Monday, 22 November 2010

Article 12: Waking up in a Surveillance Society

Back in April I posted the trailer for David Bond's film Erasing David in which he put the surveillance state to the test by attempting to disappear. Now Juan Manuel Biaiñ and Junco Films have released their own documentary entitled Article 12: Waking up in a Surveillance Society. Recently screened at the 24th Leeds International Film Festival this new film uses the twelfth article of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 as a benchmark to chart the global ascendancy of surveillance society. According to the film synopsis:
Article 12 presents an urgent and incisive deconstruction of the current state of privacy, the rights and desires of individuals and governments, and the increasing use of surveillance.
The film adopts the twelfth article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to chart privacy issues worldwide, arguing that without this right no other human right can truly be exercised. It assembles leading academics and cultural analysts including Noam Chomsky, AC Grayling and Amy Goodman to highlight the devastating potency of surveillance, the dangers of complicity, and the growing movement fighting for this crucial right.
Article 12 provides a powerful wake-up call as we sleepwalk into a worldwide surveillance society.
Article 12: Waking Up in a Surveillance Society

Despite our coalition government's pledges to 'implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion' following the general election in May, and the suspension of s44 for the purposes of stop and search of individuals without the criterion of 'reasonable suspicion' back in July, recent proposals to revive the previous government's Intercept Modernisation Programme inspire little confidence in their resolve. 

Indeed, in his recent report to the House of Commons the UK Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham' called for 'government departments to build post-legislative scrutiny into their work as a key way of ensuring the successful delivery of the new transparency and privacy agenda'. This followed the recommendations of the Surveillance Studies Network's (SSN) recent update to their 2006 'Report on the Surveillance Society'. 

In this climate Biaiñ's film looks as though it may prove to be essential viewing. Keep your eyes peeled for further screenings, or simply follow the film on Facebook.

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