Surveillance (English/Cymraeg)

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English translation:

The word “surveillance” is derived from French, meaning to observe something or someone to find and block crime. “Sur” means “from above” and “veiller” means “to watch”. Surveillance is a form of social control.

David Lyon defines it as “any collection of data and processing of personal data, whether identifiable or no, for the purpose of influencing or managing those whose data has been garnered”.

Examples include:

  • CCTV;
  • Tagging;
  • Tracking and
  • Storing of DNA.

In modern Britain, there are about forty thousand CCTV cameras, and in the last four years, the British Council spent roughly £515 million on them. This amount of money would be enough to employ an extra 4121 police officers.

The sociologist Gary Marx used this idea of a “surveillance state” to convey the idea that “the all-encompassing use of computer surveillance technology in modern society is for total social control”. It is possible to associate this idea with the Left Realists as they believe that surveillance is beneficial for society because it “hardens targets” – it makes it harder for people to commit crime.

Yet, despite the thousands of CCTV cameras that Britain has, crime rates aren’t comparably lower than countries who have less surveillance. Germany, for example.

The British philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) used this idea of surveillance to make a building called “the Panopticon”, which he used as a prison. The design of the “perfect prison” was structured in such a way that cells would be open to a central tower. Individuals in the cells would not be able to interact with each other and they are permanently facing a central panoptic tower. They cannot see whether or whether not there is a person in the tower and therefore must believe that they can be watched at any moment. Bentham noted that this is a model for how society should work in general.

The French postmodernist philosopher Michel Foulcault (1926-1984) also agreed that this is how society should work in order to maintain social order. He argued that the Panopticon was “a diagram of the mechanism of power reduced to its ideal form”, thus it was a positive objective because it shows that society has significantly moved forward from barbaric acts of so-called justice, such as the death penalty. Other postmodernists, like Stanley Cohen (1942-2013), supported this claim by stating that social control and detention used to be public and overt, but in modern society, it is considered to be more discrete and subtle.

Also, the Panopticon helped Foulcault explore the power-knowledge concept and the relationship between agencies of social control (like the police, for instance) and the public.  Because of this, surveillance is extremely useful, and to some extents, it helps to avoid the functionalist term of “anomie” (meaning: complete lack of social control/utter chaos).

However, many Marxists would disagree with Foulcault because they believe that surveillance is a weapon that is used by the Bourgeoisie (ruling class) to exploit and use the Proletariat (the working class).

Cyfieithiad Cymraeg:

Mae gwyliadwriaeth yn air Ffrangeg sy’n golygu gwylio rhywun neu rywbeth er mwyn darganfod a rhwystro trosedd. Mae “sur” yn golygu “o uwchben” ac mae “veiller” yn golygu “i wylio”, ac yn ffordd o sicrhau rheolaeth gymdeithasol. Mae David Lyon yn ei ddiffinio fel, “any collection of data and processing of personal data, whether identifiable or not, for the purpose of influencing or managing those whose data has been garnered”. Mae esiamplau’n cynnwys CCTV, tagio, tracio, a chadw cofnod o DNA. Bodola tua 40 mil o gamerâu monitro cymdeithasol (CCTV) ym Mhrydain, a gwariodd y Cyngor Prydeinig  tua £515 miliwn arnynt yn y pedwar blynedd ddiwethaf. Byddai math hyn o arian cyflogi 4121 heddwas.

Soniodd Gary Marx am y syniad o “cymdeithas gwyliadwriaeth”, sef, “defnydd holl-gynhwysfawr o wyliadwriaeth dechnolegol yn y gymdeithas gyfoes am reolaeth gymdeithasol gyflawn”. Mae modd cysylltu’r cysyniad gyda Realwyr y Dde oherwydd eu bod yn credu mai gwyliadwriaeth yn fuddiol i’r gymdeithas oherwydd mae’n enghraifft o galedu targedau. Mae’n caledu targedau, megis trwy “Neighbourhood Watch”, yn gwneud i drosedd fod yn fwy anodd i gyflawni.

Ond er hyn, er gwaethaf y miloedd o gamerâu monitro ym Mhrydain, nid yw cyfradd trosedd Prydain yn gymharol is na gwledydd sydd â llai o wyliadwriaeth, megis yr Almaen.

Defnyddiodd Jeremy Bentham y syniad o wyliadwriaeth i greu adeilad o’r enw “y Panoptican”. Defnyddiodd yr adeilad hwn fel carchar ac roedd yn caniatáu i warchodwyr i wylio carcharon heb iddynt allu gwybod os ydynt o dan sylw neu ddim. Roedd dim ond angen un gwarchodwr. Felly mae rhaid i’r carcharon wastad ymddwyn fel y petai eu bod yn cael eu gwylio i osgoi sancsiynau posib.

Mynegodd yr athronyddwyd ôl-fodern Michel Foulcalt yn defnyddio’r Panopticon fel trosiad i’r gymdeithas ehangach, ac mae’n “diagram of a mechanism of power reduced to its ideal form”, felly mae rhywbeth cadarnhaol yw hyn oherwydd mae’n ddangos bod y gymdeithas wedi symud ymlaen o weithredoedd barbaraidd o sancsiynu, megis yn lle’r gosb eithaf. Mae’r ôl-fodernwyr Stanley Cohen yn atgyfnerthu at y syniad hwn trwy ddweud bod rheolaeth gymdeithasol a chosbi yn arfer bod yn ddull cyhoeddus ac amlwg, ond bellach mae’n fwy arwahanol a chynnil trwy wyliadwriaeth, megis CCTV a thagio.

Hefyd, mae’r Panopticon yn helpu Foulcault i ddeall ac ystyried y cysylltiad rhwng asiantaethau rheolaeth gymdeithasol a’r cyhoedd a’r cysyniad pŵer-gwybodaeth. Oherwydd hyn, mae gwyliadwriaeth yn ddull pwerus iawn, ac i ryw raddau, mae’n osgoi’r term swyddogaethol o “anomi”.

Byddai Marcswyr yn anghytuno gyda Foulcault oherwydd maent yn dweud bod gwyliadwriaeth yn arf sy’n cael eu defnyddio gan y Bourgeoisie yn erbyn y Proletariat.

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