Friday, October 24, 2014

Surveillance, Power, and Everyday Life

The article, “Surveillance, Power, and Everyday Life” by David Lyon emphasizes the idea that surveillance is constantly growing and has now become integrated into our everyday lives. He even refers to other sources that claim that we have reached the “end of privacy.” Lyon argues that these various “surveillance societies” that are evident today, are a byproduct of the information society.
            This article is published in an anthology book entitled, “The Oxford Handbook of Information and Communication Technologies” which features articles from multiple authors that all tie in with the issues and challenges presented by Information and Communication Technologies. The Oxford University Press published this book in 2009 in Oxford, United Kingdom. The intended audience for this article, and the whole book in general, are those who are interested in learning about how these new technologies work and interfere in our everyday lives, whether it be in more obvious aspects of our daily life such as the government or economy, or not as obvious aspects such as our own daily life and the actions we perform without thinking twice.
            The author David Lyon, is a sociologist and professor in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. He is also the director of the Surveillance Studies Center which is a leading organization in research for expanding surveillance practices. Like the information presented in his article, Lyon’s life work consists of researching how and why surveillance is one of the biggest issues presented in modern information-based societies, with particular interest in national identification cards and aviation security processes.
            The book as a whole has been praised for its wide array of authors that were published, a total of 39. These authors are deemed as scholars from various fields of studies in regards to information systems, media, communication, and information technology policy. On top of that, the book itself is described as being presented in an organized manner with the articles being arranged in a cohesive sequence. The articles themselves are praised with being practical and relevant to today’s times and technologies as well as being able to offer the most up to date augments and trends in regards to applications of ICT’s in today’s society.
            One idea that Lyon had presented in his article that stood out to me was his expansion on the idea of the “panopticon.” The idea of the panopticon is essentially the idea that everyone will behave accordingly knowing that they are being watched, even when they have no idea when they are being watched, or who is watching them. Lyon took this idea and related it to the United States post 9/11 attacks. We all knew security was going to increase, however we didn’t know who was going to be watching us and when. In response to this, we all behaved in order to avoid the consequences that could follow if we were accused as being a potential threat to the security of our country.

            Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this article and I though that Lyon made several great points about the usages of surveillance in society today. It made me realize that surveillance is everywhere, we just choose to pay attention to some modes of surveillance more than others.

1 comment:

  1. I liked/agreed with your comment about surveillance. I believe that safety should come before privacy. If you have nothing to hide, then why do you care? Good summary.