Understanding Surveillance Culture Today

As of the year 2019, nearly 79% of the United States population has some sort of social media profile out there on the internet. Worldwide, there are approximately 2.77 billion social media users and that is on track to reach 3.02 billion by the year 2021. In a world where sharing things about our lives becomes a part of our daily routine, it is important to understand how the surveillance culture of today is rapidly changing from what we once thought it could be.

There is a great book by David Lyon called "The Culture of Surveillance: Watching as a Way of Life." In it, he delves into how our ideas with regard to surveillance have changed drastically over the years. He starts out by talking about George Orwell's book "1984." When the book was written, it is what people thought of when they were afraid of being watched. A tyrannical society that watches ones every move and tries to dictate how each person acts is something to be feared without a doubt. But, the truth is that surveillance today does not quite work how George Orwell predicted it would. In some ways, today's methods of surveillance are more sinister and subdued than knowing that Big Brother is watching you sleep.

Of course, there have been multiple controversies surrounding platforms like Facebook and Google as of late. Whether it be the fact that social media constantly tracks your information or the fact that it could potentially lose it to a savvy hacker, these companies are constantly doing things right under our noses that put us at risk. Unbeknownst to many consumers, for example, is the fact that any mail in your Gmail is subject to being read by a computer at Google. Part of this has to do with the development of apps and source code, but the other more disturbing part of this surveillance has to do with marketing. In order to improve ad targeting, companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon collect treasure troves of our information in order to better market products to us as consumers. Many people don't realize, but when they agree to those ridiculously long privacy policies without reading them, they're actually signing away some level of their privacy. The important thing to note in today's society is that if the product is free, then you are the product.

All of this is critical to understanding how we interact with this culture. What scholars in surveillance, like David Lyon, meant to point out is that these small seemingly insignificant sacrifices of our privacy our quickly becoming an acceptable party of our lives. The larger that social media and free platforms become, the more these companies want to insert themselves into our lives. It is even getting to the point where if you don't partake in this new surveillance culture, then you could begin to suffer from a social and/or monetary standpoint. An excellent example of this is how important LinkedIn has become to securing a job. Many people believe that it is a necessity to have a profile in order to land a job. How can you avoid giving up more of your privacy if you are being forced to give it up just to make a living?

Each of these points is important to bring up because it shows how worried we should be about the fluid and constantly changing nature of surveillance today. It is becoming harder to avoid giving up information in exchange for services as those services become more important to our society. It is hard to put together a comprehensive policy prescription with regard to this, but perhaps the most important thing right now is that we must all be aware of how much we are being watched everyday.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.


From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments