The word, ‘uberveillance’, coined by MG Michael and further developed by Katina Michael, is now gaining international acceptance and has been officially included in the fifth edition of the printed Macquarie Dictionary.
While uberveillance did not win the Word of the Year in 2008 it did top its category which was ‘Technology’.
The dictionary notes that uberveillance refers to “an omnipresent electronic surveillance facilitated by technology that makes it possible to embed surveillance devices in the human body”.
The word was coined in 2006 by UOW Honorary Senior Fellow Dr M.G. Michael and the concept has been further developed together with UOW senior lecturer Dr Katina Michael.
The first time the term was used by Dr Michael was in a guest lecture he delivered on the “Consequences of Innovation”.
The duo said the word simply ‘came out’ in a moment of inspiration, when Michael was searching for words to describe the embedded technologies. They said the term “surveillance” didn’t describe the full extent of the technological capabilities available today.
“Michael could find no other term but to bring together the German prefix “über” with the French root word “veiller” to describe the exaggerated surveillance conducted by governments in the name of national security,” Dr Katina Michael said.
“We needed a word to describe the profoundly intrusive nature of such technologies and it was no longer about Big Brother looking down, but rather about Big Brother on the inside looking out,” she said.
The Sydney Morning Herald noted in December last year in an article focusing on how the decade of the noughties was drawing to a close that words like uberveillance “might have not yet reached their peak”. The New York Times has also noted the coining of the new word.
Bernie Goldie, February 8, 2010, "Uberveillance cements its position as an official dictionary word", UOW Media, https://media.uow.edu.au/news/UOW073050.html