Following the release of the NeoConOpticon report, Ben Hayes of Statewatch has set up an interesting blog monitoring EU security policy, called (ahem…) Notes on the European Security Research Program. One the first post (and a follow-up) concerned one particular EU 7th Framework Program-funded project called Indect, which seems to think that it is a great idea to have an Enemy of the State-style comprehensive surveillance system across Europe. It appears to be filmed in Poland – you think the Poles at least would have learned from almost half a century of totalitarian rule…
There are of course, hundreds of these security projects being funded by the EU that Ben’s report detailed (with a tiny, tiny number of alternative or critical ones, and of course some token nods to simple ethical concerns like privacy within some of the projects). One that finished in 2007 was the SAFEE project that proposed (amongst other things) to put cameras in the back of every aircraft seat so that passengers’ facial expressions could be monitored automatically for signs off threat… it’s unclear how many of these ever get beyond the research stage – and I hope most don’t – but if they do, the future of the EU is one of a tightly controlled society of people constantly monitored even at the most personal level in case they step out of line. The great thing about the NeoConOpticon report is that it puts all of these things together rather than treating them in isolation. I wonder if the individual researchers involved would think differently if they actually considered their work in this context and in the context of the political architecture of security that is being built in the EU.
Anyway, here’s the PR video for Indect, for those who are interested in such things. It’s typical of the genre: a dumbed-down, hyped-up, over-macho, TV-detective series pastiche with a ridiculous voice-over and music. No doubt it goes down a storm at sales events.
Anyway, keep an eye on Ben’s blog. I will be.