Sousveillance is about one recording their activities through portable personal devices. Sousveillance, the watching from below, the many watching the few, is the opposite of surveillance, the watching from above, the few watching the many. They are similar in that information is recorded as a form of visual monitoring, though they differ in purpose and scale. 

While we have surveillance which is used by governing bodies or legal systems to oversee a large group of people at once, sousveillance is personal, where we focus on the specific activities of a person. Surveillance is commonly used, and a necessity, as it allows eyes to consistently watch over certain places, this deters actions that are deemed out of place or illegal. Security cameras, people instinctively avoid making trouble in their lines of sight for one, visual data and evidence can be kept if trouble is made and two, the fear or wariness of such visual data will psychologically affect the person with such intention to cause trouble. Just by having the idea that someone is watching them passively, surveillance is essential in our world when we have public areas that need such protection.

Sousveillance however, is rather different. The purpose is relatively unclear, one can document the activities in their life, one can review footage to see what they could have done differently or what dangers might have befell this person who is recording. What changes the most is the idea of individuality; sousveillance is the recording on a specific person, which is fundamentally different from the watching of everyone in a specific area. Similarly they can be used to watch others and have the data in a visual manner. Perhaps in the same way, crime can be deterred if everyone walks around with a camera. There is power to witnessing and making claims with a visual data to backup the claims after all.

Sousveillance allows us to express what could not have been done in the past through mere claims. To be able to review what one has done in such a manner is interesting, in a way it can feel like travelling across time to revisit experiences. But of course, there is always the matter of illegal photography in both cases. If done right, I believe both are beneficial to our society and to us as individuals.


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