As the information age develops, networks and technologies has been assisting our lives from several different perspectives. Firstly, networks and technologies helped us to assess the world without any limitation of in terms of space or time. However, we need also to consider that at the same time they give accessibility to our personal information to a larger scale of population. In this regards, I would like also to mention that we are gradually entering in a society surrounded by digital surveillance, not only in the form of CCTV, but also online through the new technologies.
For surveillance society we mean “all significant social, institutional or business activities in our society now involve the systematic monitoring, gathering and analysis of information in order to make decision, minimize risk, sort population, and exercise power” (Gilliom J, Monahan T). In this digital era, surveillance is not only happening in specific parts of the society, it goes on in all imperceptible way from credit card to digital device, from our working space to visual space. Surveillance is an old term which has been around in the society for a long time, while surveillance society employing new technologies, assisted institutions to collect their data on a larger scale and population only in the recent years, surveillance went high-tech and moved to the center of many dimension of our lives.
The reading brings me a new perspective to look at surveillance, by considering also the benefits that the latter brings to our society. “Wanda D” is an example provided in the reading, institutions like Bank does not necessary need a face-to-face meeting with the consumer anymore, they are surveillance systems already monitoring the requester on the daily basis and monitoring any data stored in the systems. On the bright side this institutional surveillance assists the company making rational decisions based on mathematical operations, rather than using human labour which might be affected by personal believes or emotions. In many ways, surveillance is critical while helping the business, people and government to function better.
Although there are many benefits of surveillance that are being ignored by us, but it is undeniable that our privacy is violated in the surveillance society, “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time”, this is statement given by Mark Zuckerberg when he discussed the issue of privacy. Personally I disagree with the idea, it is undeniable that people are willing to share information with each other, but being more open does not mean that the concept of privacy is changed as well. Many users knew that privacy could no longer be protected by law or user agreements, some people seem to have stopped fighting for privacy, because it is no longer possible to protect your privacy under the surveillance system. Social media platforms such as Facebook alter they privacy setting many time, even if you can protect your information from other users, it seems that your data is still being used by the owners and advertisers.
However, as the technologies and knowledge of informational society developed, people started to notice the issue of privacy and surveillance. It is hard to find a solution to confront surveillance nowadays, because it is more than a payment tracking or well-target advertisements, the only things we can do is set a board awareness of the issue, and protect our privacy in the advance of technology skills.