Surveillance And Tracking In The Digital Age Aren’t Always Orwellian

Novels such as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four have painted the art of tracking and surveillance in a decidedly negative light. Of course, tracking technology in the wrong hands can be a recipe for disaster. However, it’s important to understand that surveillance isn’t always the mark of a dystopian society, particularly not in the digital age. In fact, when used correctly, tracking technology can open doors, foster new ideas, and improve our online experiences. Given the recent scare stories regarding Facebook and its app tracking the movements of iPhone users, this is a topic worth exploring in more detail.

Again, there’s no doubt that tracking technology can and, sometimes is, misused. However, it’s also important to note that this technology isn’t inherently bad and, moreover, it can be used for good. An obvious example of this is tracking cookies. Create an account with a social media platform such as Facebook and it will place a tracking cookie on your device. This digital signal is activated every time you go online and, as well as calling out to sites connected to Facebook, it gathers browsing data. This data is used to tailor the content you see on Facebook and, in turn, its sister companies such as Instagram.

Although some see the increased use of cookies and their advanced nature as invasive, the reality is that most are used for advertising purposes. Facebook et al are businesses and the majority of their business is selling adverts. Therefore, the more information they have on users, the more companies are willing to pay so they can target specific demographics. This is the way of the digital world and something that, while sometimes contentious, is fairly innocuous and far from Orwellian. The same could be said for geolocation trackers.

Tracking Makes the Digital World Relevant

Operating in a similar way to cookies, geolocation trackers can monitor your movements. However, instead of following your digital movements, these trackers can pinpoint your physical location. This has become particularly useful for companies that need to know where users are based. For example, online casinos in New Jersey can only accept players within the state. This is a legal requirement as set out in the state’s gaming regulations. Therefore, all licensed and regulated NJ online casinos have to use geolocation technology.

In practice, this means someone looking to join 888Casino NJ has to allow the website or mobile app to access their device’s IP address/GPS coordinates. From this, the tracker can determine whether someone is in New Jersey or not. If they’re outside of the state, they won’t be able to create an account or log in. That’s not only useful, it’s the only way companies in this industry can operate legally.

This technology is also used in Tinder to help you find potential matches in your local area. It’s also used by Uber and delivery companies to give you the best possible service based on your location. Therefore, again, we can see the tracking isn’t always bad. Moreover, you’ve always got the option to disable location services on your device. No one likes the idea of being followed. However, in the digital age, tracking has become a necessity in certain contexts. Yes, companies may overstep the mark on occasion. But, overall, the advent of digital tracking has resulted in a lot of positive innovations.