*UPDATE - OCT 2017* Many of the links in this post are not accessible as the YB website has been unpublished. If you would like to read anything discussed below that is not available, please contact me.
At the end of term two, I reflected on my progress with the YB project and concluded that my scope was far too broad amongst other things. My aim for term three was to focus on the Lancaster community and begin to focus on ways to engage this community with privacy/surveillance discourse. Following my investigation into Lancaster's CCTV systems, I found that there were serious questions that needed to be answered, but also that these questions needed more than simple answers. This shaped my direction for third term. I wanted to convey the complexity of pro-privacy, anti-surveillance arguments in reference to systems that are used by the local community and government; to create an awareness of the importance of careful consideration.
My body of work for this term addresses the pros and cons of CCTV systems and Social Media. A total of four videos (two videos on the The Benefits and Downfalls of CCTV & two videos on The Benefits and Downfalls of Social Media) have been displayed as a series on four screens side-by-side (pictured below). The main aim of this series, as stated, is to show the complexity of privacy arguments in relation to each topic. For example, in the Benefits and Downfalls of CCTV series, the benefits video shows an interview with one of the senior managers at FGH Security - an award-winning security firm based in Lancaster, while the downfalls video examines how CCTV cameras can be abused and the overall maintenance cost vs perceived benefit of these systems. In the benefit video, the interviewee addresses the importance of CCTV cameras in the running of a scheme called 'Pub Watch'. The scheme aims to keep violent criminals and drinkers out of bars and clubs in Lancaster to ensure the safety of pub/club-goers. In the downfalls video, questions are raised as to Lancaster City Council's use of CCTV systems, and the cost of these systems is considered in relation to the benefit they bring to the community. Together, the videos provide a well-rounded account into both sides of the pro-privacy, anti-surveillance debate. They aptly show how important CCTV cameras can be when used correctly, but also how they can be abused by people. What's more, the videos help create an understanding with the viewer about the problem with these systems and allow for a wider conversation with the community. In addition to these videos, printed materials have been provided that are free to take away so viewers can join in the conversation at a later date. These materials are important to the whole series as they tie all ends of the project together - they provide a physical object which should serve as a reminder to viewers. In addition, the printed materials give viewers something to read - they can learn more about the YB project and understand more about the movement as a whole. The exhibition space is intended to be a place where people can come and sit and learn about these issues.
The ultimate aim of this series is to create an awareness and facilitate a conversation with the viewer and local community. Since its inception, YB has been focussed on creating an environment where people can learn about the downfalls of surveillance capabilities and the loss of privacy online. By providing both sides of the argument, this series allows for a careful consideration of the facts before a final decision can be made. While some may not see a problem with much of what has been reported, viewers have a greater understanding of the tools at play and can begin to make changes if they see fit. Tying everything together has been the main focus of this final term, and I believe this series is a fantastic way of exhibiting just how complex privacy arguments can be given certain circumstances.
This term I achieved everything I set out to create. The four videos were put together with the help of FGH Security and the Lancaster University Student's Union. The printed materials were created from scratch (including the painting of Mark Zuckerberg) using photoshop and printed using online service Vistaprint. The YB strategy booklet was edited to include two additional pages and printed using online service InstantPrint.
Watch the four videos below.