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THISAM Talks | Living in a surveillance country

Sherri Hope Culver, Associate Professor at Temple University talked about "Living in a surveillance country". 

Key points by Ioanna Georgia Eskiadi 

We live in a surveillance country and society. Our daily life is full of surveillance like the personal voice assistants, smart phones with cameras, photos posted to social media, car dash camera, bus interior cameras, helmet cameras, doorbells with camera lenses, laptop cameras and zoom recordings. All of them are considered as integrated surveillance. In societies of high surveillance privacy and free will are ignored. Free will refers to the capacity for an individual to choose different courses of action unimpeded. The world we live in with the use of internet makes easier to search you. Social media companies want to connect with you. The privacy policies are policies that allow you to be surveilled. In a culture that has biased for sharing, you are invited to share data for yourself all the time. So that happens many times a day.

We have to be online, to share our data. In a surveillance society, we are every day watched, recorded and those recording are analyzed, evaluated and the data used to inform other aspects of the society. Surveillance capitalism is when the data is use to make a profit. It is an economic system centered around the commodification of data with the core purpose of profit making. It refers to data gathering in the action. The data is shared with advertisers so advertising can be shaped to influence a users’ behavior. Surveillance capitalism is in contrast with democracy since the first one moves fast while the second one is slow and that’s a good thing. The pace of democracy reflects the tens of millions of conversations that occur in families, among neighbors, drinks, within communities, cities and states, gradually stirring the sleeping giant of democracy to action.

An example are the emojis, that help Facebook predict your behavior and target advertising to you. This information allows social media to influence your behavior, not just understand it. Surveillance is a mean of control and suppression. CCTV surveillance is part of living in a high surveillance society/city/country. Epistemic inequality signals a power shift from the ownership of the means of production to the ownership of the production of meaning. You are being followed on social media from a smart group of technology people. In investigative journalism it’s valuable these open data. Privacy should not be a luxury good. Dark patterns trick you to behaving in certain ways online, and that does affect your privacy. 

The 5th Thessaloniki International Summer Academy on Media is organized by School of Journalism and Mass Communications of Aristotle University Thessaloniki (AUTh), Jean Monet of European Union Public Diplomacy along with other partners  under the title: “New trends in Media and Journalism: Turning crisis into opportunity”.

 Special emphasis is given on the topics:
1. Disinformation, Science Journalism / News Literacy
2. Crisis Communication
3. New business models in Media Organisations