11 October 2016

Big Brother: How much can they see?

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Australian security services have long been undertaking surveillance measures which have become progressively more thorough, owing to our rapid advancements in technology.

We haves reached the level of surveillance George Orwell forewarned; our actions outside the walls of our homes are considered to be performed in a public space and captured through a vast array of surveillance apparatus. However our actions made from the apparent safety of our homes are little more private.

Here are some of the ways you’re being watched:

Electronic monitoring

According to Independent Australia, “meta-data collection systems like PRISM and ECHELON are highly likely to be also operating within Australia due to the close relationship between the NSA and Australian intelligence community.

Your favourite search engines and social media sites like Google, Yahoo and Facebook are using tracking cookies to collect your data. Have you noticed that the ads you are shown on Facebook correspond with your recent searches?


Most shopping malls, banks and stadiums are fully equipped with security cameras for the purposes of onsite security, however they can be used to track and monitor specific individuals.

Mobile Phones

Your phone has built in GPS and it isn’t just for Google Maps. “Mobile phones can be used as a means to track people through inbuilt GPS on smartphones, triangulation, or through electronic data-collectors designed to identify individual mobile phones in public places,” says Independent Australia.


Your credit, debit and loyalty card purchases are recorded in your purchase history and movements to contribute to your personal metadata. These individual pieces of information (like buying an iced Frappuccino from Gloria Jeans) are of little value, but when added to the mass amounts of data which exists for you, it can be invaluable.

With it now being legal to access this information without the consent of the individual or a warrant, our information is scarily accessible. 

Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire minored in sarcasm and puns.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

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