Category Archives: Panopticon

Student Posts – Cryptography 2019-11-11 00:04:29

“When inmates believe they are being watched, they conform to what they believe to be the norms of the prison and the expectations of their jailors. Surveillance is a mechanism by which powerful entities assert their power over less powerful individuals.” (74) This immediately reminds me of the panopticon, a completely surveilled prison design of […] Continue reading

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Ineffective but Accurate

Philosopher Jeremy Bentham introduced a design he called a panopticon (“all seeing”) to be used in prisons or institutions such that all inmates can be watched by a single guard. Although there aren’t any structures of this model in existence, the concept can be viewed as a symbol for modern government surveillance. Benjamin Walker argues […] Continue reading

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The Panopticon Metapaphor isn’t All That Bad…. Sue Me

In the 18th century, philosopher Jeremy Bentham designed the Panopticon, meant for prisoners to be monitored by an all seeing guard, who himself, could not be seen. Comparing this to surveillance now, particular regarding the internet, even thought the metaphor is kind of bad. It is not too far off of what could be happening. […] Continue reading

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The Panopticon as a Faulty Metaphor

Philosopher Jeremy Bentham came up with the idea of the Panopticon: a prison where a guard is located in a tower. He can see all the prisoners, but the prisoners can not see him. In addition, the prisoners are not aware if they are being watched or not. As a result, prisoners act on their […] Continue reading

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We Don’t Care That We’re Being Watched

The principle problem of the Panopticon metaphor is rooted in Bentham’s original purpose for the structure: behavioral modification. As Walker puts it, Bentham believed that the mere act of being being watched constantly would alter a person’s behavior, adding a layer of accountability and therefore pushing the person in question towards a more moral or […] Continue reading

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The Panopticon Isn’t That Bad… But It’s Not Good Either

As explained in the podcast, the Panopticon is essentially the idea of a tower that looks over a prison. The tower is illuminated so that the guard in the tower can see the inmates, but the inmates cannot see the guard. Although this could used to exemplify today’s government surveillance, Walker disagrees, saying that it […] Continue reading

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Too Many Eyes to Fit in the Panopticon’s Tower

I would agree with Walker’s claim that the Panopticon is not an accurate metaphor for the average human’s interaction with surveillance today. While it could be argued that the government does watch over us and large corporations do silently collect our data, most people are not aware of this and thus it does not enact […] Continue reading

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The Walls Are Very Porous

Jeremy Bentham’s great theory was the Panopticon: a hypothetical prison design in which all inmates could be seen and observed by those in charge, but the inmates themselves could not see the observers, nor could they see any other inmates. It’s an interesting concept to think about in theory, but it is not useful as […] Continue reading

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The Prison Metaphor

Jeremy Bentham’s invention, the panopticon, should never have become a metaphor. The panopticon at its core remains a prison. When Jeremy Bentham introduced it, the majority of its benefits that he presented came as a direct consequence of the isolation that prisoners faced. Bentham brings up the inability of prisoners to communicate with each other […] Continue reading

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We Live in a Panopticon, Here’s Why

The concept of the panopticon in a practical sense seems inefficient, as the whole idea of it builds of the power on the individuality of the worker. The idea that without collaboration, there is no workplace interference that would slow workers down. In principle, leading to increased productivity. However without workers collaborating on projects and […] Continue reading

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