Singapore’s tech-utopia dream is turning into a surveillance state nightmare:

“What [technology] will do for people is make our lives a hell of a lot easier, more convenient, more easily able to plug into the good life,” said Monamie Bhadra Haines, an assistant professor at the Technical University of Denmark, who studies the intersection between technology and society. “But … the surveillance is what is here, now.”

What if, with these surveillance cameras integrated into social rules, you are restricted to doing daily activites just because the algorithm said so?

READ MORE ON Being watched by surveillance cameras.

How about, in contrast, being enabled to access something just because you’ve given your data willingly?

I can remember watching a documentary on how refugees can easily pay for what they buy just by giving their biometric data. And what data? Iris scans.

From Refugees are buying groceries with iris scans. What could go wrong?:

Children as young as five may have their irises scanned in the Jordanian camps, which also raises questions about their future consent on the use of the data, according to Fatafta. “Consent is a fundamental pillar of data protection. As a data subject, you have the ultimate agency over your personal information and what you want to share with governments or third parties, companies, whatever,” she said. Children don’t necessarily have this control, given that their scans as a child remain accurate as an adult.

“It’s really hard to have meaningful consent in these situations where refugees are in dire need for humanitarian aid and service delivery, basic needs like food and clothes and cash,” Fatafta said. Saying “no” to the fastest and most basic system to get essential food and cash would be exceptionally difficult for anyone in a humanitarian context, raising the question of whether the consent is really authentic for refugees in this situation.

READ MORE ON Iris scanning system for refugees.

As we put more of ourselves into the digital space, how can technology redefine our values and systems as a people?

Are you ready for this kind of future?