12/11/2018 _Perspective

Working Under Surveillance

They count my keystrokes
and the periods between
performance of keystroke activity.
So occasionally I tap a key
Just to suggest:
I am working.


They count my printing
and the photocopier use.
500Km away a robot tells me
Change the settings of your printer.


They monitor my hours performed
Time at work must be timed and coded
Everyday I’m called to that account.
Facial recognition technology
In the lecture room:
It seems they know I am working.


I open the window
I imagine
I am being watched
Everywhere I go
I know for sure that
Monitoring, watching, reporting ongoing
Others there are watching me
as is my invisible audience.


I am clever, I will adapt
I know I have adapted
I know I am adapting
to work under surveillance,
I know I am, I know I can.
It was difficult at first
It is normal now
I don’t have to try very hard:
I’m on auto-pilot now.


They have their analytics
The next generation are watching me
Watching not over but of me.
I shape myself carefully
Knowing they watch that too.
We warn each other
“Watch out! They are watching us….
Don’t do this, don’t do that, do this and that.”
We watch out for each other
while they monitor us.
We monitor each other, because we care.


I know they have data
Vast repositories of data
Big data absorbs my little self
They can check my passwords
So I choose not to vexate them.
They monitor email, phone and performance
work under surveillance.
I squirm with discomfort in private places
Refuse a private scratch
Because I know
nothing private is private.

I am not who I was
who I was before certain of their surveillance
I am who I am made
Made mad by paranoia, suspicion, loss of innocence
Exhaustion from performing
Knowing I am watched.


I can’t find hope for you
No hope in this
My innocence protests
Yet still, innocent or not I
work under surveillance.


_How to Cite

Ann Lawless. “Work Under Surveillance.” On_Culture: The Open Journal for the Study of Culture 6 (2018). <http://geb.uni-giessen.de/geb/volltexte/2018/13904/

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