Government Surveillance: Protection vs. Privacy

1948 words 8 pages
According to NATO, North American Treaty Organization, the three duties of a government are, to Protect, Preserve, and Provide for the nation that it governs. However it is not all so simple, in order to protect the country, it has to be on guard, watching for threats and dealing with them accordingly. In my reading of the following texts my ideas concerning governments using their power to fulfill their duty to protect while also maintaining the privacy of the people. Waiting for the Barbarians, written by J.M. Coetzee, focuses on a nameless empire, which at the furthest reaches of its borders has the seemingly benign threat of barbarian attack. Following that is “In the Penal Colony” by Franz Kafka, looks at a penal society which has …show more content…

A Panopticon can also be used as a hospital, factory or even a school. A panopticon is an extremely powerful ways to protect or control a group of people. It is fairly inexpensive, versatile, and efficient, however, the reason that it has not caught on is because it is a complete invasion of privacy. Privacy is non-existent for the people inside the panopticon and nowadays we feel entitled to privacy. A panopticon could be the epitome of surveillance where one person can watch over many, however its total lack of privacy makes it unusable by our society’s standards. “Visible Man” looks at privacy and uses examples like a panopticon to give a modern perspective on privacy. Singer’s ideas on privacy stretch from when privacy was a foreign concept to many back when entire families would share a single room to today where we all expect our privacy to be sustained. The panopticon was an idea proposed long ago but has a modern equivalent which is equally infringing on privacy. A modern panopticon is not a building, and is effective without the constant watch of an overseer. As Singer puts it “Bentham’s Panopticon has become a symbol of as the states erroneous interpretation of the information it uncovers and the unwarranted detentions that come about as a result. If those same powers were used to foil another 9/11, most Americans would likely applaud.” (Singer 33). Modern technology allows us to unsuspectingly


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