You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘surveillance’ tag.

A data visualisation project by photographer Eric Fischer has enabled an analysis of city routes taken by tourists and locals. Combining geotag data with login information, he was able to define if the photographers were living in the specific city permanently (blue) or lived somewhere else and only uploaded pictures from that place for less than a month (red). Yellow tracks are Flickr users who could not be connected to a home city through this logic, but are probably tourists as well. This creates a beautiful visual medley of city data:

Locals and tourists maps of the biggest cities ordered according to uploads by locals.

Looking at the map for my home town, Utrecht, confirms the cliché conception I have of tourists in the city: They always seem to walk in the way when I need to cross the Oudegracht, the old canal running through the inner city with an s-bend in the middle. This is the part of the centre where the historic architecture is most visible, therefore very attractive for visitors.

Locals seem to take other paths through the city as well. Or they share these routes with tourists but also use their cameras on their way, while tourists think these surroundings are not worth to be recorded, which is another possibility.

Map of Utrecht city centre, note the red curvy line from North to South

Nevertheless, a colleague mentioned another story. In Barcelona, the same type of data visualisation but then based on phone calls with foreign numbers, is used by the municipality to adjust tourist policy strategies.

Map of Barcelona, tourist activities are marked red.

Tonight at Setup, Mash Up The Battle took place. Debaters took place in a boxing ring to fight about actual media topics. From copyright laws (auteurswet), to the internet of things, to a round on a national filter against child porn.

The two debaters in this round were Daphne van der Kroft (Bits of Freedom) against Marleen de Pater (CDA). This resulted in a fierce discussion between Bits of Freedom’s argument that a filter would not have much effect and CDA’s vision that the Dutch deserved protection from this type of disgusting content.

A sneaky way to apply censorship? Why should we be protected from that what we never accidentaly meet online? Why not better hunt the ones who do search for it or place it online? Should we be afraid for a move towards a Chinese situation? Is this really necessary? Horrifying as the problem might be, my stance would be in favour of freedom.

Flyer of the Mash Up The battle event at Setup Utrecht.

This sense of a life free of surveillance came back, in a humorous way, in an article on a new art project in Utrecht on the website of Journalistiekfabriek. Foucault’s panopticum meets Hitchcocks birds in the panopticons. If I happen to see any of the spying birds in town, I will try to capture them on camera and place my own picture here. Hope they don’t catch me first!

Camera sea-gull comfortably sitting down to spy on us.

Tweets (Dutch and English)