Surveillance, Big Data Analytics and the Death of Privacy
College Quarterly Volume 17, Number 3, ISSN 1195-4353
In this article, Howard Doughty examines how today's technological devices alter and increasingly substitute for one's body/mind, sociality and (a)morality. He claims that today, under the crushing weightlessness of virtuality, citizens are less confident, more willing to retreat into the idiocy of private life. He goes on to address the promotion of paranoia that accompanies electronic communications and privacy breaches. He points out that not only are electronic communications monitored with the intent both of selling commercial products and also detecting dissenters from whatever dominant social, economic or political agenda is operative at any particular time and in any particular place; but, according to those who know it best (Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and the rest of the usual suspects), the extent of this surveillance has made the entire concept of privacy obsolete, something future generations will never experience and will not be able to imagine (Greenwald, 2014). Doughty goes on to introduce four hierarchical levels of electronic information media and surveillance issues that, while categorically distinct, are interconnected: (1) the "micro" level (includes educators' work in relation to students, classrooms, chat rooms, curriculum design, teaching "strategies" and "delivery systems," and the like); (2) the "meso" level (involves educators' institutional settings, focuses on educators' relationship to their immediate administrative arrangements and college management structures and involves their frontline supervisors, CEOs, and Human Resources department); (3) the "macro" level (deals with educators' institution's organizational superiors, commonly in the form of some governmental ministry, local Board of Governors, Trustees, Regents, etc. and whatever accrediting agency is authorized to take responsibility for the bulk of their funding and academic legitimacy); and (4) the "meta" level (connects educators to broader cultural, social and economic patterns in compliance with which they describe, explain and justify their overall enterprise and which subtly or stridently imposes its norms and practices upon them). His discussion focuses on the "micro" and "meso" levels and delves into the following four issues: (1) employee rights and academic freedom; (2) student vigilantes; (3) social media interaction with students; and (4) student tracking devices.
Doughty, H.A. (2014). Surveillance, Big Data Analytics and the Death of Privacy. College Quarterly, 17(3),.