ARE YOU BEING WATCHED?
The question I am asking here is – Are you being Watched? In fact, are you even remotely aware that you are being watched? Is it ‘Big Brother’ watching you or is it something or someone else?
We might all feel a sense of paranoia if we know we are being watched and even if we do not know.
Our Privacy is a big issue these days and we do what we can in order to ensure that we maintain a private life beyond the snooping lenses of photographers, the investigative mind of a story-seeking journalist, a nosy neighbour or a distrusting family relative?
The problem is very much where to draw the line in the sand. If you are a public figure, you must expect that your private life is going to be prevailed upon much more than if you are an ordinary not famous at all person who is just living their ordinary everyday humdrum life.
So who is watching us and why?
As children, we are watched over by our parents and guardians, babysitters, nannies and other carers, religious do gooders. We are not yet capable of independently managing our lives.
Wherever we go in our towns and cities, there are surveillance cameras in place essentially for the prevention of crime such as Bank robberies and Shoplifting but they are watching us on camera nevertheless and even though this is considered by most to be a legitimate watching of our activities, it is still intrusive. Security Guards are employed by Corporate institutions and large office blocks to monitor who comes and goes. Remember at school the school register? It is a document of record .
Who else is watching us? Might you wonder!
Not all the watching of our activities is visual. Our activities are monitored behind the scenes, every time we fill out a form with our name, address and our personal details, every time we use an ATM Debit or Credit Card, every time we make a telephone call, receive or send a text message or email, log on or off to the computer, buy or sell a product, come or go from our home. Information is valuable and law and order must prevail but does it justify the creation of a system, which I shall call ‘Big Brother’ for want of another name, whereby every one of us is being tracked for lifestyle irregularities, criminal activities. They may or may not be the same thing. What if you are being watched by aliens from outer space?
Every resident or citizen is accountable to the laws of the country where he or she lives, this is undeniable. We are all watched over by the guardians of our nation – from the armed forces to the police, from private security personnel to vigilantes.
What about the private investigator? Are you a cheating husband or wife? Have you doing things in your workplace which you should not such as stealing stationary, work products or availing yourself of the facilities at the workplace such as the internet, telephone calls? If a child of yours was about to enter into an dubious marriage with someone, is it not unreasonable to want to check them out? Being followed, having your phone (or your car tapped with a wire or other gadget). Being watched at a distance by someone with a zoom lens camera. There are many ways, in fact, a Private Investigator might be able to watch you and you will never realize it.
So who is watching on the Internet?
We all endeavour to use the Internet in a responsible way, browsing and surfing, copying and pasting, clicking and registering etc. Ebay is an example of a website where we could be watched. Yes okay, it is not you personally being watched but the product or service you are selling but nevertheless, it is another spin on the concept of being watched which you may not have accounted for.
What about Voyeurs?
This French coined phrase refers to the folk who are viewing you for personal pleasure rather than for a legitimate purpose. The voyeur may operate with or without a camera. Another common term to refer to such a person is ‘Peeping Tom’ which implies that you are intruding upon the privacy of another person by peeping or spying on them through a window or from a distance. The Voyeur will most likely be sexually motivated and get a ‘kick’ about watching you undress in the bedroom or even using the bathroom. It is even possible for the voyeur to watch you through a modern cell phone or electronic device such as a computer or laptop.
The voyeurism may not be limited to your own home but could be happening in the most unsuspecting of places such as public toilets, Hotel rooms, Car Parks. Even in your own motor car!
There is another purpose to the voyeurism besides sexual gratification. A detailed profile can be built up of your lifestyle by a criminal who may have the intent of engaging in a criminal act against you. Burgling your home when you are not there. Emptying your Bank Accounts online.
The Mother who is breast-feeding her baby in a public place will no doubt be aware of watching eyes but she chooses to be oblivious to it. There are those among us of extrovert nature who are attention seeking and enjoy the thrill of being watched. In some distances, depending on our appearance or what we are doing, not so much watched as stared at disbelievingly and gorped at.
Let us not overlook mentioning those who are performers such as actors comedians magicians artists singers dancers and are being watched by an audience. A performance can, of course, be watched on any public stage such as a theatre, seen in a cinema film or TV programme or nowadays broadcast over the Internet using a computer or smartphone.
Everyone is entitled to privacy in their daily life. The price of that privacy should not be costed. Our private life is our own affair and not for public consumption. Defining what is rated for public interest is another matter. So – who’s watching us?