One of the core principles of good project management is monitoring your project’s progress. We do this when we build houses, but also in education, healthcare, consulting, finance and so on. Monitoring is a form of surveillance, but we are just using a different word. However, I, and I imagine you, would have a different reaction to the first sentence of this post if. we swapped them. One of the core principles of good project management is using surveillance in your project. Feels different doesn’t it?
Surveillance has many negative connotations to it in certain circles and less so in others. Part of it is wrapped up in trust. Do we trust the person or entity doing the surveilling? Why we don’t, it turns negative, when we do, it’s fine.
And yes, it is true that we can now, quite easily, taking the ‘monitoring’ data about the same people or community from many sectors and put it all together. Often, this will provide insights we didn’t see or have before. This can be extremely useful, but also extremely harmful.
And therein lies our challenge. How do we as a society walk the fine line between benefit and harm when its the same data and insight? The one thing I know for sure is that it is not an individual person or organisation who can make the choice. It’s not a job for IT, but we need their voice. It’s also not a job for the lawyers or the risk team, but we need their voices too. Diversity is key.
And the choice is up to us.