Internet Creates Digital Portal into Private Lives

At the dawning of the Internet age, some believed the vast digital network would put unlimited freedom at everyone’s fingertips.

But connecting the world has brought watchful eyes, as the Internet also created digital portals into the private lives of the masses.

Dr. David Parry

This unintended consequence is discussed in Ubiquitous Surveillance, a new digital publication edited by Dr. David Parry.

“Advances in technology, an increasingly regulated and monitored digital network, and a general atmosphere of securitization have yielded a world of ubiquitous, if not always visible, surveillance,” Parry, assistant professor of Emerging Media and Communication, wrote in the introduction.

The publication is a collection of interdisciplinary research that pinpoints problems with technology and developing polices, as well as privacy concerns. The publication also explores the way people view the boundaries of the public and private realms.

Parry said “surveillance” is becoming more and more pervasive, but issues raised about this trend haven’t connected with those working in the sciences and other fields.

Parry also points to the positive power of the digital medium.


“Digital technologies afford us new opportunities, and the ability to expand the means by which we disseminate our knowledge,” he said.

Ubiquitous Surveillance is part of a 21-book, open-access humanities publishing project called Living Books About Life.

Parry said the books are designed to answer key science and life questions by “bridging the space between humanities and other disciplines.”

Living Books About Life repackages existing open access science research by clustering it around selected topics with unifying themes such as air, agriculture, bioethics, cosmetic surgery, electronic waste, energy, neurology and pharmacology.

Dr. Parry teaches courses on writing in the digital era and the digital archive. His presentations and published writing include works on digital games, Web technologies, digital literacy and the emerging networked archive.