Is Surveillance Becoming Normalized?

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Due to the continuous expansion of the digital world in our society, people today are able to use numerous possibilities of surveillance. Everyday, we increasingly grow dependent on the Internet and on our smartphones for all aspects of our lives, and that’s how certain organizations manage to abuse of our privacy as individuals, by using multiple methods. These include internet service providers, email services, social media, manufacturers of devices and even companies that use surveillance systems in their offices.

So the obvious question is: Is surveillance becoming something normal in today’s society? How does that affect the workers of a company and the business in general?

The impact on our lives

The best example of organizations invading our privacy are those who collect personal information from people, by using different methods, and then selling them to corporations and political groups. The collected information is often used for marketing and campaigning, and it includes standard data such as: name, address, telephone number, or even more private data, such as: what you read, what you eat or even your history of mental illness.

These organizations were active way before social media even existed, but inventions such as Facebook have only increased the amount of available personal data that the organizations can collect from people. And once social media became one of the most normal aspects of our lives, so did the fact that we’re always offering these applications and platforms all of our personal information without even thinking about it twice.

Technology makes it all normal

Surveillance is definitely more than just video cameras. There are numerous methods used, some of them being: drones, drug testing, automated licence plates readers or smartphones.

But one particularly interesting category is biometrics, which refers to certain technologies that identify individuals based on some biological characteristics. The most common method is taking fingerprints, but other methods might be able to identify a person based on: DNA, facial structure, eye retina, iris patterns, voice or hand geometry.

Why does surveillance become more and more normal in our everyday lives? Well, because technology literally became part of ourselves. There’s almost nothing we do without it anymore, and it’s almost inevitable for the concept of surveillance not to become something normal, given the fact that the thing that sustains it (technology), does. In other words, as technology evolves and becomes more and more normal in our lives, so do all the systems and concepts that involve it.

The impact on our workplace

The entire purpose of monitoring your employees while they’re working, is to get a better picture of how they spend their time at the office. Companies choosing the right microcontroller based surveillance systems have a better chance of getting the most productivity out of this concept.

But most times, employees view one such system as an invasion of privacy and that’s how negative aspects of installing monitoring tools appear. On one side, one of the main reasons why a surveillance system is usually installed in an office is to stop employees from wasting time. But on the other side, it could also be a waste of time for managers, supervisors or whoever is in charge of reviewing the information stocked on software programs.

Weather certain employees of certain companies perceive the concept of surveillance as a good or a bad thing, it has become a normal thing for people today to have almost no privacy at work.

The impact on employees

As an employee, it’s probably something normal for you to be careful around surveillance cameras in the office. Sometimes you might not even be aware that the cameras are there, but you’ll still act a certain way or have some reservations. Some employees might be afraid to do certain things that could end up as mistakes or to try new things, given the fact that all the video data will be viewed by someone and they might be punished in one way or another.

The biggest issue when it comes to surveillance systems installed in an office is that a lot of employees might think that the manager doesn’t trust them to do their job properly. That’s usually one of the main reasons why there can be a big gap between a manager and his team.

It was not so long ago when surveillance it was almost exclusively existent in the world of espionage and used mostly against criminals. But due to technology changing almost every aspect of the way we live our lives, surveillance has become something normal.

Most of the times you are aware of it: when you look at the cameras in your office, when you have your fingerprints taken or when you perform any other usual activity. But sometimes, people don’t even know what’s hidden behind the terms of policy of a service on the Internet. It has become something normal for us to share our personal information everywhere on the web and we don’t always know where that information ends up.

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