The lecture on race, surveillance and technology captured my attention in a way that no other lecture this semester had. I very much appreciate Ms. Simone Browne’s candid approach to this very difficult subject and the compelling discussions that followed, as well as the discussion with Zach Blas around protecting privacy during the informative workshop that followed.
The abhorrent history of the branding of slaves, both on eastern and western shores provides a reference to understand corporal punishment and the mass categorizations of human beings as “other” as a societal norm. Given this background, so long as there is this notion of “otherness”, it is concerning that the use of biometric technology as a surveillance tool can become a great detriment to society especially since anyone can access this technology. On the upside, the government uses biometric technology as a protection device against terrorist at the country’s ports of entry. However as was noted during the lecture, we know the private sector can collect data in the form of capturing one’s fingerprint so long as the public acquiesces to finger scans. What can this mean for those who are able to implement the use of these private treasure troves? Will technologies such as these effect future generations in adverse ways? Should we assume such data collections will always be used to aid the human condition and not harm it? As the public becomes better informed, will concerns around privacy once again explode onto the national scene? Shouldn’t they?