Indeed, we can agree that we live in a surveillance society today. It is indeed clear that with a number ways of engaging and communicating techniques with electronic devices as well as social media networking—where surveillance is useful to “monitoring people in order to regulate their behaviour” (Gilliom & Monahan, 2012) for governments and law enforcement to maintain social control and monitor threats and criminal activity.
One way to examine this critical issue is analysing Computer Surveillance. Since Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web in 1989, this enabled countless amount of social media networking sites to monitor Computer Surveillance. A contemporary example of computer surveillance is social network analysis, such as Facebook. With social network analysis, the distinction between privacy and public are blurred.
Boyd & Hargittai (2010) mentioned the idea of “public search” focused on the Facebook site. Social network analysis features enables sharing for search engines by default; therefore activates the social network maps to gather useful information of personal interests, friendships, activities and many more. Anything we post on the net is public. Employers uses social networking sites to collect personal information on current employees.
This triggers the employees to limit the type of things they wish to share due to maintaining and protecting their reputation in the online world. Since they are being watched— this makes people become self-policing which can contradict the concept of gaining control of our own freedom.We can state how protecting of your freedom can be taken away from our own civil rights.
Gilliom & Monaham (2012) illustrated people failed to see “information societies are necessarily surveillance society.” If we are not doing anything wrong, then we have nothing to worry about. For example, identity theft can be applied as a critical concern because of how hackers can easily gain access to our personal data on Facebook and impersonate the user by making a fake profile. We must be aware of how much of our personal details we’re exposing and sharing online in order to prevent any misuse of data being under surveillance of a ‘stranger’.
Some critics stated that people must become accustomed to having no Privacy. North Korea is labelled as an surveillance state due to the country on lockdown monitored by ‘Bureau 27’ of phone cals and internet activity. Such citizens are already used to being under surveillance, which means as long as they do what they are told— they have nothing to fear about. Counterarguments may view this point as lack of civil rights of citizens living in fear in a surveillance state— lack of enjoying freedom.
To conclude, our society is moving toward a mass surveillance state yet people may still see this as a negative consequence. It is with computer surveillance that help us understand that there is no privacy online. Every aspect we share and are exposed to becomes public for anyone to see. People have not given a choice but to conform the surveillance state, which makes them live in fear of living. The truth is, everyone have something to hide. So if you do not, then you have nothing to worry about. The government are not going to track you down.
Relevant Video for in-depth discussion about critical concern between Online Privacy and the relationship it has with the Government.