By far the most comprehensive paper on the topic in Australia thus far!

Point of View Surveillance

The Regulation of Point of View Surveillance

"Point-of-view surveillance (PoVS) technologies have arrived, and been deployed, and are likely to make further inroads in a variety of circumstances. They offer considerable prospects for operational use by organisations and in education and research. The focus in this event, and in this paper, is primarily on use by law enforcement agencies, and its consequences.

PoVS are primarily video surveillance tools, and most give rise to data trails and thereby facilitate location and tracking and/or data surveillance. By combining these trails, and supplementing them with results of communications interception, law enforcement agencies are becoming capable of integrated views of places and of people associated with them.

Given the substantial powers that law enforcement agencies have, they are in a strong position to use these new sources of intelligence to protect the powerful and the unpopular, and for crowd control. However, the new tools represent a shift beyond individual surveillance technologies to a coordinated and integrated monitoring complex, to which the term 'überveillance' has been applied. Beyond harming psychological and social needs for privacy, these developments directly threaten political freedoms.

Real-time tracking may enhance the capabilities of law enforcement agencies to the point that demonstrations are still-born and hence 'civil resistance is futile'. Retrospective tracking can become a suspicion-generator, and a means of mapping social networks in a way that 'consorting squads' and undercover operatives could never achieve. These technologies lay the foundation for a semi-automated form of chilling effect on political action, political speech and political thought.

PoVS technologies are also available to members of the public - and indeed uses by members of the public lie at the very foundations of the technology. The practice of sousveillance is subject to constraints that do not affect law enforcement surveillance practices, however; so the playing field remains uneven.

This paper conducts a review of contemporary regulatory controls on the use of these technologies. Law enforcement agencies have considerable scope to apply them, whereas the rights of individuals are less clear. A basis for a more balanced regulatory framework is suggested. The threats are severe, and there is an urgent need for democracies to impose controls on their increasingly intrusive and powerful law enforcement agencies."