A Critical Investigation on the Issue of Digital Surveillance and Social Control during and after Covid- 19 Pandemic
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CitationEşitti, Ş. (2021). A critical investigation on the issue of digital surveillance and social control during and after covid- 19 pandemic. Digital future (pp. 471-494)
New communication technologies play an important role in combating the Covid- 19 pandemic. In addition, surveillance practices implemented through new communication technologies due to the pandemic also raise important concerns in the context of individual freedoms and privacy. During the Covid- 19 pandemic, operations such as location information obtained through smart phone applications, the use of social media, contact tracing applications through smart phones, tracking of a patient or a potential patient’s movements, contact tracking, data analysis in data networks and use of drones have provided greater opportunities for surveillance like never before in history. In such an atmosphere, in order to survive, individuals become voluntary participants of surveillance, while their freedom of communication and personal privacies are negatively affected. Surveillance affects not only individuals’ privacy and freedom of communication, but also it negatively effects democracy and freedom of expression. Despite this, public authorities around the world focus only on the health management benefits of surveillance, ignoring the long- term problems that surveillance practices created during the Covid- 19 pandemic. The study assesses this as a problematic and draws attention to the fact that the permanent surveillance procedures applied in the fight against the Covid- 19 pandemic may negatively affect individual freedoms, triggers internalization of surveillance. Accordingly, the potential threats of surveillance practices that increased during the Covid- 19 pandemic to personal privacy, communication, and freedom of expression were examined with a critical perspective in the context of Michel Foucault’s conceptualization of Panopticon and the phenomenon of social control. In the study, the possible consequences of data collection and surveillance practices used throughout the world during the Covid- 19 pandemic for individuals and societies were discussed, the surveillance methods used by states in combating the pandemic were determined, the consequences of the continuation of these methods in terms of privacy and democracy after the pandemic were questioned, and the importance of awareness about surveillance was emphasized.