Ramblings on having privacy in public spaces

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bentham Vs Foucault and then Schneir

Jeremy Bentham famous for his conversations on “The greatest good for the greatest number”, described a Panopticon system of prison management, in which a single guard can watch over many prisoners while the guard remains unseen.

Michel Foucault argues that “visibility is a trap”. It is through this visibility, Foucault writes, that modern society exercises its controlling systems of power and knowledge. Increasing visibility leads to power, shown by the possibility for institutions to track individuals throughout their lives. Foucault suggests that a “carceral continuum” runs through modern society, from the maximum security prison, through secure accommodation, probation, social workers, police, and teachers, to our everyday working and domestic lives. All are connected by the (witting or unwitting) supervision (surveillance, application of norms of acceptable behaviour) of some humans by others. (Wikipedia)

How does one draw the line between securing the society from crimes, attacks, and making people still enjoy services? Bruce Schneir attempts to ask the same question. “Too many wrongly characterize the debate as security versus Privacy. The real choice is liberty Versus Control. And liberty requires security as well as privacy. “ Very well said. (Wired Magazine, The Eternal Value of Privacy).

Here we understand how privacy becomes a victim of power relations amongst the provider and the consumer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I begin on internet with a directory