Dataveillance is ‘the monitoring of citizens on the basis of their online data’ (Van Dijck, 2014). Furthermore, ‘[..] dataveillance entails the continuous tracking of (meta)data for unstated preset purposes’ (Van Dijck, 2014).

Two broader concepts come to mind here: datafication and dataism. Dataism refers to a widespread solid belief in the objectivity and the possibilities of large amounts of data (Van Dijck, 2014). Datafication is the transformation of social (inter)action into online quantified data; or the quantification of sociality so to speak (Van Dijck, 2014).

In this context, data is a resource used to predict future behavior. Data makes it possible to understand things about human behavior which were never likely to be seen, detected, or interpreted as easily, if at all (Van Dijck, 2014). As WiFi tracking uses the (WiFi) data of mobile devices, we can see this practice as an example of datafication and dataveillance as well.


van Dijck, J. (2014). Datafiction, dataism and dataveillance: Big Data between scientific paradigm and secular belief. Surveillance & Society, 12(2), 197-208.