Thursday, March 20, 2008


The talk of surveillance is essentially the concept of the public and private window, and that ultimately leads us back to the control and freedom argument. I know we have gone over this all in our readings and through lectures, but I want to reason it out myself.

The difference of a webcam to our normal concepts of windows is that they are one-sided. Example: before we talked about how giving information online granted the user more access but additionally put them out in the open. This is not the same with webcams. When someone puts themselves on a webcam, they are offering total exposure in exchange for nothing of material value. But since webcams are like windows, and based on the previous concepts we have discussed, I believe that control/freedom goes two ways. Not only do people gain freedom with the consequence being a loss of privacy, people inadvertently gain freedom when they knowingly give up privacy. I know this sounds redundant, but maybe I can illustrate it as publicy leads to freedom and freedom leads to publicity depending on what one is consciously affecting. Therefore, though a webcam does not offer material gain, SOMETHING must be gained. To my knowledge, the only thing it could be is something psychological. Maybe the idea of self-promotion or fame makes people do it. Or maybe it's the idea of freedom itself.

Ultimately, I have realized that though surveillance often makes people think directly of control, surveillance is more about offering freedom. For every camera that exists, there is freedom gained by the people. The only thing controlling the person's habits is knowing that they are being watched. Politically, I do not think something such as anarchy can function. If a government must exist, I think that it should be considered that the only way for a government to have control and still offer the governed the most amount of freedom is to have more surveillance.

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