Behind the Scenes @ Nacho News

Written By Christine Ling, Matthew Evans, Josh Wakefield, Caraka Putra & Darcy Burke.

Our group, ALC Nacho, decided to focus on on surveillance in educational institutions, such as our schools and universities. Through online communication, our group swiftly decided that the video would be in the form of a news report. This type of video seemed quite suitable in order to provide a highly informative piece of work, while at the same time being relatively quick to film since we were also trying to avoid doing too much and therefore being unable to finish the task by the due date.

Early on, It was important to identify our individual strengths and weaknesses, understanding where and how we could all contribute to the project in a way that create a thoroughly produced work. Once we understood this, we began the brainstorming process. We came up with many ideas, allocated some of the important roles such script writing, filming, editing and acting. We were also quick to determine who would appear on screen in the character roles for the video, including a presenter, field reporter and surveillance expert.

Christine and Matthew were responsible for writing the script, Josh and Darcy were key on-screen actors in our film, and Caraka was in charge of editing the the film. These roles were determined by our skills and willingness to fulfill these tasks.

Once the script was completed, the next part was to collect video and audio. We were able to film once we had determined a plan for the video regarding the different segments that would be included. This was determined on a running sheet and it was available for us to access and edit through the Google Suite.

The planned segments included an introduction from a presenter based in a news studio, an opening from a reporter based at Deakin, an expert interview and vox pops involving other Deakin students. We felt that the vox pops segment in particular would be an important and distinctive addition to the news report,  hearing the popular opinions of other students who have not studied surveillance. This would provide a greater insight from real people, making it more appealing to the mainstream audience.

There were also legal considerations that we had to take into account, particularly when filming on campus. We developed consent forms to be signed by those who were interviewed, ensuring that they were comfortable with participating in our film.

We were able to get the majority of filming completed in one session. This took us approximately an hour in filming and recording audio. This was a really productive session, successfully working well as a team.

The editing process was swift as we had a running sheet and a script ready, so cutting the pieces together was a rather easy task. Much attention was given to creating a coherent video structure that flows well through and through. The supplied material was sufficient enough for the editor to quickly drop onto the editing timeline. We decided to include Creative Commons material licensed from Flickr into the news story package since we wanted to have a variety of media in our video. It proves to work very well alongside the narration piece, providing a clear background context and a great transition to the expert interview segment. For the graphics, we ended creating most of it ourselves, drawing upon inspiration from real news programs and television channels.

Additionally, we were able to license high quality music for commercial use since our editor has a subscription plan in Artlist.io, a new startup aiming to provide content creators alike with music from producers around the world. It was definitely a unique experience, since getting the right sound was the first priority as it help ties the different segments together and we took the creative decision to avoid using the YouTube Audio Library because their database was too mainstream.

There were a number of digital media platforms which formed the base of our group’s communication and collaboration. Initially,  we opened discussions amongst our group members through Facebook’s messaging app Messenger. After being encouraged to avoid using Messenger because of it’s convenience, we moved away from the app, as well as Deakin E-mail and Twitter, and moving our correspondence and work documents to Google Hangouts.

Hangouts allowed us to communicate through video call, voice call or text. We chose text as we felt it was the easiest to document and it would avoid 5 people talking over one another.

Thanks to Hangouts, we were able to have two productive discussions. The first discussion was to generate and brainstorm our ideas and delegate roles and responsibilities. The ideas instantaneously began to flow and we all came to the same wavelength of thought. It was unanimously determined that a news report was the format our group wanted to go forward with. This was because we believed that this was the best way to present our ideas in a clear and creative way.

We then sought to establish the roles and responsibilities for our group. Establishing this early meant that our group was able to co-operate with one another so well.  This prompted a pleasant and productive collaborative experience until the end, which was a result of our positive attitudes toward each other and the project early on.

In terms of our ideas, we decided to focus on one area: surveillance in educational institutions. Christine and Matthew worked together to put together the script for the news report, using references and important information. Christine was responsible for writing the vast majority of the information, whilst Matthew worked the script into a news report style, using what he had learnt as a journalism student.

We know that schools and universities are heavily populated. Many individuals may be aware of surveillance in public spaces. However,  is there an equal amount of CCTV and surveillance in educational institutions as there is in these public spaces? Does the presence of this surveillance have the same effect on students in the classroom as it does on ordinary people walking down the street?

Our news report aimed to be informative and propose these questions to our audience, introduce different perspectives on the matter, from ordinary students to specialist academics who have conducted thorough research on this issue.

Another purpose of this video was to explore and compare the pros and cons of surveillance in educational institutions. Through research and discussion with university students, we were able to come to a deeper understanding of how students were actually affected by CCTV and surveillance technologies.With this understanding we were able to create an informative news report which presented unique perspectives on surveillance. By asking questions such as “Surveillance in schools; Protective or Invasive?”  This allowed the audience to be given the opportunity to form their own opinion on the matter. It was important to give the audience this opportunity as the purpose of the video was not to present one single argument, but to discuss multiple ideas and perspectives relating to the topic.

References:

Phillips, C. (2005). A Review of CCTV Evaluations: Crime Reduction Effects and Attitudes Towards its Use. Crime Prevention Studies, [online] 10, p.124. Available at: http://www.popcenter.org/library/CrimePrevention/Volume_10/05-Phillips-CCTV_Evaluations.pdf [Accessed 5 Aug. 2017].

Smith, C. (2015). CCTV and Security Guards in Schools: Protective or Invasive?. [online] The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/cctv-and-security-guards-in-schools-protective-or-invasive-38305 [Accessed 4 Sep. 2017].

Warnick, BR 2007, ‘Surveillance cameras in schools: an ethical analysis’, Harvard Educational Review, no. 3, p. 317.

Images:

US Department of Education 2013, LEEHS 25, photograph, retrieved 27 September 2017 <https://www.flickr.com/photos/departmentofed/8507746108/>

Jirka Matousek 2012, ISC Orientation Week 2nd Meeting Spring 2012, photograph, retrieved 27 September 2017 <https://www.flickr.com/photos/jirka_matousek/8468590171/>

Husky 2007, Security Camera, photograph, retrieved 27 September 2017 <https://www.flickr.com/photos/husky/624970578/>

Wilhelm Joys Andersen 2010, School, photograph, retrieved 27 September 2017 <https://www.flickr.com/photos/wilhelmja/4730516898/>

US Department of Education 2009, _PR10255, photograph, retrieved 27 September 2017, <https://www.flickr.com/photos/departmentofed/9607386125/>

 

Music: Wire Leaves by Rexx Final Beat, licensed via Artlist.io

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Webcams: The Good, Bad and Ugly

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Day 106 – Computer Is Watching by Iain Watson (CC BY 2.0)

In recent years I have noticed that some people cover their webcam screen with a tiny little piece of paper. I have since become uncomfortable about using any laptop if the webcam is exposed. Admittedly I had not researched the matter, I was swayed by rumours and the ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude. However media coverage does seem to outline the real threat of webcam hacking, so overall it is unsurprising that so many webcams are now covered up by users.

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Webcam wearing a sock by Gavin Stewart (CC BY 2.0)

One myth surrounding webcams that I struggle to believe is that hackers will only target the rich and famous section of society. It might be of extra value to target celebrities but this hardly means that the rest of society is safe from webcam hacking. Many hackers will partake in hacking just for the sheer thrill of it (Sangani 2013). The thrill can be provided by any person unknowingly being watched through their webcam, whether or not they are known to the hacker.

Extensive webcam use can also be thought of as a safety precaution, but I tend to feel that it is intrusive and this outweighs any possible safety benefits. A webcam is known for being a small, low cost and widely available camera (Balsam et al. 2013). When such a system is installed in a work office or school, it may be unnoticed and therefore not deter any violent behaviour. Even if a webcam does capture important security vision, it needs to be clear enough to be able identify who is responsible, and a good enough resolution cannot always be guaranteed. When schools actually prioritise webcam use and become less vigilant about other security measures it can increase violence rates according to research, plus sensitive information may be gathered through webcams that would be difficult to secure thanks to webcam hacking (Braggs 2004).

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iSight 1984 by Vincent Brown (CC BY 2.0)

Of course, it is not as if webcams are the worst invention of the technological age. To provide a more balanced view, I also consider situations that prove the significance of webcams. For example, when two elderly people are separated on different sides of the world and are unable to travel to see each other, the best option is to have a video call over the internet. A webcam is required to allow them to see each other on screen. It can be truly special for those involved when they are able to connect with each other through a video conference.

For those worried about unwilling surveillance through webcams, then the simple solution is to cover up the camera when not wanting to use it, as many people do already. On the other hand let’s also be careful to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. For those people who completely avoid webcams, they may be missing out on the opportunity to have convenient video chats with their friends and family around the world.

References

Balsam, J, Ossandon, M, Bruck, H, Lubensky, I, & Rasooly, A 2013, ‘Low-cost technologies for medical diagnostics in low-resource settings’, Expert Opinion On Medical Diagnostics, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 243-255, retrieved 5 September 2017, MEDLINE Complete, EBSCOhost.

Braggs, D 2004, ‘Webcams in Classrooms: How Far is Too Far?’, Journal Of Law & Education, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 275-282, retrieved 5 September 2017, Legal Source, EBSCOhost.

Sangani, K 2013, ‘UNINVITED GUESTS’, Engineering & Technology (17509637), vol. 8, no. 10, pp. 46-49, retrieved 5 September 2017, Complementary Index, EBSCOhost.

Seeing is Believing

And government wants to see for itself. 

Would it bother you if someone turned up at your house uninvited? It might not always be a welcome surprise, especially if the guest arrives with surveillance equipment and wants to monitor you. However, seeing is believing in our world. Sometimes one just needs to see things through their own eyes, or their own surveillance devices, to accept that they are really occurring.

Although Australian politicians will use their words wisely to avoid escalation on the matter, I doubt that many were thrilled to learn of a Chinese Navy spy ship which was spotted near the Queensland coast recently. The vessel is specifically designed to eavesdrop on foreign militaries (Greene 2017, para. 3).

We live in a world of many different political ideologies. A government may have contrasting priorities compared with other governments around the world, and consequently some foreign relationships may lack trust. Federal governments are going to have concerns about what is happening abroad, and of course they would prefer accumulating their own surveillance data on such issues. I can completely understand possible reasoning behind why the Chinese government would like to use surveillance outside of China.

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u r under surveillance by bettyx1138 (CC BY 2.0)

What a step forward it would be for governments to start showing stronger action to provocative surveillance measures such as this. If an unwelcome visitor shows up at my doorstep then I would likely react, and although this ship situation is larger scale, and it did not quite reach the Australian border, surely some would say there is still an opportunity for a stronger reaction.

However the thing is, since Australians are also likely keeping an eye on some places overseas, it would be ridiculous to complain when China gets caught using surveillance near Australian land. Universal government trust, co-operation and a subsequent reduction in terms of foreign surveillance seems completely utopian. Perfect perhaps but unrealistic.

In politics, it is citizens of a country who have constitutional rights and foreigners who do not possess such rights. Australia follows this approach with surveillance, with various safeguards in place just for Australian citizens or permanent residents according to the Intelligence Services Act introduced in 2001 (Milanovic 2015). Foreigners simply don’t get the same privacy rights. The same applies in countries all around the world.

Surveillance debate often seems to revolve around establishing a level of surveillance that preferably should not be exceeded. That is, finding that level of surveillance that is the tipping point between keeping people safe and intruding on their liberties. Citizens may be willing to sacrifice their privacy in the name of security, but the same citizens undoubtedly dislike the constant and unreasonable monitoring of daily activities (Rashwan et al. 2016).

Ideally, average citizens would only be monitored by those within their own country. Once surveillance is being used excessively and intrusively by governments to spy on people other than their own, their respective surveillance policies may not have been broken but the tipping point mentioned above has surely been reached.

Guardian
130122-N-ZZ999-001 by COMSEVENTHFLT  (CC BY-SA 2.0)

References

Greene, A 2017, Chinese Navy spy ship rattles Talisman Sabre war games off Queensland coast, ABC, retrieved 28 July 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-22/chinese-navy-spy-ship-rattles-talisman-sabre-war-games-off-quee/8732944.

Milanovic, M 2015, ‘Human Rights Treaties and Foreign Surveillance: Privacy in the Digital Age’, Harvard International Law Journal, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 81-119, retrieved 29 July 2017, Legal Source, EBSCOhost.

Rashwan, H, Solanas, A, Puig, D, & Martinez-Balleste, A 2016, ‘Understanding trust in privacy-aware video surveillance systems’, International Journal Of Information Security, no. 3, pp. 225-234, retrieved 29 July 2017, Academic OneFile, EBSCOhost.