Privacy and Surveillance in Digital Life

The main argument raised throughout the chapter of ‘Everyone is Watching’: Privacy and Surveillance in Digital Life in Understanding Digital Culture by Vincent Miller is of the fine line between caring for safety and invasion of privacy through surveillance of our digital and everyday life.

Miller uses the example of e-Blaster, software which enables you to look upon your children and employees. This technology allows you to report, record and alert on the chosen devices. Children are now subjected to endless information online and many of them are still unsupervised when using the internet therefore is only for the child’s safety. Lyon (2001) suggests that our public sphere is for work only and our private sphere is meant for home, although this has been altered due to media invasion and in regards to what is public and private has now merged. Furthermore the e-Blaster proves that there is no privacy whether at home or work.

privacy egg

Although we choose to share our lives on social media we do it according to our own terms and when that is violated we doubt how safe we are on the web. Lyon (2001) also argues how nothing anymore is face to face, the physical proximity is lost. It has been found that of 2001 27% of online users already had their email monitored (Schulman 2001). Below is a link of how internet tracking via social media can be used as advantage for safety against terrorist attacks.

Our once private world is no longer our own. The UK is one of the most surveillance countries on the globe and it is found that a London resident is pictured 300 times per day. I agree with the argument we are being watched constantly and although it can sometimes feel like an invasion of privacy on the streets it is for our own benefit and safety. Surveillance works as a perfect crime prevention. The positives of having such advanced technology are endless but it has the power to expose us and strip us of our personal identity. It is almost impossible to become invisible as we are watched everywhere and everything we google is noted. But how long can this ‘Big Brother’ society last?

Kirsty Paine


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