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Surveillance in Speculative Fiction: Have Our Artists Been Sufficiently Imaginative?

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There are many variants of surveillance, many pitfalls, and potentially serious consequences for ‘good people’ as well as ‘the baddies’. Fiction-writers of all kinds have taken advantage of the enormous scope this provides. Writers of speculative fiction have been running ahead of reality for decades; but they need to display more imagination, because reality keeps catching up with them. This paper reviews speculative fiction genres and imaginations, and uses them as a means of identifying several different interpretations of what the surveillance epidemic means for privacy and human freedom.

Roger Clarke is a Canberra-based eBusiness consultant, and a Visiting Professor in Cyberspace Law & Policy at UNSW in Sydney, and in Computer Science at the Australian National University. He has conducted dataveillance research since the early 1980s, and has been active in privacy advocacy even longer than that. He is currently Chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.

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