To varying degrees, surveillance is a property of any social system—from two friends to a work-place to government. Although surveillance may be popularly associated with crime and national security, its scope is far broader. Consider, for example, a supervisor monitoring an employee’s productivity, a doctor assessing the health of a patient, a parent observing his child at play in the park, or the driver of a speeding car asked to show her driver’s license. Each of these also involves surveillance.

Information boundaries and contests are found in all societies and beyond that in all living systems. Humans are curious and also seek to protect their informational borders. To survive, individuals and groups engage in, and guard against, surveillance. Seeking information about others (whether within or ...

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