Surveillance in America—needed or nightmare?
Anyone who has taken an airplane in the last ten years knows that getting through security is not a lot of fun. For some, the relatively recent introduction of the body scanner is an intolerable intrusion. Yet, this method of surveillance is only the latest in the development of what many have called a ‘surveillance society.’ Monitoring, collecting, assessing: the omnipresence of real and imagined devices that make our private life public has left some people worrying. Today, we use the 1992 invention of the body scanner as our starting point for a discussion of ‘security and its discontents.’
Steven Brown is executive director of the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, and has served in that capacity for more than twenty-five years. Before that, he served as executive director of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union for three years. He also worked at the Philadelphia ACLU and at a chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Frederick Lane is a nationally-recognized expert on privacy and the impact of emerging technologies on society. He is an author, attorney, educational consultant, expert witness, and lecturer. He has written seven books, including most recently “Cybertraps for the Young” and “American Privacy: The 400-Year History of Our Most Contested Right.
Vida Bajc, is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Methodist University. Dr. Bajc completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and subsequently a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University, Canada. Her research connects framing theory, ritual, surveillance and security, globalization, culture and Christianity. Her first book, titled Security and Everyday Life, (co-edited with Willem de Lint), was published in 2011 by Routledge Press.
- Taking Liberties, The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy by Susan N Herman; Oxford Press (2011)
- American Privacy by Frederick S. Lane,; Beacon Press (2009)
- The Shadow Factory by James Mamford, Doubleday (2007)
- Security Studies, An Overview by David Lyon; Polity (2007)
- Everyday Surveillance, Vigilance and Visibility in Postmodern Life by William Staples; Rowman and Littlefield (2000)
- Surveillance in the Time of Insecurity by Torin Monahan; Rutgers University Press (2010)
- Nothing to Hide, The False Tradeoff between Privacy and Security; Yale University Press (2011)
Listen to Marc Levitt’s interview with Robert Ellis Smith, publisher of Privacy Journal, talking about the meaning and limitations of privacy in today’s interconnected world. This episode accompanies our hour-long show on the 1992 Invasion of the Body Scanner.
Now in its seventeenth year, Action Speaks is made possible by generous financial and in-kind support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, AS220, Robinson & Cole, LLP, WGBH 89.7 Boston, RIPBS, and the Providence Phoenix. Action Speaks has been heard on over 175 radio stations across the United States, and is presented by WGBH 89.7 in Boston. If you can’t be at our live taping, you can listen and download each show free from our website ten days following each panel.