Exercise 4.2

Panopticism.  If I was to describe Panopticism is the simplist way it would be a way of observing a population.  For example a prison where by a guard can be at the top of the prison and have a visual on all of the inmates through the design of the prison however they could not see him.  The prison guards part of the prison would be built in such a way that not even  a shadow or light from a door opening would advise if he was there or what direction he would be looking.  The prisoners cannot see their cell mates or those next door to them.  The idea is they would behave as they could never be sure when they were being watched and this doubt left them always assuming at any moment someone is watching them.

If I am to take this example into a digital world we are living in it. From the highest point google maps, with its street view and various satellites we can be observed at any point.  This is evident in the photographers ,Mishka Henner’sproject No Man’s Land (2011) .  We are also observed by the many cameras around most towns and cities.  This is evident from footage often put out there for police to locate those under criminal investigaton.  Society has created an environment also however with our social media.  We use it to connect to others, to find work, to create contacts for business.  It has become an essential part of everyday life however it is also controlled similar to those in the prison we may not be able to see those closest to us or know who is looking at us when.  We know employers use it to see what prospective employees are like in real life.  We can protect what we put out there and choose who can see certain things but again government bodies and hackers can surely access this.  Our clicks on the computer are recorded with various programmes and so a profile is created as to what we might purchase for advertisers. These controls are also used by police for anti criminal or “terrorist” behaviour.  They create profiles of people.  The video recorder or voice recorder on our phones and computers can be used to listen in on our conversations.  We are not always aware of this.  We are being controlled.  Of course we could switch off all devices throw them away but in society today this could alienate us and there would still be the question of satellite cameras and surveillance cameras.  It is strange how this technology has crept into society so well and how acceptable it is to all now that we no longer take note we are being watched.  Had all of this technology been introduced by a government over a short period of time in the 1950’s for example there would surely have been uproar but no one seems to take note we see it as a necessary part of society today.  Perhaps next we will be filmed in our homes to prevent domestic crimes or invaders in our homes.  This technology is already there in video surveillance and to connect to the police if required soon it may just be normal.  We say if we have nothing to hide it is irrelevant but if we look to history when women could be accused of being witches and burned or communism was  considered a crime in the US and anyone who had ever spoken to a communist or attended a meeting of a known communist could be imprisoned.  A world where being Jewish let to you being put in concentration camps.  Do we have all this faith in our governments that they would never become radical or corrupt to the point that this surveillance and system of Panopticism could become a danger to us.  There are parts of the world currently if we look at Egypt, Venezuela where government are arresting those who have blogs which they consider anti government.  So these days we are the inmates in prison being watched.


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