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Virus Tracking & Surveillance · Disruptive Fridays #4


Lauri Love, Joana Moll, Julian Finn, Tatiana Bazzichelli


Disruption Network Lab





The fourth edition of Disruptive Fridays features a conversation between: Lauri Love (Computer Scientist, UK), Joana Moll (Artist and Researcher, ES), Julian Finn (Hacker and Media Artist, DE) and Tatiana Bazzichelli (Director, Disruption Network Lab).

“Virus Tracking & Surveillance” episode features a discussion about the implications of tracking and data retention on everyday life, as well as the necessity to implement technology for collective care while respecting privacy and surveillance concerns.

A live conversation on the implication of citizen tracking during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Is tracking in public space becoming necessary to monitor individual health conditions, or do we need to protect our citizen rights to keep such data fully anonymous? In the last few weeks the necessity of developing Corona tracking apps has become part of a very crucial debate, but it is even more crucial to guarantee data protection.

As reported by Heise Online, one of more apps will be available in Germany from mid-April onwards, on the basis of the PEPP-PT (Pan European Privacy Protecting Proximity Tracing) project. This will enable users to use Bluetooth technology to determine whether they have been in contact with a Corona-infected person who also uses the system. But there are already some concerns related to IT security problems, connected to the use of Bluetooth technology, or about the possibility to provide such system without accessing the location information on the mobile phone. For example, Digitalcourage points out that under Android, the use of the Bluetooth interface is only permitted if the use of local services is enabled at the same time. On the other side, the more physical control we have over tracking devices, the more information these devices can extract. While tracking devices unfold as everyday objects, able to be run and operated by the average citizen, the information that they collect becomes increasingly undecipherable by the very same user that operates such device. Since the appearance of the Panopticon in the 18th century, tracking devices have gradually come closer to our bodies, yet COVID-19 crisis pushes social control one step further. It requires to control biological processes, and it requires to implement it fast.

Lauri Love (Computer Scientist, UK)
Lauri Love is a computer scientist from Stradishall in the UK who has a long history of involvement in political activism. He played a prominent role in the student and Occupy movements in Glasgow during 2011-12. Lauri faced potential extradition to the United States for his alleged involvement in #OpLastResort, the series of online protests that followed the persecution and untimely death of Aaron Swartz. Love is increasingly being recognised as an expert on hacking, surveillance and privacy issues in the UK and has made a principled stand against the country’s forced decryption laws.

Joana Moll (Artist and Researcher, ES)
Joana Moll is an artist and researcher from Barcelona. Her main research topics include Internet materiality, surveillance, social profiling and interfaces. She has lectured, performed and exhibited her work in different museums, art centers, universities, festivals and publications around the world. Furthermore she is the co-founder of the Critical Interface Politics Research Group at HANGAR [Barcelona] and co-founder of The Institute for the Advancement of Popular Automatisms. She is currently a visiting lecturer at Universität Potsdam (DE), Escola Elisava (ES) and Escola Superior d’Art de Vic (ES).

Julian Finn (Hacker and Media Artist, DE)
Julian Finn is a hacker and media artist. He has been part of the German hacker scene for almost two decades. Founder of Mautinoa, a company building digital banking solutions for developing countries and humanitarian crises, he has been working in the field of disaster relief and humanitarian aid for a few years. His specialty is in working with and creating products for non-classical user groups, cognitive impaired, and other vulnerable people.

Photo Courtesy of the organisation

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