The social effects of the modern forms of surveillance

The social effects of the modern forms of surveillance

Surveillance involves monitoring the behavior, activities, and information with the aim of managing, influencing, or protecting people (Acquisti, Brandimarte & Loewenstein, 2015).  The social effects of the modern forms of surveillance have positive and negative effects depending on the perspectives of individuals. First, surveillance has Surveillance has shaped how people behave in public and private spaces. Monitoring involves seeing what everyone does at any given time and knowledge of this prevents people from engaging in illegal activities because they fear the consequences.  For example, the introduction of CCTV and BVR technologies has made the people cautious on what they do because their actions are closely monitored and in case they cause any trouble; they can easily be identified and found. On the same note, the introduction of surveillance has reduced the crime rates in the country. As recognized, crime can be recorded by the various surveillance techniques, and it is inevitable that the criminals resort to doing so with the knowledge that they can be arrested.

For example, surveillance technologies such as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) are used to detect various matters of interest. For example, the CCTV is combined with character recognition technologies in Australia to enable the automatic recognition of people or number plates of cars. The automatic number plate recognition systems allow the extraction of vehicles that might be used for criminal activities to link them to the possible owners (Norris & Moran, 2016). On the same note, the CCTV can be used to identify the faces of wanted criminals or people who are also registered in the BVR system, and this makes finding criminals or other related information from individuals easier. Biometric surveillance is a form of technology that measures and analyzes the physical and behavioral characteristics of people for authentication, screening and identification purposes.  In Australia, Biometric surveillance is used to record the DNA and fingerprints of the people thus making their personal information readily available and accessible when needed.

Data collection and aggregation is another social consequence of surveillance. For instance, the data gathered from the monitoring is used to create individual profiles which have resulted in the predictive analysis (Mittelstadt & Floridi, 2016). The security and law enforcement agencies in Australia uses the data collected to make faulty presumptions and predictions resulting in biased treatment of the people.  Quite a number of the individuals arrested for breaking the law are in most cases innocent, but because of such assumptions, they end up wasting their time on the corridors of justice.  Additionally, surveillance has created a lot of paranoia among the Australian people. The fear of everyone’s move being watched has made most of the people feel that their privacy and right to privacy is being violated.



Mittelstadt, B. D., & Floridi, L. (2016). The ethics of big data: current and foreseeable issues in biomedical contexts. Science and engineering ethics, 22(2), 303-341.

Acquisti, A., Brandimarte, L., & Loewenstein, G. (2015). Privacy and human behavior in the age of information. Science, 347(6221), 509-514.

Norris, C., & Moran, J. (2016). Surveillance, closed circuit television and social control. Routledge.

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