Is Big Data Destroying Democracy?

  • Leah Oldfield Leeds Beckett University


When global companies, like Cambridge Analytica, use the leverage of behavioural data to sell certainty instead of truthful facts the balance between democracy, whereby governmental power is held by all citizens (Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, 1998) and Tyranny, whereby power is held by a small number of rulers often using unfair and unjust practices (Cambridge Dictionary, n.d.), is toppled. Surveillance theory which conceptualises different strategies of surveillance that include dataveillance, access control, social sorting, peer-to-peer surveillance and resistance (Galič et al, 2017) is a growing phenomenon within an information society. This paper will seek to understand the developments of surveillance theory from Bentham’s structural panopticon to Michel Foucault’s metaphoric adaptations.