Big Brother is Watching You

I believe that panopticism has been embedded in our society through the idea that we are being watched and monitored through our devices even when we are not actively using them. It is understandable and accepted that if we repeatedly search for something on google or tiktok, that an advertisement for that thing will pop up on our phone later because our phone usage data is definitely being monitored. However, it turns into panopticism when you are not using any devices, but are just having a conversation in your home, and then all of a sudden advertisements and related content are popping up on your phone later. These occurrences happen too often to just be a coincidence so at a certain point, one starts to believe that they are just being watched regardless. I know a lot of people think that the Amazon Alexas are tools used to listen in to conversations in our private spaces. I have an Alexa and to be honest, I wouldn’t even be surprised if it was collecting data of everything that is being said and done in my room. But this is why people say “Big Brother is watching you,” because it represents the idea that the government, represented by Big Brother, constantly monitors and scrutinizes the auctions, thoughts, and behaviors of people. This surveillance is not just limited to physical observation but extends to aspects of life including private conversations and personal correspondence. The awareness that government agencies could potentially listen in on private conversations creates a sense of perpetual scrutiny. Even if individuals are not actively being surveilled at a given moment, the knowledge that surveillance could occur at any time can lead to self-regulation and conformity. This awareness can also influence behavior, causing people to modify their conversations and actions to avoid drawing unwanted attention to themselves. In this way, the concept of panopticism helps to illustrate how pervasive surveillance can shape social dynamics and impact individual freedoms, even within the supposed privacy of one’s own home.

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