FBI vs. Orwell vs. Foucault

Open Geography

This image attracted a lot of attention around the web today:

The text on the left is from a story in the Washington Post which discusses the FBI’s ability to exploit laptop cameras without enabling the indicator light.  The text on the right is from Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four discussing the dystopian state’s capability to view any given citizen unknowingly through their telescreen. (The comparison was tweeted out by @tinyrevolution.)

To which we can add:

Foucault DP

Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, page 201.

This was originally published (in French) in 1975, well after Orwell’s book. So Orwell was first with the idea? Not so fast! Foucault is discussing the ideas of the social reformer Jeremy Bentham, who proposed the idea of the “panopticon” (all-seeing) in the late 18th century. According to one history, there are at least 300 prisons worldwide built on panoptic principles. You can see a classic illustration

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About anthony

Urban.Studies.Energy.Politics.Ecology.

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