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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Surveillance assemblage in its simplest form is a system that monitor and takes information about the general public. There is a multitude of ways that the public is being watched, from CCTV, transaction records, phones and even when playing online games. The ways to track and gain information about anyone is endless. The privacy that you would think you may have is gone and stored into a series of data points and numbers. The reason this system exists is to help the government to control as well as use that data to aid in catching criminals such as rapists, con artists or even terrorists. Surveillance assemblage has been around for several years, back in the eighteen century prisons were built in a way that allowed the guards to watch the inmates from the central towers, the inmate didn't know whether they were being observed or not but because they knew that these towers were situated in a position where all could be seen they had to behave as though they were always being observed which is how they achieved control. (REFERENCE)  Technology does not need to present in order to watch the behaviour's and habits of those around you. As time went on surveillance became more prominent and the assemblage was displayed as a way to protect rather than viewing it as a way to take and use out information against us. The information that is taken from any sort of technology is called double data and this data serve as resources for power and services.

Global surveillance

Technology is constantly evolving, new phones and camera and other types of technology is being created or updated to be better for you own personal use. Privacy has become a weapon that can now be used against us because the right to our own privacy has become almost pointless because almost everything is out there even if you do not want it to be. Global surveillance targets everyone around the world, it is done for global interested but also against it. While there might have been talks as to whether people should be monitored or not the 9/11 attacks would have put those all to a holt.  A borderless world might have been possible but because such attacks have happened, nations want to keep people, goods and information within their own nation. (REFERENCE, GLOBAL SURVEILLANCE AND POLICING).  The term Panopticon is that Jeremy Bentham created which is a building that was created in order to have control, such as the prison cells where the guards could observe them. Michael Foucault perceived this theory of panopticon as the new look into the society of surveillance. In his book called Discipline and Punish (REFERENCE) he discusses that modern society has three different techniques of control, hierarchical observation, normalizing judgement and examination. Which would mean that by observing people you can achieve a certain power. An example he provided was that in a within a stadium, a row of seats if not only great of the spectators to watch the game but also for the guards and CCTV cameras to quickly scan the audience and make quick action if needed.  The control for power is not to punish those and torture the people being watched but it is to create reform that would mean that the person would have to live by society's norms. The idea of normalization is universal as society needs to be a certain standard for medical practice, industrial products and process and educational programs.(REFERENCE).

The use of boarders within countries has become an important part of our society, we live in a time where passports and visa are so important to cross between countries and even states and now police has added biometrics as an extra measurement to keep their countries safe. In the recent years the national security entry and exit registration system has been changed in a way that every foreign visitor must be photographed and fingerprinted when entering America however this is selective as it is only foreign applicants being collected while others are not which suggest there is some sort of description for travellers that are considered not to be criminals. The improved technology is used throughout, we now have created ways that allow the government to check the personal identity and oversee the movement of the people which leaves minorities, oppositional and vulnerable people to be grouped together in a categorization which makes them a target that is always being monitored by someone.  The media created discourses and combines Islam, immigration and terrorism together which causes Muslim migrants to be considered a terrorist figure. This in turn causes the Muslim migrants that are within national borders to be feared because the media coves them as practicing violence with the borders which creates a security state program worldwide.  This has allowed countries like Britain to create laws that allow them to deport foreign terrorism suspects that intensifies surveillance and monitoring communication devices and online activities.  The surveillance assemblage that monitors the global boarder is unstable and will profile and group people into categorise which fit the social norms.(REFERENCE).

Massive Multiplayer Online Games!

The surveillance assemblage has been explored through many different methods however the fastest growing platform is vesting unexplored. The online gaming world grows at an exponential rate. Gaming services need to accommodate the larger number of players that are playing at any given time and companies use surveillance to both permit and limit the players from doing what they want. MMOG, Massive Multiplayer online games such as WOW (World of Warcraft), The Elder scrolls online and even Runscape are virtual games that have thousands of players simultaneously player. Some games are free while others would pay a monthly subscription or you pay for certain items within the game. MMOG will vary from one to another, most would get the player to log into a serve to join the game and even if they leave the game continues. These games and continuously updating and creating new expansions to keep the players entertained.  These games create a new term for surveillance, players must connect to the company computers also known as the servers to play. The server collects the data is created from the player's movements and game actions and uses it to study the player and tweak the game if needed. While this is not considered as a form of watching in a bad sense it is still watching to help improve their own game in a sense it is a neutral form of surveillance.  Companies however can use a software that is automated to detect and prevent forms of behaviour such as rude language or cheating, this software will act according and categorise and disciplining the player whether it be banning them for a certain period of taking away certain privileges for a certain time.

The EULA (End User License Agreements) and other policies within these games openly control the players. Also within this agreement players and forbidden to use real names when posting in game forums. In one game's anti cheating campaign that was launched the company also changed the privacy policy, which stated that they were now collecting the data about players for marketing purposes and this information can be passed onto third party to make statistics. The only way to refuse this was to not play the game, the new rules stated that they could collect the data of the hardware and software of the player's computer but they also said that it was used for anonymous statistical survey and error analysis (REFERENCE). The surveillant assemblage is to show how the companies can make rules in order to control their players and if the players want to continue playing the game they have to abide by the rules.

Social Media Assemblage

Social networking has been popular so long, from twitter to Facebook it's all public for anyone to see. Others looking at your page and the power you have to control the content people look at within your page create the social surveillance with social media.  Facebook allows you to change your setting so only your friends and family can see your page but you can also make it so anyone would be able to view your page. However even then not everything is hidden for a stranger to stumble upon your page. While the settings allow you to make your personal information private, your name or even your display picture can be seen to a stranger. Facebook allows you to display as many pictures as you desire which people can view and comment these images but how is this different from say a scrapbook. Facebook allows you to publish everything and while you think you're in control of what is shown the site can limit you while a scrapbook is a physical book, which you can control who looking at it. The friendship assemblage also comes into play when diving further into the surveillance assemblage. The friendship assemblage talks about how Facebook has a template driven identity which shows that these sites have a goal in mind because once you fill out your name you are given a template to fill out the rest of the information which the software then tries to help you add other friends which compare to you or you may know from the area or school that you went to. The default settings allows everyone to see your personal profile unless you change it yourself to protect your privacy, but if you choose to keep it at default others can easily find you. This ties back into MMOG's, these settings or agreements allow them to control and find you and they put you into social groups, which allow them to monitor you to however they seem necessary. Users choose to reveal or hide information that they deem essential to protect themselves.


Surveillance is a significant part of society and we choose to use it for security and communication. Global surveillance allows the government keeps us safe however this also affects and places others into a groups that are watched an monitored incase they make a wrong move. MMOG gives the company information about the players and also controls them by changing the EULA and gathering data to store for surveys. However they also use surveillance as a way to make their own game better by allowing to see if there are any bugs or glitches that need to be fixed. Social media allows anyone and everyone to see your information. However not everything about surveillance as there can be some positives such as in global we have it for protection while in social surveillance you have the chance to create a community and having such information in the public can cause a supportive effects within the community. Also having a public account on social media accounts such as twitter can gain public interest if you make information public, which can be helpful to the account owner in gaining a career. However the downsize to this is that people believe they need to broadcast themselves in order to be known throughout the platform.  Privacy is something we're slowly starting to lose control over in order to be protected. Technology continues to adapt around us and we're gradually allowing ourselves to be written as data.

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