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We Are Under Surveillance Almost Every Second Of Every Day

Matthew Henry
Surveillance comes in many forms outside of cameras. Creighton's Guy McHendry describes driverless cars as "little more than a rolling surveillance juggernaut."

This program originally aired February 11, 2020

From cell phones, web browsers, credit cards, to walking down streets, people are under some form of surveillance practically every minute of everyday. What are the consequences of our surveillance culture? Are consumers truly powerless? 

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer speaks with Guy McHendry of Creighton University to understand just how much people are under surveillance, what we can do about it, and why it matters.

McHendry says there are five things everyone can do to help limit surveillance and increase privacy:         

1. Use a password manager or create unique, complex passwords for each online account.
2. Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
3. Regularly review privacy settings on all apps and devices connected to the internet. Many apps and devices could collect data that is not required to use the full functionality.
4. Undergo a regular “digital house-cleaning.” Unsubscribe, uninstall, delete and cancel obsolete apps, emails, online subscriptions and services.
5. Regularly review web browser privacy settings.

McHendry and his students have also developed an approachable guide to key concepts in surveillance studies. You can find it here.


  • Guy McHendry, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Creighton University


Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River