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Surveillance, Power and Everyday Life

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Abstract

Surveillance grows constantly, especially in the countries of the global north. Although as a set of practices it is as old as history itself, systematic surveil-lance became a routine and inescapable part of everyday life in modern times and is now, more often than not, dependent on information and communication technologies (ICTs). Indeed, it now makes some sense to talk of “surveillance societies,” so pervasive is organizational monitoring of many kinds. Fast developing technologies combined with new governmental and commercial strategies have led to the proliferation of new modes of surveillance, making surveillance expansion hard to follow, let alone analyze or regulate. In the past three decades traffic in personal data has expanded explosively, touching numerous points of everyday life and leading some to proclaim the “end of privacy.” But although questions of privacy are interesting and important, others that relate to the ways in which data are used for “social sorting,” discriminating between groups that are classified differently, also need urgently to be examined. Who has the power to make such discriminatory judgments, and how this becomes embedded in automated systems, is a matter of public interest. Such questions are likely to be with us for some time, because of what might be called the “rise of the safety state,” which requires more and more surveillance, and also because the politics of personal information is becoming increasingly prominent.

Keywords

  • Everyday Life
  • Personal Data
  • Surveillance Technology
  • Loyalty Card
  • Global North

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© 2010 David Lyon

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Lyon, D. (2010). Surveillance, Power and Everyday Life. In: Kalantzis-Cope, P., Gherab-Martín, K. (eds) Emerging Digital Spaces in Contemporary Society. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230299047_18

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