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Libraries and Democracy in a Surveillance Culture

Caitlin Rowe (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia)

Who's Watching? Surveillance, Big Data and Applied Ethics in the Digital Age

ISBN: 978-1-80382-468-0, eISBN: 978-1-80382-467-3

Publication date: 12 July 2022


This paper will provide an overview of the contemporary surveillance environment in the age of Big Data and an insight into the complexities and overlap between security, bodily and informational surveillance as well as the subsequent impacts on privacy and democracy. These impacts include the ethical dilemmas facing librarians and information scientists as they endeavour to uphold principles of equality of access to information, and the support of intellectual freedom in private in an increasingly politicised informational environment. If we accept that privacy is integral to the notion of learning, free thought and intellectual exploration and a crucial element in the separation of the state and the individual in democratic society, then the emergence of the data age and the all-encompassing surveillance and exposure of once private acts will undoubtedly lead to the reimagining of the social and political elements of society.



Rowe, C. (2022), "Libraries and Democracy in a Surveillance Culture", Walsh, A. and Boucher, S. (Ed.) Who's Watching? Surveillance, Big Data and Applied Ethics in the Digital Age (Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, Vol. 26), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 57-74.



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