Introduction to SAPIENT
Surveillance systems and technologies are no longer confined to law enforcement authorities, intelligence agencies and the military – modern information technology has manifested surveillance as an everyday phenomenon. Already today surveillance technology monitors traffic on our roads and passengers on the Underground; government services use surveillance technology to check who is really entitled to social services; employers monitor employee keystrokes, e-mails and phone calls; and Internet service providers inspect their customers’ data traffic to target them with personalised advertising.
The European Union has recognised the problematic potential of smart surveillance technologies and claims that a balance must be struck between surveillance and control to minimise the potential impact of terrorist action on the one hand, and respect for human rights, privacy, social and community cohesion and the successful integration of minority communities on the other. SAPIENT will identify and analyse impacts posed by future smart surveillance technologies that may be used for profiling citizens in order to identify potential evil-doers, for crime control in urban settings or for border control and critical infrastructure protection.