Ana sayfa GÜNDEM What’s up, liquid surveillance?

What’s up, liquid surveillance?

In today’s world, data has become the most important resource. In the age of flow, I mean in the globalization era, the flow of data contributed much more to the world GDP rather than material goods. It means that the data is the lifeblood of global capitalism. Therefore, it is easier to understand why surveillance is so widespread.

Ece Yaren Tabbikha

As Tarnoff touched upon, since, the emphasis on personal data has the fact that data is not just personal but also that they use algorithms that have a significant impact on society as a whole [1]. Moreover, profit-seeking activities now depend on them. In this context, some points need to be addressed.

Well, what is surveillance?

The concept of surveillance can simply be defined as watching, recording, and storing a person, or a thing. It has been seen in distinct ways from past to present for the purpose of discipline, continues with information technologies and digital development [2]. The panopticon, which is the architectural basis of surveillance, plays a role in the development of this systematic view. As Bauman points out, we feed digital observation with things that we do [3]. To such a system where surveillance is liquid, we are actually adding a new brick with the mobile phones we use, the purchases we make, and the searches we make on the internet.

Plan of Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon prison, drawn by Willey Reveley in 1791

Your Personal Panopticon

Based on Bauman and Lyon’s statement that “the inhabitants of the new fluid modern world” carry their personal panopticon in their bodies, I further argue: We can consider ourselves as the partners of digital surveillance, since we are the creator of the data. In this context, the expression “global citizen” included in the optimistic definitions of the age of globalization is gone. Instead, we become citizens of the applications. It is undeniable that the surveillance that has spread into daily life knows the traces of every step we take.

Another aspect of the discussion is surveillance capitalism. In an interview about her new book, “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism”, Zuboff defines it as private human experience as raw material for turning into behavioral data. Then she adds, Google was the first to learn how to collect behavioral data and utilize it to figure out prediction products that they could sell to the advertisers [4].

The main purpose of the social media platforms is not to provide public benefit, but to maximize profit.

Assoc. Prof. Çiğdem Bozdağ

The Price

This sentence from the CEO of Allstate Insurance sums up the situation, “You use Google and you think it’s free, but it’s not free because you’re giving them information.” Consumption as a powerful element of social control has existed in different forms since the moment of humanity’s existence. Therefore, it may be a proper explanation of how digital surveillance utilizes data and exploits them as a base from consuming habits.  Digital cookies, which are among data surveillance technologies, collect data by recording which sites the individual visits on the Internet and thus offer advertisements to the target audience. The emergence of online social networks means that people no longer have the expectation of privacy, adding that privacy is no longer a “social norm,” according to a 2010 statement by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. This statement also seems to shed light on the realities of today. According to Assoc. Prof. Çiğdem Bozdağ, the main purpose of the social media platforms is not to provide public benefit, but to maximize profit. Getting as much information from users as possible is the main goal, she adds [5]. WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, which was recently the subject of controversy, was not clear and was misinterpreted for some time to mean that WhatsApp would share more sensitive personal data with its parent company, Facebook. As a result of these discussions, many users stopped using the app or used this possibility as a threat. After the reactions escalated, the company announced that the new policy will not affect the content of chats protected by end-to-end encryption.

The most recent example of saying that digital surveillance, initiated by Google, is trying to infiltrate every gap by increasing its fluidity over the years can be given the flow from WhatsApp to other applications, in other words, migration. I am sure that such a widespread eye chain will continue to be the subject of other ideas. However, we all click “I Agree” without reading the terms and conditions, but first we can at least stop and ask, what’s up surveillance?

1. Tarnoff, B. (2018). Data is the new lifeblood of capitalism – don’t hand corporate America control:

2. Mazici, E. T. (2018). Tüketim Toplumunda Gözetim Uygulamalari Ve Tüketici Bakiş Açisindan Bir Değerlendirme. Gümüşhane Üniversitesi İletişim Fakültesi Elektronik Dergisi, 6(1), 149-171.

3. Bauman, Z., & Lyon, D. (2013). Liquid surveillance: A conversation. John Wiley & Sons.

4. Laidler, J. (2019). High tech is watching you:

5. Teyit. (2019). Algoritmalar: dost mu düşman mı? [teyitpedia, #3]:

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