Michel Foucault’s concept of panopticism describes a form of social control in which individuals are constantly monitored and self-regulate their behavior to conform to societal norms. One way in which panopticism has been embedded in our society is through the proliferation of surveillance technologies. Cameras are now ubiquitous in public spaces, and individuals can be tracked through their use of mobile phones, credit cards, and social media. Whether it is security cameras in stores and on streets, the gps in your phone, text messages and phones connecting to iCloud, poeople are under constant seurvaiulance. The widespread use of facial recognition technology further amplifies this surveillance, allowing for individuals to be identified and tracked without their knowledge or consent. Over spring break, I went to California to vistis and friend and she went into a local restaurant with digital irdeirng booths, looking at the machine, and it scanned her face, knew her name, credit card info, and regular order. Although seemmlingly harmless and efficient, it has dangerous imlications for storing information only based on a persons face.
The belief that one is being watched through these technologies creates a sense of self-regulation, where individuals alter their behavior to conform to societal norms. For example, individuals may be less likely to engage in a disorderly way in public, steal, or even do things at parties or social outings that they think aren’t socially acceptable in the presence of surveillance technologies. This self-regulation reinforces the power structures that exist in society, as individuals are encouraged to comply with established norms and values.
This sense of constant surveillance could also have an effect on free speech and other forms of expression. If people believe that their actions and words are being monitored and recorded, they may be less likely to act in ways that disrupt or that could challenge the status quo. This can have significant implications for the future of democratic societies, where the ability to express different opinions and being able to challenge power structures we believe are wrong is crucial for ensuring accountability and advocating for social justice.