“Fizzy, contemporary surveillance is everywhere, and we don’t see it anywhere anymore. It is ubiquitous more than totalitarian, passive more than active. Many will retort, en masse and in good faith, that they have nothing to hide. In reality, they cannot hide anything.” These words are taken from the book On the trail, by French journalist Olivier Tesquet. There is a lot of talk about security — private or public — a field “revolutionized” by the development of surveillance technology. For the author, “monitoring devices are all the more effective when we no longer see them”.
In Geneva, an international city that hosts diplomatic delegations and heads of state, security is an important issue. But it is difficult to have a precise idea of the extent of digital surveillance on the cantonal territory, as pointed out by a recent report by the Edgelands Institute. The authors state that they were “unable to determine the exact number of state-owned CCTV cameras in public spaces, as there is no centralized database open to the public indicating their location, and the respondents did not agree on an identical number”.
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