“Someone’s looking at you: welcome to the surveillance economy” – The Conversation

The spying mentality is everywhere. There are dozens of surveillance cameras in Columbia; though citizens don’t know who’s watching the digital images captured … or whether they even work.

Lancaster is one of the most heavily “camera-ed” cities of its size in the nation; though crime seems to happen a lot there.

The US government, we now know, has turned its spy apparatus including capturing Internet and phone communications. And the drone program is fully endorsed.

All of this makes for the question: Did Orwell know the extent of the line, “Big Brother is Watching You,” when he wrote it in 1949?

This article from The Conversation is so scary.

big dataBig data has ushered in the surveillance economy: is it the price of doing business in the digital economy? Image sourced from http://www.shutterstock.com

“Everything that fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden has revealed about America’s global espionage network PRISM should make you alert and alarmed. His exposé shows that we are clearly living in a well-established surveillance society. But it also reveals more than that: surveillance is at the heart of the global digital economy too.

“One document revealed that in 2001 the Australian telco, Telstra, signed an agreement to allow US spy agencies access to data about its American customers. However, according to the agreement, Telstra is not permitted to let other governments access the same data.

“In response, Telstra issued a brief statement only saying that the agreement reflected its contractual obligations at the time and the revelation has received only limited media coverage.

“The surveillance society

“Everything you do is subject to surveillance. As Robert O’Harrow Jr explains it, there is “no place to hide”. We are under constant watch, both physically and electronically. Surveillance is the new normal. It’s everywhere and this ubiquity makes us take it for granted.

“Under the circumstances, the old adage: “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear” from the surveillance state no longer holds true.

“This argument is predicated on the belief that beyond the limited function of protecting the public interest (say, through the police), the state is not interested in what you do, whom you talk to, where you go, what you buy, or what you believe in.

“We no longer live in that world. The number of government agencies taking an interest in information about us has grown like topsy. The national security state has extended the policing functions of government to all areas of life.

“Government welfare agencies have been caught spying on recipients; single mothers and pensioners. In the UK, education authorities followed a family in an effort to catch them fraudulently enrolling children “out of area”. In Australia, a local council accessed personal data about residents’ phone use to track down unregistered pets.

Click here to continue reading this article at The Conversation.

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