Monday, December 22, 2014
Seminar 1 - Position statement from Dr Yvonne McDermott, Law, Bangor University
Sousveillance, or the recording of an activity from the perspective of participants in that activity, clearly brings positive outcomes insofar as it challenges the one-sided nature of surveillance. As sousveillant technologies become more ubiquitous, we are likely to see increasing legal developments to meet with the challenges and opportunities that they bring. I propose that there are three main areas of interplay between law and sousveillance, which will be discussed in detail. First, the law relating to privacy or ‘misuse of private information’ might form the basis of challenges to sousveillance. The courts (and in the first instance, the sousveiller) will have to ask: is this information to which a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ will attach, and if so, is that outweighed by the sousveiller’s right to freedom of expression? Second, the use of wearable technologies in, for example, cinemas, might give rise to challenges under copyright law. Third, there is a risk that suspicion surrounding sousveillant technologies will give rise to attempts to restrict them, in what Mann dubs ‘McVeillance’, or ‘surveillance, combined with a prohibition on sousveillance’. It is posited that human rights law, and the right to freedom of expression in particular, can be used to shield sousveillance from unjust interference.