Transparent Lives demonstrates dramatically just how visible we have all become to myriad organizations and what this means—for better or for worse—for how we conduct our everyday lives. The irony is that as we have become more transparent to organizations, they have become less transparent to us. The politics of personal data involves making surveillance processes more visible to us so that we can engage democratically to seek fairness for all. Our hope is that this web forum and book will stimulate action toward greater accountability within organizations. In a digital age, data, especially personal data, are profoundly political.
The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting—a Major Collaborative Research Initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada—seeks to understand the factors contributing to the expansion of surveillance as a technology of governance, including its underlying principles, technological infrastructures, and institutional frameworks, and to elucidate the social consequences of surveillance for institutions and for ordinary people. Transparent Lives reflects research conducted during the first half of this seven-year project.
The volume was jointly authored by eleven members of the New Transparency team: Colin J. Bennett (University of Victoria), Andrew Clement (University of Toronto), Arthur Cockfield (Queen’s University), Aaron Doyle (Carleton University), Kevin D. Haggerty (University of Alberta), Stéphane Leman-Langlois (Université Laval), David Lyon (Queen’s University),Benjamin Muller (King’s University College, Western University), David Murakami Wood (Queen’s University), Laureen Snider (Queen’s University), and Valerie Steeves (University of Ottawa). The Transparent Lives web presence was developed by Adam Molnar (Queen's University), Valerie Steeves (University of Ottawa), Noah St. Amand (Tookish), and Josh Lyon (AKAFLK). Michael Carter (Queen's University) currently manages the Transparent Lives website.