Panopticism in the Digital Age

In relation to Foucault’s perspective of panopticism, our modern society uses digital platforms such as Google, Bing, Instagram, Facebook, and many more platforms as a way to force people to behave properly. Posting or searching for certain content can flag or alert the government of improper usage of said platforms. Every device that can be  connected to a network, no matter if it’s a computer, tablet, or a smartphone; it is assigned a unique IP address. These IP addresses allow for each device to be identified and easily distinguishable when on a network. This means that  when using search engine platforms like Google, Bing, or Yahoo on a device and looking up inappropriate content the  device can be flagged and matched  to the person who is misusing the platform. For example, someone who is committing a heinous crime such as sexual predators, terrorists, hackers, etc. This is just an example of how the  government can surveil its people and force us to behave properly. Those who misbehave are at risk of being arrested. In addition to search engine platforms, social media platforms can be another way for people to be monitored. When people post inappropriate content that contains sexual nudity, racist/discriminatory ideology, or statements that are considered a threat or dangerous can be flagged and their page will either be frozen so that they are unable to create new content for a certain period or their page will be completely deleted. This is how panopticism is embedded into our society, and the government justifies it as a way to serve and protect. Yet, there are individuals who use encryption tools and anonymous software to hide themselves from the government’s surveillance. Those types of software are used to help individuals protect their personal data from viewers with unauthorized access.  These software programs are used to disrupt the panoptic gaze.  

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