Information Communications Technology Forms of surveillance facilitated by the Internet and television and issues of control over personal information and privacy

Surveillance refers to the monitoring of the activities, behavior, or other forms of changing information, in most cases of people and is often aimed at causing an influence, protecting, managing, or directing them (Webb & Cox, 2004). Within the context of ICT, surveillance means monitoring the generation of information through ICTs. These interactive media have facilitated a range of surveillance forms. One of these is content surveillance. Information Communications Technology content surveillance entails the discreet monitoring of the information passed on internet and television. Content surveillance is mostly imposed by the government through legislations and legal mechanisms. As such, on the internet, it is a commonplace for governments across the world to monitor what internet users communicate. Take the case of social media. Social media are websites where people interact by posting images, comments, and chatting. Therefore, social media provides a good platform for people with malicious motives. Given such an idea, most governments often monitor what is communicated in order to prevent such situations. The NSA provides a good account of a content surveillance program.

With regard to news, governments also monitor what broadcasters tend to report. Such surveillance is said to bring rise to the issue related to privacy and confidentiality. In the US, the right to privacy is one of the most upheld civil rights. However, through content surveillance, it follows that this right is being abused. Krumm, Davies and Narayanaswami (2008) documented that primarily, privacy and confidentiality are essential parts for the development of an individual. In absence of privacy, one’s ideas regarding the self, authority, as well as, trust is negatively affected. Respective the essence of the right has been equated to demonstration of trust, and tends to allow an individual the space to develop the sense of self, and this includes trusting relationships and learning on autonomy. Content surveillance necessarily means that a person has no control of personal information, which ought not to be the case (Webb & Cox, 2004).

Another form of surveillance is speech surveillance. This is a form of surveillance, which involves tracking and monitoring of speech made over interactive media. For instance, with television, what the reporters and the reported say is often closely monitored. Similarly, what internet users indices, whether in writing or orally, is subject to surveillance. Information Communications Technology  speech surveillance is in most cases used to discover cases of hate speech or defamation among others. Speech surveillance has been thought as a violation of the right or freedom of speech (Webb & Cox, 2004). It is constitutionally acknowledged that every individual within the American society has the right to express him or herself in the manner he or she wants, however with a few exemptions. In the light of this, monitoring everything that people say infiltrates the freedom to speech. It makes people insecure such that they cannot express their ideas or opinions regarding a given subject matter.

From this analysis, it is evident that different contemporary ICTs generate different forms of information. As identified in the present paper, on one hand, internet generates user generated content while on the other hand, television produces news. The nature of such information often facilitates a set of surveillance and these include content and speech surveillance. However, as a result of these surveillance, issues such as abuse of right to privacy and freedom to speech.


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