Simveillance in hyperreal Las Vegas
Radke, Nathan James
Master of Arts
SubjectElectronic surveillance Social aspects Nevada Las Vegas
Electronic surveillance Nevada Las Vegas Psychological aspects
Casinos Nevada Las Vegas Security measures
MetadataShow full item record
On a Thursday afternoon, an average Canadian leaves her office, and goes to a nearby bank machine to get a cash advance on one of her credit cards. She uses the money to buy lunch at a mall food court, then wanders into various shops purchasing clothing and compact discs with her Interac-equipped bank card. Returning to her office, she logs on to the internet, and checks her email. She then goes back to her assigned task of data entry. An ordinary day for millions of Canadians, but what is extraordinary is how well-documented this banal trip was. The woman’s face has been photographed, videotaped, and time-coded. Records of her purchases have been distributed to her, the stores, and her bank. Her employer knows that she has checked her email. Were she to go missing, investigators would be able to put together a fairly comprehensive itinerary of her day, and there would be plenty of up-to-date images for the evening news. But it should be noted, It is possible that at no time during her day was she actually being watched by a pair of human eyes. It is not an overstatement to claim that surveillance permeates many aspects of North American life. There is no shortage of sociological theory to help illuminate the situation; sociologists have been keenly aware of the importance of surveillance for decades. However, at the dawn of the 21®' century, it is questionable whether the theories that have dominated surveillance discourse for the last twenty-five years can still provide insight. Technology has certainly advanced in that time, both in capability and in frequency. The average person now takes for granted technology that would have been unthinkable a quarter of a century ago. Along with the technological envelopment has come an immersion in simulation, as people find themselves operating in a virtual world of computers and videoscreens. The question is whether this has simply intensified conventional surveillance in North American society, or produced a new kind of creature entirely. This thesis will argue that the articulation of the two forces has produced a hybrid; for lack of a better word, this hybrid can be called simveillance. Simveillance can not be encompassed by the classic concepts of surveillance that dominate current discourse.