The Growing Threat of Corporate Surveillance

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In 1948, George Orwell wrote about a society in which individual privacy was nonexistent. In this society, which he imagined would become a reality in the 1980s, surveillance was foremost. Everything one did was under surveillance by “Big Brother”, an unseen figure who was always watching you. Surveillance in this society was imposed and malicious. Although this type of society has never fully become a reality in the Western world, changes in technology and media are indirectly bringing this imagined society, one of complete surveillance, to life. With the rise in corporate business and commercialism, surveillance in society increasing; however, new media has brought about a significant shift in its use. In the 20th century, surveillance was primarily used for “protective measures”, as Orwell had imagined. In the 21st century, there has been a rise in its use for commercialism. This essay will critically analyze the developments in new media that have contributed to this shift, as well as explain the reason for the ubiquitous nature of surveillance in today’s western society. To aid with this analysis, surveillance will hereby be defined as a “focused, systematic, and routine attention to personal details for purposes of influence, management, protection or direction” (Lyon 2007:14). Surveillance has been embedded in our society since the beginning of modern civilization; new media has just enabled society to use surveillance for a different purpose. Surveillance is not new to our society. The concept of God, a supernatural being carefully monitoring our every action, shows the incorporation of the idea of surveillance into early society. Surveillance was essential for the production and distribution of goods - to ensure that wo... ... middle of paper ... ...pathetic to voice any protest; it is for such reasons that implicit surveillance by corporate entities remains and will remain (at least in the near future) a ubiquitous and unfettered part of society. REFERENCES: Daw, D. (2011). Facebook's Like Button Banned by German State from http://www.pcworld.com/article/238526/facebooks_like_button_banned_by_german_state.html Flew, T., & Smith, R. (Canadian). (2011). New: Media An Introduction. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press p. Lyon, D. (1998). The Information Society: Issues and Illusions. Cambridge: Polity Press Protalinski, E. (2013). Facebook passes 1.19 billion monthly active users, 874 million mobile users, and 728 million daily users Retrieved from: http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2013/10/30/facebook-passes-1-19-billion-monthly-active-users-874-million-mobile-users-728-million-daily-users/#!pZTpF

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