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Pan-Optics: Perspectives on Digital Privacy and Surveillance

Advances in drone aircraft, networked cameras, and recent disclosures about the NSA’s international and domestic surveillance activities have stimulated public protests, outrage from activists, and new policy discussions among elected leaders. This symposium will highlight emerging perspectives on visual privacy and consider the state of the art from a variety of disciplines and professions, including technology, journalism, filmmaking and the arts. Though traditionally considered separate domains, visual and digital surveillance practices are being combined as machine vision, facial recognition and other technologies become more sophisticated and interoperable. Institutional surveillance by semi-autonomous drones and remote cameras, citizen video monitoring, and incessant photo-sharing and tagging on social networks enable perpetual documentation. The same tools can be used for both transparency and repression.

This symposium will bring together scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines to discuss privacy protections, surveillance methods, and modes of resistance in a digital age. The program will feature two keynote addresses and two panel discussions that will explore emerging surveillance technologies and applications across a range of contexts, and then turn to resistant strategies employed by individuals and organizations in response.

For Twitter, please use #panoptics2014

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Agenda 10:30 Registration 11:00 Welcome 11-11:45 Keynote Rebecca MacKinnon Rebecca MacKinnon, Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation, Author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom Introduced by Warren Sack, Associate Profressor, UC Santa Cruz



11:45-12:15 Lunch

12:15-1:45 Panel 1 Visual Surveillance: Policy and Technology

This panel brings together experts on the intertwined issues of evolving policies and emergent technologies. The increasing ubiquity of mobile devices, popularity of sharing images through social media, and powerful analytic software used by social networking companies and other corporations require new policy considerations. Panelists will explore the existing technological threats to individual privacy, the extent to which new tools might be safeguarded against misuse by states and corporations, and security concerns posed for both the public and private citizen.

1:45 Coffee Break

2-3:30 Panel 2 Creative Resistance: Reclaiming Citizen Power through Social Media & the Arts

  • Katherine Chandler, UCB Department of Rhetoric, Berkeley Center for New Media
  • Ken Goldberg, Faculty Director, CITRIS Data & Democracy Initiative, The Rashomon Project
  • Colin Milburn, Director, Mellon Research Initiative in Digital Cultures, UC Davis
  • Kriss Ravetto, Director, Mellon Research Initiative in Digital Cultures, UC Davis
  • Julia Scher, Multimedia Artist

The afternoon panel will transition from policy to response. To what extent are individuals responsible for safeguarding their own privacy? Do groups like Anonymous contribute to greater transparency or instead offer an alibi for further intrusions on the part of governments and corporations? How can the visual and performing arts call attention to the shifting landscape of visual surveillance and highlight new cultural practices and expectations of privacy?

3:30-4:15 Keynote

Trevor PaglenTrevor Paglen, artist, social scientist and author of Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes Introduced by Kris Fallon, Visiting Assistant, Professor, UC Davis



4:15 Closing Remarks by Camille Crittenden, Director, CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative

4:30 Adjourn

Presenting organizations


A Satellite Event of   http://rightscon.org/           Hosted in conjunction with 


                 UC Berkeley School of Information

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