Leeds Beckett researcher interviewed as part of global surveillance documentary
Dr Steve Wright, Reader in the School of Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett and an expert in the proliferation of the technologies of political control and human rights violation, was interviewed by Austrian documentary film maker, Werner Boote, for his new film Alles unter Kontrolle (Everything under Control) which premieres in Vienna on Christmas Day.
The film explores surveillance mania and the free, transparent and regulated citizen as Boote sets off around the globe to explore the "brave new" world of total control.
Speaking about his involvement, Dr Wright said: "The problem with global surveillance is that there are hardly any places where we have the right to be alone and unobserved. Bulk surveillance is carried out by highly secretive organisations which have military agendas, including future ‘micro-targeting’ of specific individuals. There is precious little accountability when things go wrong and their activities move beyond the limits of the law.”
Dr Wright is a Reader in the School of Applied Global Ethics, and for over three decades he has researched the proliferation of the technologies of political control and human rights violation. Much of this has involved field research and innovative ways of encouraging corporate responsibility. He has contributed to the new research field of transfers of small arms and light weapons, whilst specialising in new policing systems, such as sub-lethal weapons systems, torture technologies and surveillance.
Writer and Director, Werner Boote added: “Everything under control is an exciting and entertaining journey that shows how transparent we have become as individuals in the digital world, and how our personal data is part of a commercial and political model.
“After the success of my two films, Plastic Planet and Population Boom, I was confronted with the growing interest in my identity. While conducting research, and then later during the shooting of this film, my dealings with my own data has changed. I have no credit card, I buy neither from Amazon or anywhere else online and I block the access right to all my phone contacts for apps and so on, because I have now realised that my data will continue to be used and sold.
“The digital world has an incredible number of positive sides; we write emails, we comment, upload photos to social networks or make calls etc. with video - all much faster, easier and better than before. Using Instagram and Snapchat I can always communicate with my kids and share pictures.
“At the same time, worldwide, there are no guarantees with the incredible amount of data that is being collected. To have access to data means great power. Both the political and the economic interest in data is large. It will not be long before it will enter markets for data transactions.”