oa African Yearbook of Rhetoric - The fateful click : soft surveillance in today's control society

Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2220-2188
  • E-ISSN: 2305-7785



What could be more persuasive in our everyday digital high-tech world than the imperatives "google!" and (in Facebook-speak) "friend!"? Who would suspect these two hortatory commands that on the one hand urge us to look for information online, and on the other to join the 800 million active users of the social networking site Facebook, of opening the arena of ever more encompassing global surveillance? How can it be that an innocuous mouse click makes me part of the act of observing while simultaneously allowing for the condition of being observed? After all, neither my personal Internet search for knowledge nor the reassurance with which "Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life", as the site asserts, seem to have anything to do with the proverbial, more sinister Orwellian Big Brother "hard" surveillance with CCTV cameras, nowadays surreptitiously installed in shops and on buildings along city streets and public squares.

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