The Art of Self-Surveillance

Friday, January 04, 2013


In 2002, artist and professor Hasan Elahi spent six months being interrogated off and on by the FBI as a suspected terrorist. In response to this experience, he created Tracking Transience, a website that makes his every move available to the FBI - and everybody else. In a segment that originally aired in November of 2011, Brooke talks to Elahi about the project.


Hasan Elahi

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [2]

Cliff Sanderlin from Edmonds, WA

Your privacy program was outstanding! Please do more of these in greater depth, as you just skimmed the surface of the many issues involved.

While serving in a political hot spot in Northeastern Brazil in the Peace Corps in the late 1960s, I experienced total censorship and a government without constitutional protections. That experience made me understand the importance of our First Amendment rights, which have been eroding in the past two decades at an alarming rate. I am a long-time supporter of both public radio and the ACLU. Keep up your great work. We love your show, and appreciate that Brook came to Seattle (where we met you at KUOW, where I once worked.) -- Cliff

Jan. 06 2013 10:14 PM
Tim from BK NY

I found it interesting that the user has almost no control in the Tracking Transient website. This lack of control means that you really don't have any useful information. If I want to know where Hasan was on a specific date, I have to wait until that date randomly appears. There is no mapping feature so I can track Hasan's movement over time. It tells me where he is right now but not where he was an hour ago. There isn't even a statement about the purpose of the site -- or if there is it is too hidden for me to bother to find. It's really not much different than watching a slide show on Flikr. If I had stumbled on this site without previous knowledge, I would see it as just another masturbatory conceptual/political art piece. I like the idea -- I like the idea of many conceptual art pieces -- just don't think the execution is so hot. But it is pretty.

Jan. 06 2013 12:18 PM

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