Jiarong Chen

Corporate surveillance refers to a host of efforts by corporations to collect and use data in a variety of ways to enhance their profitability. This includes surveillance of employees, customers, and competitors. “In recent years, a wide range of companies have started to monitor, track and follow people in virtually every aspect of their lives” (Christl, 2017, para. 1). Big corporates like Amazon and Target use our personal data and information to increase profits. These companies use surveillance techniques to target customers. In other words, Corporate Surveillance is a power that is not shared equally between customers and corporations. Corporate surveillance and surveillance studies are well connected. Corporations use different surveillance techniques, including data mining, tracking customer internet use with cookies , and loyalty cards.

As more and more advanced surveillance technologies come out, it is harder for us to realize how corporate surveillance infiltrates our daily lives. Things we do not pay attention to turn our data into profits. For example, customer loyalty cards may provide discounts, but they can also be used to monitor customers. Customer loyalty cards can automatically record customers’ buying habits, their location, and what methods they pay so that a corporation can target individuals with advertisements (Gilliom & Monahan, 2013). In surveillance studies, the concept of corporate surveillance helps us understand the fact that surveillance culture is a key part of the function of our economy.


Christl, W. (2017). Corporate surveillance in everyday life. Cracked Labs: Institute for Digital Culture. Retrieved from http://crackedlabs.org/en/corporate-surveillance.

Gilliom, J., & Monahan, T. (2013). SuperVision: An introduction to the surveillance society. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.


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Key Concepts in Surveillance Studies Copyright © 2019 by Jiarong Chen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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