Tag Archives: surveillance

Digital Technology & The ‘Age of Surveillance’

Many of the news articles in the past week have left me dazed and confused. When Edward Snowden’s name was released as being the triggerman for leaking the NSA court order to collect massive databases of US Verizon Business communications ‘metadata’, the media went into a frenzy. Almost instantaneously, investigators were probing the personal and professional memoir of Snowden – using surveillance of his public/private communications, of course. The irony of this almost makes me laugh, but reifies the ease of access into personal intellectual property.. [especially with digital surveillance technology]

I am grateful to be in a field of study [Anthropology] where I was able to recognize this threat before it became public knowledge – but that’s exactly what scares me. The United States’ Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency have been making similar court orders for the past seven years, right under our noses.

I fear our future will become not too far from the science-fiction worlds of ‘The Minority Report’, ‘Blade Runner’, and George Orwell’s ‘1984’. As you read this, these secret surveillance court orders continue to be implemented and Verizon endlessly fills their databases. Our time to question not only the effectiveness, but also the constitutionality, of the Obama administration’s actions is now.

Prior to starting the fieldschool this summer, I was aware of the ease of ‘hacking’ – or at least that’s what my computer-savvy friends told me. Now, as I begin to become more knowledgable on the back-end of the Internet, my fear of abuse [by the government] of this sophisticated technology has only risen. The world we live in is a world of technology and technological advancement; there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, nor a reduced speed in progress.

Literacy of technology does not only give you a step ahead of cohorts, but it also allows you to fully understand the capabilities of our government’s surveillance technologies. This, to me, is a crucial awakening.

I would also like to share the breaking news article The Guardian published last Wednesday [click on link]