Menu Close

Surveillance Studies Centre awarded $2.5 million SSHRC grant

Queen’s University professor and Surveillance Studies Centre director David Lyon (Sociology) has been awarded $2.5 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for his research into the vulnerabilities generated by big data surveillance.

The Big Data Surveillance Partnership Grant will bring together national and international academic partners, along with non-academic partners from public policy and activism groups including the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. David Murakami Wood, Canada Research Chair (Tier II) and Associate Professor of Surveillance Studies in the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University, is also a co-applicant on the grant.

The new project builds on the Surveillance Studies Centre’s previous project The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting (2008-2015), and its landmark study, Transparent Lives: Surveillance in Canada, which exposes nine key surveillance trends now intensified by big data. This new partnership will contribute to an updated grasp of emerging surveillance practices and trends and to ethical and policy engagement.

“The funding is crucial to our research work because while many across Canada are exploring how big data techniques can be used in areas such as health care, education, welfare or employment, very few are focusing attention on the questions of the ethics of big data or its social, economic, political and cultural consequences,” says Dr. Lyon.

As part of the research program, Dr. Lyon and his team will document how organizations track activities, habits and locations in real time, how this data is used and how the tracking and anticipating of things like social media use, household consumption or voting in elections affects ordinary people’s daily lives.

Read the full story in the Queen’s Gazette.

For more information visit the Queen’s Surveillance Studies Centre.