Working with the University of Strathclyde, Scottish PEN has authored a report exploring whether the perception of surveillance encourages writers to self-censor themselves and avoid sensitive topics in their work, research and communications with others. Based on a 2013 study by PEN America, Scottish Chilling: Impact of Government and Corporate Surveillance on Writers is a survey of 118 Scotland-based writers, including novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, publishers and translators, to investigate whether the Ed Snowden revelations and the passage of the Investigatory Powers Act has made writers less willing to explore certain issues.
To launch this report, this event will bring together the report authors: Dr. Jennifer Jones, Co-organiser of Hacks/Hackers Scotland; David McMenemy, a Lecturer in Information Science at the University of Strathclyde, and Deputy Director for Postgraduate Teaching; Dr. Lauren Smith, Researcher previously based at the University of Strathclyde and Nik Williams, the Project Manager of Scottish PEN to outline the report findings and the impact pervasive surveillance could have on the cultural and journalistic output across Scotland. This is a ground-breaking study into the unseen impact of the big data and digital surveillance that defines modern society, both in Scotland and across the globe. Self-censorship is an unseen force that restricts the willingness of writers to write and limits what readers can access to inform their beliefs, ideas and participation in the world around them.
If you are interested in surveillance, human rights, writing and journalism, this is an important discussion to explore whether we are still free to express ourselves in a world that monitors and stores our every action online.