In the 18th century, utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham designed what he called the Panoptican, a type of institutional building and system of constant surveillance and control. Although Bentham focussed primarily on his design for a prison, he argued that his basic plan was equally applicable to hospitals, schools, sanatoriums, and asylums. The concept of the design is to allow all prisoners of an institution to be observed by a single security guard, without the inmates being able to tell when they are being watched, and thus compelling them to behave as though they are being watched all the time.
Bentham never saw a Panopticon built in his lifetime, but a number of prisons have since incorporated panopticon elements into their design, and Michel Foucault revitalized interest in the Panopticon in his 1975 book Discipline and Punish. “The Panopticon prisoner is seen,” he wrote, “but he does not see; he is an object of information, never a subject in communication.” The Panopticon has since become a metaphor for widely encompassing surveillance systems, some of which we considered in this show.
1) Gorgon Stare is a new aerial surveillance system named after the snake-headed Greek mythological sisters whose stare could turn a person to stone. CRD spoke to Tracy Rosenberg.
2) Max Blumenthal and CJ Hopkins have both been censored for deviating from the received narrative about COVID-19. This is an excerpt from their more than hour long conversation on Blumenthal’s new podcast “Foreign Agents” on the Rokfin platform.
3) Nick Espinosa explains how Mark Zuckerberg lied to users and the US Senate about privacy protection in WhatsApp.
4) Algorithms that schedule work, Amazon deliveries, and Uber routes put workers at great risk. Steve Seltzer spoke to Amazon and Uber drivers.
This show was produced by Polina Vasiliev and Ann Garrison.
Our executive producers are Akua Holt, Polina Vasiliev, and Steve Zeltzer.
You can find this and all previous episodes on this website.
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Theme music from “The Matrix Resurrection”
“Somebody’s Watching Me,” by Rockwell and Michael Jackson.
“Computerwelt” by Kraftwerk.
“Spybreak” by Propellerhead.