Mass Surveillance and the Panopticon Analysis Essay

1447 Words 6 Pages
In Michael Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish”, the late eighteen century English philosopher Jeremy Bentham's model of Panopticon was illustrated as a metaphor for the contemporary technologies of mass surveillance.
Originally derived from the measures to control “abnormal beings” against the spreading of a plague, the Panopticon is an architecture designed to induce power with a permanent sense of visibility. With a tower in the center, surrounded by cells, the prisoners can be monitored and watched at any given time from the central tower. The goal of this architectural plan was to strip away any privacy and therefore create fear induced self-regulation amongst the prisoners, with an unverifiable gaze - The prisoners can never
…show more content…
Just a gaze. An inspecting gaze, a gaze which each individual under its weight will end by interiorising to the point that he is his own overseer, each individual thus exercising this surveillance over, and against, himself. A superb formula: power exercised continuously and for what turns out to be a minimal cost. (Foucault) ”
Despite the dehumanizing effect of Panopticon as an disciplinary mechanism based on constant observation and examination with every movement supervised and all events recorded. The Panopticon system as one of the most effective and economic models of exercising power and control over an constantly increasing population, soon became a formula, wide spread throughout our society. Along with the growing ethnology and capitalist economy, various methods of Panopticon through mass surveillance soon earned it’s place in numerous regimes, becoming one of the most infinitely expandable Panopticon of the contemporary society.
Schools, factories, hospitals and prisons today resemble each other, they are fit into the format of a panopticon structure, examining pupils, workers, patients and prisoners at any given time. When we enter a building, make a phone call, purchase with a credit card, or visit a website, we are being watched, if not recorded, analyzed. The increasing use of surveillance by commercial and government entities caused the technology to become omnipresent in our lives. With the name of…