Big Brother is watching you…while you work?!

Featured Image Surveillance by Jonathan MacIntosh (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Big Brother, is he watching you?

Caluya states that with “…rapid technological developments, particularly the rise of computerised databases, require us to rethink the panoptic metaphor” (2000, p. 607).

Have you ever felt like you are being watched? Whether in a public place, such as a shopping centre? Maybe on public transport, or even at work? As a growing society, individuals are being surveilled more than ever. With digital advances such as cameras being a norm within public spaces, we can only feel safe while being watched, right?
Well, sometimes surveillance is just a bit over the top. Such as businesses promoting signed surveillance in use or stating that surveillance is in the area, maybe even big, nasty cameras staring down on you while you may be trying to do your humble daily shopping.

So is surveillance watching your every move?


Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 11.08.44 am.png
Surveillance by Ashley (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

So what is surveillance, and why is it used? Chandler and Munday, describe surveillance as, “…social technologies of power which include any covert and/or overt techniques and tools used by governments and other organisations to identify, track, and monitor other people through direct or mediated observation” (2011, p. 414).
This definition does sound a bit daunting, after all who would want to be observed without knowing? *Creepy, right?* Yet, there are some pros and cons regarding to surveillance in society. Surveillance within society, and within a work environment is viewed as a positive action, as the safety of its workers, and customers can be monitored and viewed. In another definition, surveillance society is described as “…a society which routinely monitors the lives of its citizens for purposes of administration and control” (Chandler & Munday 2011, p. 414). This definition better suits surveillance within a workforce, as safety is not only controlled – theft could also be monitored through surveillance helping companies resolve issues in the workforce.

Recently, during my time at work, I had decided to count the cameras which I could visibly see from my department. Over 9 cameras were counted, with different shapes, colours and different sized cameras on display in the small area. And how do all these cameras make me feel at work? Honestly, the cameras make me feel safe – at times.
As the cameras may deter certain individuals from doing negative things in a workplace; as an employee at work, how can the cameras possible make me feel “safe” when we cannot hide behind the camera in times of desperate need?

So I decided to ask my fellow workers, how they felt about the many cameras pointing down at them while we work. Out of the 6 fellow employees asked, 5 said the cameras were a great device to implement control, and safety within the workforce. 1 out of the 6 however, thought that the somewhat, overdose of cameras were unnecessary and something to worry about. This brings about different questions such as, are we so used to surveillance now that we no longer have an issue with it? Or is this something we should be concerned about?


Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 10.50.40 am
Surveillance Cameras by Gavin Stewart (CC BY 2.0)



Surveillance is everywhere – we cannot escape it. Try and be wary of your surrounds, whether at work, or in any environment where surveillance is identified. You may have your own opinion in regards to surveillance, and while you may not be able to contend your opinion towards your work cameras, you can throughout your daily life!

…maybe you could surveil the surveillance #foodforthought




Caluya, G 2010, ‘The post panoptic society? Reassessing Foucault in

surveillance studies’, Social Identities, vol. 16, no. 5, September, pp. 621-633.

Chandler, D., & Munday, R 2011, Dictionary of Media and Communication, First ed., Oxford University Press.

Surveillance by Ashley (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Surveillance Cameras by Gavin Stewart (CC BY 2.0)
Surveillance by Jonathan MacIntosh (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tweets from @emma___miller used respectively

12 thoughts on “Big Brother is watching you…while you work?!

Add yours

  1. Emma, your cohesive and engaging writing style together with the material within this blog integrates well-informed ideas, concepts and scholarly sources. Overall forming ‘#foodforthought’ on an often overlooked subject, provoking new thinking for the reader.

    Your blog post takes an interesting angle on surveillance in real life work scenarios, perhaps organically leading you into further blog posts concerning how ubiquitous surveillance differs online and offline. Being watched by physical cameras affects behaviour – but how could behaviour be affected in the online? Can we ever escape big brother’s leering eye?

    Great read, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback Keith!! I tried moving the damn Twitter links to the middle of the blog, and you’re right you need to pay!!! How annoying :/


  2. Hi there my group partner! xD
    This is a very interesting writing, I like the way you put your own “research” by asking your fellow workers to enhance the fact. I also point out that this blog is very accessible and has a clear readability, which may seem nothing but it really matters to your readers:) But fyi, it’s fine you don’t need to put your creativecommons in the reference list. You also picked engaging photos in between your paragraphs which I think that’s a very good thing to keep engage your readers all the way to the bottom of your arguments. Keep up the great work, Emma!:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emma, I absolutely loved reading this blog. I was captured into your post from the very beginning. Your use of italics and bolding specific words really enhance your writing. The rhetoric questions positioned me to question my own privacy…I found myself subconsciously nodding in agreement with them! The inclusions of creative commons and embedding the tweets have made your blog appealing for all its audience. Something I love about your writing is that everything always flows perfectly and you write from first-hand experience. You seem to be able to include scholarly sources into your writing, like it was made to be there. I also loved the inclusion of a hashtag at the end. It was a perfect way to sum up what you were saying, and a quirky way to add a hint of technology you’re your post. Amazing work Emma, cannot wait for the next one

    – Kate

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Emma,

    I like how you have included differing arguments regarding surveillance in this post. It is certainly interesting to note that some employees at your work feel optimistically about surveillance while another worries about it!

    It is also very effective to simplify the surveillance definition and to relate it to your chosen context of surveillance and the workplace as you have done. Concluding with food for thought also keeps the reader thinking about the post and makes it much more engaging!

    Just remember to check your spelling before uploading the post. For example I think the word “possible” could be replaced with “possibly” in your discussion regarding safety at work.

    Well done on writing such a stimulating post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great work Emma! This is a interesting post which covers an interesting topic. There is certainly a consistent theme about your post, prosecuting the question ‘are we always being watched?’ I quite enjoy your style of writing and your images and tweets are highly relevant. You also had a good balance in evidence (ranging between anecdotal and academic.) Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Emma!

    I like how you explained about surveillance in an interactive manner. I could easily grasp the definition and the problems in surveillance in work place. Your research on your fellow workers is a great tool to validate your post.

    This post made me wonder what surveillance has really done to us. Does it really for our safety or other purposes? I expected you elaborate more on this matter. But I guess you will discuss this in another post?

    Also, it is best to add a space between paragraphs and justify your paragraph to make it look nicer. Overall, it is a great post!


  7. Hi Emma,

    Such a great blog post! I really like your style of writing in this post, it really helps to express your thoughts thoroughly and make it easier for the readers to understand the blog. The embedded tweets go really well with the content you have written. You also put a fair amount of tweets and images to keep the audience focus on the matter and encourage them to continue reading.
    Moreover, this blog post really makes me think about how I feel about surveillance and why I am comfortable with the idea of being watched on a daily basis.
    Great work!


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