Omnipresence: Total Surveillance…a Result of the Changing Times and Ignorant Minds

Main Article Content

Danielle Fishman


As a result of the changing times, the constant overuse of recently discovered information communication technologies (ICT’s) has become a detrimental trend in contemporary society. There are a number of issues that arise from the regular use of these technologies which ultimately lead to the misuse of certain capabilities of these technologies. Web 2.0 (DiNucci, 1999), became the subject of discussion in the early 2000s. Web 2.0 identifies the newly popularized social networking sites on the World Wide Web which allow an interaction between the host and the user where the user has the ability to respond, comment or offer feedback to the host. It has been used to describe the idea of information sharing, feedback and ultimately, ubiquitous connectivity. As a result of the current Web 2.0 we engage in, there is a trend toward the constant use of social networking sites ultimately leading to participatory surveillance (Albrechtslund, 2008). Furthermore, the constant posting and updating required to manage your profile on social networking sites leads to new surveillance (Marx 2002) and sequentially, what has been termed lateral surveillance (Andrejevic, 2005). In addition, the development of location based technologies, for purposes of monitoring, have been integrated into popular social networking websites. The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide Web. A Web 2.0 site allows users to interact and collaborate with one another in a social media dialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community. This differs from the previous Web 1.0 websites where users (consumers) were limited to the passive viewing of content that was created for them. In turn, these activities are extensively popular and through the network effects of that popularity, economically significant (O’Reilly, 2005; Tweney, 2007; Madden and Fox, 2006). Finally, in accordance with the prosumer society, monetary gains are the primary focus of companies and furthermore, there has been a trend toward selling private information by internet website hosts in order to profit. The harnessing of collective intelligence within Web 2.0 demands platforms where this intelligence can be expressed and collected.  Furthermore, in an age of growing technology, new legislations must be created in conjunction with the growing use of personal information. In a time of extreme internet use, our privacy is limited. With a growing trend toward the integration of Web 2.0 in daily life, it is clear that the relationship between privacy and surveillance is dramatically changing. We, as users, are naive in understanding the concepts of privacy and surveillance in the Web 2.0 society. Social networking systems and information sharing has blurred our ideas of privacy and limited our understanding of the use of surveillance. In a growing age of a prosumer society and the culture of social networking, users are inadvertently exposed to living an entirely public life.

Article Details

Session I: Prisons
Author Biography

Danielle Fishman, Health/Sociology

Moderator: Dr. Pam Dickey Young, Religious Studies