Data Ethics Philosophy and ethics of big data  
    LinkedIn     YouTube     email     Homepage ethics workshop business ethics workshop philosophy and economics
 
Contact Tab
 
         
     

What Distinguishes Surveillance, Monitoring, and Tracking?

 
     
 
  Center Outline  

Data gathering, processing, and application – along with subsequent philosophical and ethical debates – occur on three levels:

  • Social
  • Emotional
  • Economic

Data Ethics concentrates on the economic, with its corresponding tracking and targeting.

 
       
   

Surveillance

 
   
  • Field of application: Social
  • Observation type: Surveillance
  • Executed by: Society (through governmental institutions)
  • Aimed at: Society (civilian population)
  • Purpose: Public security and welfare
  • Examples:
    • Screening email to detect signs of impending terrorism
    • Scanning car license-plates to study traffic patterns
 
       
   

Monitoring

 
   
  • Field of application: Emotional
  • Observation type: Monitoring
  • Executed by: Discrete individuals
  • Aimed at: Discrete individuals
  • Purpose: Modulate personal emotions
  • Examples:
    • The collegian lingering at the bar to see if the girl he likes gets affectionate with the Lacrosse player.
    • The mother placing a baby monitor near the crib to be alerted when the newborn cries.
  • Note: Emotional monitoring is currently entering the space of big data ethics as software overlays combined with facial recognition algorithms and wearable hardware transform interpersonal encounters into big data scenes.
 
         
     

Tracking

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Field of application: Economic
  • Observation type: Tracking
  • Executed by: Private enterprises
  • Aimed at: Consumers.
  • Purposes: Target consumers' convenience, desires, money
  • Examples
    • Rudimentary: a retailer using loyalty cards to track purchases to learn what patrons’ have found desirable.
    • Contemporary: a retailer processes reams of purchasing histories to predict products that a specific patron will find desirable.
  • Critical historical moments:
    • Data escapes commercial silos.
      • Information gathered by a retailer (maternity clothes purchased) is used to promote a distinct service (natural birthing centers begin sending mailers).
    • Data becomes an independent sources of economic activity.
      • Organizations engaging in no direct consumer interactions acquire information from retailers, social media platforms, government agencies and similar, to synthesize and then resell to the original gatherers as fuller profiles.
 
         
 
Ethics Workshop ©
CC License