November 22, 2013:

Smart Surveillance

The issue of a surveillance state has long been a concern of freedom activists and science-fiction authors. The dystopian worlds depicted in 1984, Minority Report or V for Vendetta have long entered mainstream culture to describe states where the ever watchful eye of the State has become oppressive. As few countries have a greater first-hand experience with this issue than Germany, its relationship to surveillance is a very meaningful one. It is therefore not surprising that the revelations made by Edward Snowden concerning the surveillance habits of Western intelligence agencies, including hacking Chancellor Merkel's mobile phone, has generated more outrage in Germany than anywhere else. The NSA/Snowden affair has brought back numerous classic questions into the spotlight, namely the relationship between security and liberty or security and privacy. But it also raised new questions that are just as important: What are the capabilities of surveillance technology? How is this information used? Are citizens partly to blame? Who sets the norms that define which information is relevant and which is not? Are we all guilty until proven innocent? You can watch the full video below.


  • Stephan G. Humer (PhD) is the founder and research director of the first German working area "net sociology" at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK Berlin).
  • Dr. Stefan Heumann (PhD) is deputy director of the program "Digital Agenda for Europe" at the "foundation new responsibility" (stiftung neue verantwortung) in Berlin.
The full Luncheon can be watched here: