To what extent are surveillance methods perceived as an intrusion in someone’s privacy?
In early June 2013, Edward Snowden revealed how secret and intelligence services around the world monitor telecommunications and the Internet without any suspicion of crime. Thousands of secret documents have already been leaked to, analysed and published by, for instance, the editorial offices of the Guardian, the Washington Post or the Spiegel.
Since then, a frightening picture has been conveyed in the media, speaking of “transparent people” and a need to protect better our privacy in a globalised world. At the same time, technology is developing under the guise of security, which allows for and justifies increased surveillance.
People’s perception of surveillance methods and the associated interference with their privacy is changing. A poll by the New York Times* showed that only 44% of the people polled disapproved eavesdropping three months after 9/11, while the disapproval rate was 70-80% in the 30 years before the event.
“The Limits of Privacy” explores people’s thoughts on privacy and their behaviour when connected to a public Wi-Fi. To raise awareness of the vulnerabilities of public Wi-Fi, a surveillance scenario was implemented as part of an intervention in a public space: patrons using a public Wi-Fi in a cafe were observed while affected by a staged hacker attack, and interviewed.