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Monitoring as Surveillance (Panopticon)



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Monitoring as Surveillance (Panopticon)

veryard projects > kmoi > monitoring > surveillance

Surveillance is a process of keeping people (such as customers and employees) under close supervision.

Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon was originally a prison so designed that the warder could watch all the prisoners at the same time. By extension, this term is used to describe any technical or institutional arrangement to watch/ monitor large numbers of people. It forms part of Foucault's analysis of discipline, and provides a useful metaphor for various modern technologies

The panopticon provides surveillance, and may result in a loss of privacy for the people being watched / monitored, but may also make people feel they are being looked after (better quality of service, safer). If you know you’re being watched, this may trigger various feelings – both positive and negative.

Besides the impact on the people being watched, the pantopticon often has an adverse effect on the watcher. The panopticon gives the illusion of transparency and completeness – so the watcher comes to believe three fallacies (related to the fallacy of omniscience)

Thus for example, instead of customer relationship management (CRM) promoting better relationships with the customer, it becomes a bureaucratic obsession with the content of the customer database.
more Monitoring at Work (UK Data Protection)

Some Problems with Employee Monitoring (University of Virginia)

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This page last updated on July 9th, 2004
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