Week 10- Global Surveillance

Global surveillance is a phenomenon that is defined as processes where special notes are taken of certain human behaviours (Lyon 2007, p. 13). This includes undercover investigations that you typically see in movies and television as well as everyday activities such as lifeguards surveying the local swimming pool or programs that refer outside parties to certain activity that you do on your home computer. Global media is often used to hide information from us whilst it surveys us at the same time. James Bridle (2013) questions the mechanism of global surveillance through his installation of Drone shadow that was prevented from being shown in Queensland due to government interference. It is because of globalisation which involves the transmission of knowledge, transfer of policies across borders and discourses of power that surveillance is so a global phenomenon (Al-Rodhan & Stoudmann 2006).

Global media is often thought as a platform for information exchange, where we can send instant messages and emails. However we live in a global society and in this society the media plays a key role in censorship and controlling what we hear and watch (Palevic & Djordjevic 2013). This often includes the media manipulating stories and information through the selection and emission of information. Reality television shows often hide the truth and omit information or selectively cut to certain scenes to create entertainment. Who would watch the bachelor if there was no drama, who would watch Big Brother if there were no scene cutting and the contestants were just lying around the house. Sometimes maybe a bit of information omitting is necessary and doesn’t hurt anyone.

The Government is an organisation that constantly hides and omits information through the global media such as information in their policies in order to keep their rating high. But sometimes the governments omit information in order to protect their country or people. This usually includes information in relation to national security issues, however at the same time the government is secretly surveying our information in emails and messages to see if we are planning any terrorist attacks.

Surveillance is a global phenomenon; it has become just a part of our everyday life. Reality TV shows are an example of hiding of information but it is also an example of surveillance as the participants are caught on camera around the clock (Lyon 2011, p. 7). Global media is a great way for people to communicate, however it is also used to hide information and to survey people.


Al-Rodhan, N & Stoudmann, G 2006, Definitions of globalization: a comprehensive overview and a proposed definition, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, retrieved 24 September 2015, <http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/30929642/Definitions_of_Globalization_-_A_Comprehensive_Overview_and_a_Proposed_Definition.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ56TQJRTWSMTNPEA&Expires=1443231529&Signature=oFpMPBXZ9CeaayX6kGnb1UgHTbw%3D&response-content-disposition=inline>.

Bridle, J 2013, ‘Australia: drone shadows, diagrams and political systems’, booktwo.org, weblog post, 6 September, retrieved 24 September 2015, <http://booktwo.org/notebook/australia-drone-shadows/>.

Lyon, D 2007, Surveillance studies: an overview, Polity Press, Cambridge, England.

Lyon, D 2011, Theorizing surveillance, Routledge, New York.

Palevic, M & Djordjevic, S 2013, ‘Freedom of information and abuse of media in the process of globalization’, Webology, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1–9, retrieved 26 September 2015, EBSCOhost.

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