Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ontario's Privacy Commissioner on RFID & EDLs: Podcast

This week's CBC "Search Engine" podcast explores the use of RFID technology in Canadian driver's licenses. Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian shares her privacy concerns about enhanced drivers' licenses (EDLs) and discusses ways citizens who choose to use EDLs could protect their personal information from RFID skimmers when the cards are not in use. She emphasizes that use of EDLs is voluntary and expects on-off switch technology for the IDs to be ready in 2010.

Enhanced driver's licenses have been developed as a passport alternative for use when crossing the U.S. border. They are already in use in Manitoba and are set to launch in Ontario this June.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Project Eyeborg: "Bionic" Journalist Rob Spence

Rob Spence, a Canadian filmmaker who lost an eye in an accident as a teenager, plans to have a mini camera installed in his prosthetic eye to make documentaries and raise awareness about surveillance in society.

For Project Eyeborg, Spence will have a camera, a battery and a wireless transmitter mounted on a tiny circuit board in his prosthetic eye, but no part of the camera would be connected to his nerves or his brain.

"In Toronto there are 12,000 cameras. But the strange thing I discovered was that people don't care about the surveillance cameras, they were more concerned about me and my secret camera eye because they feel that is a worse invasion of their privacy."

Spence, whose last film "Let's All Hate Toronto" explored the Canada-wide trend of hating that city, has no plans to make reality programming. The focus of his latest film is surveillance and the eye project has become central to the film.

The filmmaker has been working with a team of engineers to build a prototype in time for this week's 2009 “Digital News Affairs (DNA) conference.