In the past two decades, there have been a huge technological transformation in the digital media. Surveillance industry have benefited from this transformation a lot. If we rewind our lives and think about the time when we were in school. Things were different. If I think of my time in my preschool there were no surveillance cameras installed in my school. As the years passed by there was transformation in security and surveillance system. The cameras and microphones were installed in my school. The scenario was same in my surroundings with camera getting installed on the street, on the traffic lights, offices and so on. The digitization bought boom in the surveillance industry and practices.
Present day situation is that we are under surveillance one way or the other most of the time of the day. I study in Deakin university Melbourne Campus. I noticed the number of cameras installed in the campus while walking through it. There are so many cameras even in places I didn’t even expect!
Mobile phones have become ubiquitous and basic communications tools—now used not only for phone calls, but also for accessing the Internet, sending text messages, and documenting the world(Surveillance Self-Defense)
Application culture is also based on surveillance. Apps like Uber, Google Maps, Tinder, Bank apps, they all use surveillance as their basic feature to function on everyday basis. I lost my new phone recently and I was really worried about it. I started researching it online as to how can track my phone. I tried finding it through ‘find my phone’ but the phone was off, so no luck!
I keep researching about it and finally found a way I can track it. “Google Maps” was the answer to all my prayers. There is a feature called ‘Timeline’ in this app which allows us to track our every 24-hour movement. In this case our digital device be it phone and laptop acts as a GPS tracking devices. It reads and store all our movement throughout the day. I was never aware of this feature. Such features can be benefitted in times like this.
I also ran a poll on twitter asking people about surveillance with apps beneficial to us or not.
63% of them voted for it be useful, another 24% agreed on a maybe and rest 13% said that it wasn’t useful. Surveillance and app culture are going well together. A majority of apps are using surveillance as their prime function to work.
Another very famous application based on surveillance is Pokémon Go. People are going mad playing it. The game functions on surveillance. It shows real life location and the layout of the game is based on it. When we play it we are connected to the pokemon server which detect our location via our digital device and create a layout of the game for us to play. This game is being a huge success.
With such great accessibility comes some drawbacks, some of the people misuse this surveillance practices like people making fake profiles of you. There was a tweet made by famous rapper B.o.B in recent past about ‘snapchat’ using filters to build a face recognition database. This issue was in news for a while. When asked by snapchat they denied the fact.
But the question arises in our mind sometimes “Is someone watching us right now?”.
Surveillance is a boon to the society but also a curse sometimes!
- About – Google Maps, Google.com.au. (2016), Accessed 5 Aug. 2016 , http://www.google.com.au/maps/about/
- The Daily Dot. (2016). Rapper B.o.B. has chilling theory about Snapchat—but can we trust him?. Accessed 5 Aug. 2016 , http://www.dailydot.com/unclick/bob-snapchat-facial-recognition/
- The Problem with Mobile Phone| Surveillance Self-Defense, Updated 10-2-2015, Accessed 5 August 2016 , https://ssd.eff.org/en/module/problem-mobile-phones