The push for increased surveillance from fiction and its impact on privacy

Wednesday 2 October 17:00 - 17:30, Red room

Miriam Cihodariu (Heimdal Security)
Andrei Bogdan Brad (Code4Romania)

The way security efforts are presented in their fictionalized accounts is actively shaping the way society responds to new technological possibilities. While society at large tends to push against the use of facial recognition technology, and for protecting the semblance of privacy and anonymity that we can still enjoy, others are misled by the intensive use of surveillance technology in fiction and think these tactics are already approved and running.

The sources for such misleading imaging can be: any TV show which shows police dealing with criminality using footage from street cameras; spy movies; cyber warfare in movies or other works of fiction; etc.

Law and media scholars seem to be of the opinion that it's already too late to save privacy. The privacy anxiety and malaise has many important representatives (such as Neil M. Richards & Woodrow Hartzog and Jonathan A Obar & Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch). Others (like Margot Kaminski and Suzanne Barber) are more optimistic about the future of our privacy, or at least try to focus more on how we can protect the privacy we still have and make the data ecosystems more transparent.

Whether they are right in their suspicions or not, people have even started questioning whether their smart lightbulbs are spying on them. The only certainty we have out of all of this is that the levels of anxiety regarding interconnectivity, IoT and surveillance, are rising.

While companies which process huge amounts of personal data are being called to the stand to answer for how this data is used, I'd like to explore the common misconceptions held by the general public about surveillance and privacy and how popular culture (through fiction) helps push these opinions and misconceptions one way or the other.

The aim of this effort is not purely exploratory, but a call for more responsibility in how surveillance is portrayed, since these portrayals can actively impact law debates which are crucial for the future of society and culture.




Miriam Cihodariu

Miriam was an academia buff, researcher and teaching assistant for more than six years in the field of anthropology, then she turned content writer and SEO strategist. During the past four years, she became an executive-level business planner for managing multiple marketing endeavours. She is now the Communications and PR officer of Heimdal Security, creator of the award-winning Thor security solution.



Andrei Bogdan Brad

A mergers and acquisitions expert located in Bucharest, Romania, but educated also in Holland (at Utrecht University), involved as a logistics and IT expert with the Code4Romania initiative, Andrei Brad is on a new education track of becoming a data scientist, and is fascinated by the way hacktivism efforts can be used for social solidarity causes.

   Read paper    Watch video

Back to VB2019 Programme page

Other VB2019 papers

Play fuzzing machine - hunting iOS and macOS kernel vulnerabilities automatically and smartly

Lilang Wu (Trend Micro)
Moony Li (Trend Micro)

Spoofing in the reeds with Rietspoof

Jan Sirmer (Avast Software)
Luigino Camastra (Avast software)
Adolf Středa (Avast software)

The cake is a lie! Uncovering the secret world of malware-like cheats in video games

Santiago Martin Pontiroli (Kaspersky Lab)

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.