Essay about Privacy - It's Time to Control the Use of Electronic Surveillance

Essay about Privacy - It's Time to Control the Use of Electronic Surveillance

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It's Time to Control the Use of Electronic Surveillance

    How would you feel if every move you make, every word you say, every number you dial on the telephone, could easily be accessed or monitored by just about anyone in the world? Well, chances are that you and me and many others are currently, or have been, victims of this infringement on privacy. With today's ever growing technology, there is little one can do to ensure privacy in normal, every day life. Even though many benefits have come with this increased technology, the inherent loss of privacy scares many. In most cases, the use of such technology is taken too far, and if continued use of these technologies is to be permitted, then the law has some serious catching up to do to ensure proper use of them.



This notion of surveillance dates back to decades ago when Jeremy Bentham came up with the Panopticon in 1791. The Panopticon, or "all seeing place", was a penitentiary designed with a central tower that looked over cells that were positioned around it, such as spokes on a wheel. The cells were open on top which provided guards in the tower with an all time, unobstructed view of all the inmates. And through the use of wooden blinds and an intricate lighting system, the view from the inmates to the guards was blocked, this way the inmates never knew when they were being watched (Lyon 656).



Jeremy Bentham thought this was an excellent idea. "The Panopticon was to be a model prison. There was nowhere to hide, to be private. Not knowing whether or not they were watched, but obliged to assume that they were, obedience was the prisoner's only rational option" (Lyon 656). Bentham believed that "the more constantly ...

... middle of paper ...

...citizens from snooping, or the world will be populated by naked people with nowhere to hide" (Seife).



Sources Cited:

"Anxiety about wiretapping". Economist 14 Aug. 1999: 16

Bak, John. "Escaping the Jaundiced Eye: Foucauldian Panopticism in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper'". Studies in Short Fiction 31 (1994): 39-46

Lyon, David. "An Electronic Panopticon? A Sociological Critique of Surveillance Theory". Sociological Review 22 (1991): 653-77

Marsh, Ann. "No place to hide" Forbes 160 (1997): 226-34

Salkever, Alex. "Too many unseen cameras? Drawing a line". Christian Science Monitor 90 (1998): 1-3

Seife, Charles. "Look behind you". New Scientist 9 May 1998: 54

Vest, Jason. "Tap, Tap... Who's There?". Village Voice 17 Aug. 1999: 44

"Watching me, Watching you". New scientist 12 Apr. 1997: 3


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