Friday, October 24, 2014

Surveillance, power, and everyday life-Week 8 Blog Post

David Lyon was a Sociology and Law professor in Kingston, Ontario. He is known for his Surveillance studies and is director of the Surveillance Study Center at Queens University. Along with his studies in Surveillance, he also teaches and researches the topics of information society, globalization, and postmodernity. Lyons has been working on surveillance issues since 1980s and since then has come a long way. He has published many books including Identifying Citizens: ID Cards as Surveillance, Liquid Surveillance, Surveillance after 2011, and The International Handbook of Surveillance Studies. He seems very reliable and knows exactly what he is talking about. He has received many awards over the years for example Lifetime Achievement Award, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Outstanding Contribution Award, and election to the Academy of the Social Science in UK. The article we read this week, Surveillance, power, and everyday life by David Lyon is from the Oxford Handbook of Information and Communication Technologies. It was published in 2007. This article is meant for anyone who owns technology and is concerned with the surveillance and privacy. It is generally for a more adult audience.
This article is about how Surveillance has become a key component in today’s information communication technologies. David Lyons states that surveillance is any focused attention to personal details for the purposes of influence, management, or control. It is growing constantly around the World especially the Northern parts. With fast developing technologies in the governmental and commercial industries, new modes of surveillance are rapidly being made. The ICTs are created to increase power, reach and capacity of surveillance systems. Surveillance even dates back to the days of reengineering. Simon Head mentioned in his article, Rise of the Reengineers, how industries used surveillance to watch over their employees’ actions and behaviors. Lyons mentions how Surveillance means to actually “watch over”, but in this case that really isn’t the main issue. It is meant in a different way in where surveillance includes data, images, and information. An example in the article is when we go through multiple checks in an airport, where people are identified and analyzed. Lyon coined the term “social sorting” which means that companies and the government can classify people by their purchasing patterns and shopping patterns. It is meant to help companies better their market and target a specific audience. Social sorting according to Lyon comes with several pros and cons. When people are put into a certain group it can benefit them, but also hurt their chances of being included from a different marketplace. The article also quickly covers the term dataveillance which is a surge in surveillance could be traced to the convergence of technologies such as computers and other telecommunications. They enable the ability to search back and find electronic footprint. To finish off the article, Lyon questions if surveillance is the end of privacy. Surveillance systems are able to track your every footstep, which worries many people.  

To conclude, surveillance is evolving and growing rapidly with the introduction of new technology. There are many different views on this topic, while some people believe privacy is being taken away and others feel safer and more at ease. Lyon argues that surveillance has become a crucial part of our society and there is an increased need for ethics and politics of information on surveillance.

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