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Network to take a look at surveillance

Pro’s and con’s of increased public surveillance the focus of network and upcoming conference

A new University of Copenhagen network is to look into the ever-expanding surveillance in contemporary society.

Called ‘Negotiating (In)Visibilities’ it has united 100 academic participants from the EU, Canada and the United States.

The network has since 2011 connected those who are interested in exploring how the arts and sciences are being shaped by »the seeable and the hidden in contemporary culture«, the organisers say. They welcome students to get involved.

Security, or privacy

According to Peter Lauritsen, principal investigator for the project Monitoring in Denmark, and a member of the Negotiating (In)Visibilities network, the security business estimates that there are 350,000 video monitors in operation in Denmark.

A ratio of surveillance cameras to residents in Denmark that may be the highest in the world, according to some reports. Effectively, one camera for every fifteen inhabitants.

The pro’s and con’s of public surveillance are far from crystal clear: They may enable public security yet open up questions of privacy. For students, for example, the use of CCTV on the premises of dorms may ensure against intoxicated hooligans making a mess of common spaces.

The ‘seeable and the hidden’

Kristin Eva Albrechtsen Veel is an organiser of the social events in the network. She says that it is all about defining and redefining visibility, and unifying concepts surrounding surveillance management strategies.

The Negotiating (In)Visibilities offers a support network for students who wish to organise their own conferences and discuss modern surveillance as they see it, she says.

A weekend conference with guest speakers from arts, sciences and humanities, will be held on 20-22 June.

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