The Meaning of Private in an Age of Surveillance

William Walter Bostock


The private has great significance for the individual as it is where identity is stored. However, the private comes at a cost, particularly in a time of mass surveillance, which is heightened by the present Coronavirus pandemic, and is becoming more and more rare as individuals seek security. At the collective level, whole societies are moving towards privatisation, as the private gives relief from increased surveillance by media, governments and informed individuals and organisations, thus allowing more operational flexibility. Private and public are significant as polar ends of a spectrum in which individuals and collectivities must position themselves on a wide range of issues while maintaining identity. As shown in the case of airport privatisation, the determining process has been influenced by cultural factors such as a desire to avoid surveillance and scrutiny, sociological factors such as contagion, and political factors such as convergence. In all areas of human activity, a rebalancing between private and public may be necessary, and a transdisciplinary approach would be appropriate.

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World Journal of Social Science     ISSN 2329-9347 (Print)  ISSN 2329-9355 (Online)

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