Surveillance of Banks

On Friday we decided to meet at the entrance of the State House and travel up and down Main Street. We traveled there for this assignment to discuss how surveillance impacted us during our time of travel. The definition of surveillance is the act of carefully watching someone or something especially in order to prevent or detect crimes. There was quite a large group of us and people were looking at us strange. There were multiple banks in our walk, there were a total of nine banks in our travel and all of them were almost next to each other. The banks might be key for surveillance in its own right. The police know people need money and some will do anything to get it, such as stealing or murdering. This beefs up security and they serve to survey others for their protection or to prevent crimes. In this article, I will be discussing the banks, how they are in strategic spots, and how it affects Main Street itself. I will also discuss how the banks impact surveillance.

The nine banks that were on Main Street were all located within the same area of each other. The Wells Fargo and Ameri bank were side by side, both with security at the doors and multiple camera at the entrances. NBSC bank was the first one we saw and it had no guards but cameras inside and outside of the building it was located in. There was a Century bank that was five feet from Ameri bank and TD bank around the corner from them with bank of America not far from them. These bank are in a strategic location because of how busy Main Street can get during the afternoon. They have a lot of tourist hotels and now a place called The HUB, which is an off-campus housing for students at the University of South Carolina. The main street area is also for people who make a good living because of the restaurants in the hotels and outside of the hotels are very expensive. The placement of the banks allow the owner to have a lot of potential customers and consumers. The banks, when it comes to consumers and money, are not making too much money because they are all after the same people and not one of them have a competitive advantage over each other with everyone on Main Street.

In Anderzejewski’s Efficiency he said, “His own two eyes are still the manager’s most useful mediums for keeping in touch with the details of his business” (p.44). The owners of the banks are trusting the management with the surveillance of the business and also to run it. All the banks have cameras, but the management are also part of surveillance for the company. The banks location are visible to the camera that are outside the business as well. Those cameras are operated by camera boxes that can be seen on other buildings that are also located on Main Street. This also can be added that having multiple eyes as a medium for managers provides even more detail and surveillance for the business. This is affecting Main Street as if it wasn’t a very safe place at one point in time.

The large amount of banks on Main Street usually means in the past there were less people wanting to come down Main Street. The old Main Street used to be broken down and looked a lot like housing development. Once USC started to bring in a lot of students the state started to clean the area up. The homeless got kicked out of staying in broken down homes, the building were renovated, and the old businesses that were there were either bought or had high cost for staying. Years afterward people started working and shopping on Main Street. The building were bought by mostly businesses that were established before coming to Main Street. All the banks that came were million dollar to billion dollar businesses that secured people’s money and help them with loans and refinancing cars and mortgages. After the banks there were hotels being built, also inside some of the hotels are restaurants that were very upscale type restaurants that the average joe doesn’t go to everyday. A cell phone service company called AT&T had a build and someone bought the building and is now off campus housing for students. The place is called The Hub and it’s very upscale and filled with USC students.

In Foucault’s “Eye of Power” He states that “A whole history remains to be written of space…” (p.149). This can be seen as if the history of Main Street is still to be written and can impact the banks within Main Street and round it. As time goes by the banks and other business will continue to grow or disappear, Main Street will improve more and more. The camera and the camera boxes will change into more advanced wireless camera and camera boxes. The more people show up the more they need surveillance and security on Main Street. We humans will continue to reproduce at a rapid rate so there are potential business opportunities for other places to make dorms and apartments. There can also be more professional jobs on Main Street for recent college graduates that come from University of South Carolina so they can keep them inside the state of South Carolina. The future of Main Street is looking promising for banks and businesses as a potential way to make more money. The businesses that deal with security will also make a nice profit from other businesses for security systems and cameras. Next, I will discuss how banks can relate to surveillance.

The banks are related to surveillance because of the importance of having a bank in the world. Banks hold money for you so you don’t have to hide money in your mattress, then won’t cry as hard when your house gets robbed or burned down. The major banks will start adopting new software for security to help with facial recognition of identifying criminal doing criminal activity in and outside the banks. Banks are hotspot for criminals therefore the security and the police are on high alert day and night. They watch us as we walk by to make sure we aren’t doing anything illegal and they also have hidden cameras that most people can’t see. These new cameras and software are very costly that can range from 100 thousand to 1 million dollars for the banks and stores to have them. This let the world know that freedom and protection isn’t free. Freedom and protection are going to those that are willing to pay top dollar to get it. This is why the government barks on every one of its citizens to have some form of insurance when it comes to these types of situations. Insurance is high for everyone and every business because they want to spend as little as possible so that they won’t have given a lot of money for people who will make a claim. This is what the banks have related to surveillance and we need to take notice of the way the government and businesses like the bank operate at our expense when it comes to surveillance.

In Mol’s “The Citizen and the Body” he states that “But citizenship is not just a matter of regulating the affairs of the state, it also impresses a specific shape on the relations between people” (p.30). This quote reflects that of the banks and their state of security of the employees and their customers should be top priority. The protection of the people is essential to the businesses and the state, and this is why both surveillance and security is crucial in today’s world. The social security card that you get as a citizen also helps with surveillance because it helps with keeping track of how the number of people in this country. The banks are surveillance institutions in their own right, just like the social security card is used to track and trace every one of the citizens in the country.

In this article I have state how the banks are place in strategic points and how the banks are related to surveillance. As I write this the one question I have to ask myself is if surveillance from the government in and of itself an illusion. I’ve always wondered if surveillance form the government is an illusion because the only thing they need to protect us from is the threat from outside the country. People like the terrorist and the anti-Americans from within the country. The people in power I think are using surveillance as a tool to keep track of use and trying to control us, such as what we view as normal in society and the expectations that goes along with it. I also think that the people in power don’t really care about what happens to average citizen because they only care about the money in their wallets. If we don’t do something about this we will eventually be like sheep that need a Shepard to guide us and the Shepard can do what he/she wants and guide us down the wrong path. This is the time we as citizens need to take action and find a way to change this country because it’s in dire straits. I believe that surveillance is a scam that the government is watching us and spying on us. If that were the case then any place with a working camera and face recognition software should be able to catch criminal quickly. If we are to hurt the people in control of the banks and politicians we need to find a way to destroy the money in their wallets, this way they will wake up and do better by us a citizens of the United States of America.

Work Cited

Foucault. “Eyes of Power” in C. Gordon, ed. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977. New York: Pantheon, 1980: 146-165 Print

Mol. Annemarie “The citizens and the body” Logic of Care Health and the Problem of Patient Choice 2007 28-41 Print

Vemer Anderzejewski, Anna. Chapter 2 “Efficiency” Building Power: Architecture and Surveillance in Victorian America. Knoxville, TN: The Univeristy of Tennessee Press, 2008 43-90 Print


When I was looking inside and around the banks I was saw alot of caution within the people at the banks as if they were making sure no one gets their information amd us it. It was what I expected because I once had my identity stolen and used for something at target as if someone hacked into the banks data based. Ever since that day my identity was stolen, I realized that no one is safe in this world.

I don't think the banking institutions were the main reason for revitalizing Main Street, but it might have come after Main Street was revitalized. They wanted the street to be safe for businesses before they came. Main Street will be alot bigger in the following years because alot of it is still open for new business once they see that Main Street is a great business opportunity because of its location alone.

I like that you talked about the history of Main street, I didn't know some of that stuff so it's interesting to see where it came from. Do you think that the consumer part of Main street will ever be replaced completely by banks? Does Main street have the potential to be a strict banking district?

No, I dont think everything will be replaced by banks because of the hotels and off campus housing. I don't think they would want Main Street to be a banking district because it could distract from the school USC and what it brings to the state.

I like the way in which your article focuses on the eye of power. Your article allows us to think about those who are surveilling and what their true incentives are. I believe surveillance is a means for people in power to protect their investments. We as consumers are also looked at as an investment from businesses. 

We could also be looked at as a liability if we don't spend money at the owners buisness. When I worked at Frankies Fun Park if you weren't spending money after a certain time of being their they would try to make you leave.

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