As our world becomes more digitally dependent, how can we take an active role in shaping the kind of ‘smart city’ we want to live in?
At Digital Rights Watch, we think a great place to start is by understanding the ways that surveillance is already being used in our public spaces. This Melbourne Knowledge Week, let us be your guide! We’ve developed a guided walking tour through the streets of Melbourne CBD to explore how we are watched, tracked, and monitored as we go about each day.
Choose your own adventure
You can pick the way you participate. Head to the Melbourne Knowledge Week website to register to attend an in-person tour on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd of May. If going solo is more your thing, you can head to the mobile-friendly webpage, pop in your headphones, and go at your own pace with a map and audio. Fancy the tech-free option? You can print out the map and all the info, and head out there old-school style.
IRL walking tour starting times:
Saturday, 1 May 2021: 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm
Sunday, 2 May 2021: 11am, 1pm
The tour lasts approximately 1 hour. There are plenty of other great events happening as Melbourne Knowledge Week- be sure to check out the full program here!
Truly ‘smart’ cities are digital rights cities
There’s nothing smart about eroding our rights. We think technology can and should play a role in making our lives better; making systems more efficient, and protecting the environment. But too often ‘smart’ data-centric projects focus on constant generation, collection, and processing of data, ultimately contributing to a broad system of surveillance. We want to see technology being used in our cities in a way that enhances and protects human rights.
This guided walking tour isn’t just about cameras around the city (although there are a lot!), it’s about how IRL urban spaces interconnect with digital technologies, and how it impacts our rights, freedoms, and experiences of democracy and community.
To learn more about our Digital Rights Cities work, head to our campaign page here.
Surveillance has a history of colonisation
This walking tour takes places on the lands of the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation. Much of the systems of surveillance we will discuss have roots in Australia’s history of colonisation, and we must keep in mind that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia continue to be subject to disproportionate surveillance and policing. We all have a role to play in understanding, questioning, and decolonising these systems. We acknowledge that the sovereignty of this land was never ceded, and we wish to pay our respects to elders past present, and emerging.
Want to explore how surveillance technologies are used in your local city?
Melbourne is just the beginning! We’ve made all of the resources of this tour available and free to use under a Creative Commons license. We would love to see others create similar projects in other cities. Feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org