Just as having a stranger stare at you for an extended period of time can be uncomfortable and hostile, it is no different from being under constant surveillance, except that surveillance is often done secretely and at the order of some authority.
In our modern Society, where so many of our actions are observable, recorded, searchable, and traceable, close surveillance is much more intrusive than it has been in the past.
Digital technologies domiate your everyday life.
Nothing exemplifies this more than the smartphone. These small hand held devices help us communicate with one another, schedule your activities, and procure knowledge from the Internet.
While smartphones bring new levels of convenience to your life, they are also excellent surveillance devices. Smartphones produce extensive personal data,
Who you communicate with and how frequently (email, text, social media apps), the places you visit and how frequently you visit them (GPS, map apps), your well-being and medical history (health, psychology, and fitness apps), your Internet browsing patterns (web apps), your friend lists and social networks, and much more.
Despite the pivotal role played by digital technologies in your everyday life, little is known about how they document your experiences and how the resulting data is collected, by whom it is collected, and how it is ultimately used.
This data is constantly being harvested, potentially enabling others to peer into your personal life and decide what kinds of products and services to recommend to you, whether or not to employ you, or if you pose a threat to national security.
Mass surveillance goes against the basic, fundamental right to privacy.
The negative effects of surveillance on the fundamental freedoms of expression and association may be less evident in an era of digital connection, but are no less important.
The way that we interact on the internet is undoubtedly changing as a result of our knowledge of mass surveillance. Fortunately, fear and withdrawal are not the only reaction to this knowledge; our habits are changing as well.
As Awareness of mass surveillance increases, new tactics for opposing it arise. Given the complex nature of digital spying and the interlinked set of rights it affects, this is imperative.
Ending mass surveillance requires consideration not only of its effect on privacy, but its impact on expression and association as well.