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MWCC Professors to Discuss Surveillance in the Age of Alexa at Gardner Library

A post shows the information available at of other events that are part of this series.Two Mount Wachusett Community College Criminal Justice professors will be discussing modern surveillance techniques and their repercussions on Wednesday, October 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Levi Heywood Memorial Library at “Big Brother Meets Alexa: Surveillance in 1984 and 2018.”

The discussion will be led by MWCC Criminal Justice Program Chair Reed Hillman and Assistant Professor James Bigelow. The two have numerous years of criminal justice experience, with Hillman having served as the Superintendent of the State Police and Bigelow having been an investigator and supervisor in the State Police Detective Unit for Worcester County. The two will share not only their knowledge of police surveillance techniques, but how private companies are mining their customers’ data.

“It permeates every aspect of your life,” said Bigelow.

The two former law enforcement officers will cover current surveillance trends and technology. These topics will include the surveillance state in China, facial recognition software, artificial intelligence and the use of DNA by law enforcement and private companies.

“The trends against privacy are mostly in big data and artificial intelligence,” said Hillman. “The fact is, everything is monitored.”

The lecture is part of the MWCC Humanities Project, which is funded by a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This year’s activities (which include lectures, film screenings, and a poetry reading) are built around George Orwell’s book 1984 and what relation the world of that book has to our current way of life. A full list of activities, and more information about the Humanities Project, is available at

The other lectures are:

November 15, 2018

“Sexuality and Gender in The Handmaid’s Tale and 1984” 6:30 p.m. at Beals Library in Winchendon


February 21, 2019

“Fake News: How to Spot It; What to Do About It?” 6:30 PM at the Leominster Public Library


April 4, 2019

“Lecture: Can the US Constitution Save us From 1984?” 6:30 p.m. at the Athol Public Library