Update Witness have launched a forum on how to establish a successful footage sharing web portal after the discussion featuring af WorldChanging. Go and contribute if you have any good ideas, experience or technical knowledge.
Explorations always happens in jumps. Today I stumbled upon a whole bunch of surveillance niceties (again due to WorldChanging) which I will try to present briefly.
First, in an ‘old’ and quite extensive article at WorldChanging, Jamais Cascio proposes Participatory Panopticon as the more likely non-big Brother future of surveillance:
“… in the world of the participatory panopticon, this constant surveillance is done by the citizens themselves, and is done by choice. It’s not imposed on us by a malevolent bureaucracy or faceless corporations. The participatory panopticon will be the emergent result of myriad independent rational decisions, a bottom-up version of the constantly watched society… if the question is “who watches the watchmen?” the answer is “all of us.”
This view is pretty close to the whole point of BigMother (and what I sometimes refer to as counter surveillance). The article contains numerous valuable links and references, although it sometimes slips into more geekish gadget-futurism.
Second, there’s the term ‘sousveillance’ (watching over from beneath) which beautifully captures some of my personal discont with the Big Brother monopoly. The term is semi-academic and seemingly quite developed. According the site devoted sousveillance:
“There are 2 main definitions, which are approximately equivalent, but each capture slightly different aspects of sousveillance:
1. Inverse surveillance: to watch from below;
2. Personal experience capture: recording of an activity by a participant in the activity. There is already a certain legal precedent for audio sousveillance, e.g. “one-party” recording of telephone conversations enjoys greater legal protection than recording by a person who is not a party to the conversation. In most states, audio surveillance is illegal, but audio sousveillance is legal.”
Also this page is a rich source of references and ideas. I’m not done with it.
Lastly, Peter Gabriel’s (yes, the musician) Witness Media Archive program, dedicated promotion of human right by helping the violated to document the offenses with pictures. Witness have created a web site with filmed or photographed abuses and train people in using this medium. The next step is to allow easy upload and distribution of for instance camera phone footage, which will bring even more leverage to the abused. Even if not CareWare in it’s strict sense, this service truly photo sharing with a sense. Read an interview with Gabriel in Business Week