The Importance Of Surveillance

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Abstract In the past two decades, surveillance has gained great expansion and a significant meaning with overarching effects on our modes of living as citizens, neighbors and human beings. Utilizing resources from various disciplines and studies, we would analyze the profound change in humans and societies due to the exponential growth in surveillance technologies and its application in modern settlements and spaces. The paper will also try to tackle the challenge to determine whether surveillance is helpful or a hindrance; an instrument to improve the quality of life or a cause for infringement of civil liberties.

In recent years, surveillance technology has undergone a major revolution and has found its application extensively in modern
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This has been made possible by the great technological advancement and progress, which has led to cheaper and far more extensive methods of surveillance. The march towards globalization and penetration of the Internet and other technologies has enabled the ‘few’ to watch over ‘many’ in a more expansive and comprehensive manner. In her article, In Praise of Big Brother: Why We Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Government Surveillance, James Stacey Taylor writes; “Spy satellites are now so accurate that they can be used to track the movements of individual people, and even read license plates on cars. It is now simple to intercept faxes, pager messages, and telephone messages, for rooms to be bugged, and for tracking devices to be installed on vehicles, goods, and even individual person. Spyware software can now be covertly and remotely implanted onto Internet-linked computers to monitor the keystrokes that their users make and the websites that they visit. And in many areas of the developed world people now live much of their public lives under the panoptic gaze of closed-circuit television monitors that record their every move.”5 According to the Daily Mail, in the United Kingdom; “There are 4.2million closed-circuit TV cameras here, one per every 14 people. It is estimated that Britain has 20 per cent of cameras globally and that each…show more content…
The ‘looking glass self’ was a framework given by Charles Horton Cooley to describe the process of acquiring an identity by responding to what we see of ourselves in the eyes of others-both in formal and covert ways.9 Social interactionist theories of identity state that the self is reflected back from others and individuals present different aspects of the self to different friends, family members, colleagues and strangers. An understanding of this framework is important for us in this essay, as it helps us to formulate a dynamic between the observed and observer. In an interesting paper by Ian Brown, he analyses how surveillance and privacy technologies will impact on the psychological notions of identity. He writes, “The most fundamental impact surveillance has on identity is that it reduces individuals’ control over the information they disclose about their attributes in different social contexts, often to powerful actors such as the state or multinational
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