Digital networks like the internet have extended State and Corporate control to unprecedented levels. Discuss

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Digital networks like the internet have extended State and Corporate control to unprecedented levels’. Discuss

The development of the internet as a digital network represents the most significant technological phenomenon in society today. The internet has become a revolutionary tool in multiple facets of social, political and economic life transforming our engagement with every aspect of the social world signified by the increasing human desire to be in control. Indeed the issue of controlling this dynamic and ever-changing platform has come to forefront in examining its use. The internet despite its marketization in capitalism represents a source of freedom for both individual life and organisational networks. In essence this digital network represents a double-edged sword with no defined role within society and capable of acting in a number of ways. Therefore academic scholars must recognise although corporations and State governments have maintained a monopoly of power over this domain individuals have also become empowered in exploiting the internet for their own interests. As a result this essay will argue although we live in a total surveillance society where our personal lives and civil rights are compromised; individual freedom along with expression through the internet are at an all-time high and we equally capable of monitoring powerful organisations. To sum up the internet is a post-modern tool providing meaning and identity to individual lives beyond organisational control and should be embraced as a force of social and political change in society today.

The issue of state control and technological advancements represents an important link exploring the role and power of the internet as a democratic tool. Certainly state surveillance over individual life has evolved into a complex issue struggling between maintaining public safety against national threats and the invasion of our personal lives to do so (Yar, 2013). For example the creation of CCTV circulation across England has led to a society for some scholars where no privacy exists and the state has essentially started to dictate our behaviour through mass surveillance (Nuth, 2008). From this view its apparent state control over the internet has expanded through new technology evading our personal social surroundings. This clearly showcases state control has reached unseen levels in society today whereby the concept of individual freedom no longer exists. Such an argument is further reinforced by the GPS coordinates tracking system able to provide accurate estimates of a person’s location either through cars or mobile phone devices (Nuth, 2008). Although such surveillance is thought of as a national security measure against terrorists attacks it also holds the ability to be abused by authoritarian regimes attempting to monopolise or censor public opinion. This is clearly evident in Turkey where social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and You tube are constantly monitored or shut down to uphold the conservative beliefs held by the current regime whilst oppressing freedom of speech (Genc, 2015). Indeed such censorship illustrates another component of state control increased through the internet. In this sense, the internet has to a degree clearly extended state surveillance over individual life into new spheres of our social personal lives online. Undeniably although the internet is applauded for its accessibility to everyone countries such as Cuba and China have been found to limit access to state regulated institutions only whilst censoring personal home connections to this global network (Boas, 2001). Ultimately this further highlights the monopolised power over the internet in certain parts of the world. The internet is recognised as a source of social change capable of galvanising public opinion against dictatorships and their stability to rule thus the increasing struggle to monitor our actions over this platform. In spite of all this, the internet has undoubtedly also amplified the power of state policy makers in controlling and tackling crime. CCTV surveillance for instance has been found to have a significant impact in deterring and also solving crime occurring in local communities (Sheldon, 2011). Additionally these technological methods of surveillance have also improved police engagement with communities in providing solutions and situational trends in relation to crime (Sheldon, 2011). Clearly this implies although our personal civil rights have been invaded by this increasing surveillance, society’s ability to tackle issues of social concern has enhanced beyond traditional measures through digital networks. With this in mind the internet has become a redefined social tool with increasing micro importance to our individual lives beyond the state’s ability to control and regulate our access to it. Therefore in order to fully grasp the relationship between the internet and society today we must extended our analysis into capitalist corporations and the new forms of social activism developing.
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The emergence of the internet coupled with the growth of cyber and white collar crime conducted by global corporate entities demonstrates the evolutionary nature of this digital network and its impact on economic criminal forces today. Hazel Croall indeed acknowledged the internet has encouraged the development of criminogenic cultures within corporations already filled with amoral social characters (Croall, 2001). The internet has extended the ability of corporations to be complicit in mass criminal behaviour of circulating our personal information in search of marketing profits (Yar, 2013). Corporations have been found increasingly liable of selling private personal information to ...

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