“GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION ON THE INTERNET”
By this paper, the author wants to study or at least clarify the main aspect involving how the people are affected by the knowing or unknowing of the techniques used by the government to surveillance the activities of the individuals in their use of the internet. Moreover, the topic of this paper is to discover whether there is a relationship between knowing that they are being monitored and how that affects to their political activities or participation.
The author widely uses the concept of the Panopticon, a type of prison, which was design by Jeremy Bentham in 1785. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe all prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell whether they are being watched. Basically, is a circular prison with its central observation tower, uses light and blinds to completely monitor inmates while eliminating the visibility of the guards. The inmates, unsure of the direction of the guard´s gaze, imagine the guards view their actions at all times and act as if they are watched so as to avoid punishment. Because the watchers remain hidden from the prisoners, the Panopticon requires few real guards. Although actual punishment is unlikely because of the small number of real guards, inmates internalize the prison’s rules by imagining they are being watched and gradually condition themselves through the repetition of normal behavior. To keep this facade of constant surveillance also requires the isolation of inmates. “The isolation of the convicts guarantees that it is possible to exercise over them, with maximum intensity, a power that will not be overthrown by any other influence; solitude is the primary condition of total submission” (Foucault, 1979, p. 237). This concept is used in the paper as a way of describing how the internet users feel when they know that all their activities in internet might be monitored by the government. In this context, the government is the guard of the prison and the internet users are the inmates. This system allows the guards to create a correct behavior for the inmates, so that when the inmates know that they are being watched they try to act in a correct way to avoid punishment. As Foucault said, individuals only accept surveillance’s normalizing influence to the degree that it remains hidden. And it cannot be hidden completely. Because the Panopticon’s surveillance techniques only condition when the inmates conjure the image of a watchful guard, this necessary aspect of control also dialectically produces the possibility of resistance (Digeser, 1992; Gordon, 2002). 1 IDA ‐ HÖGSKOLAN I BORÄS
Juan Alejandro Guerrero ‐ X090308 Consequences of IT in Business Enrique Ruz – X090224 2009‐10‐07 “Government Internet surveillance works to create docility among those most opposed to the regime by creating anxiety about whether dissenting online political activity may make them more of a focus of observation (Digeser, 1992; Foucualt, 1979).” Accordingly, this resistance can take the form of political activity. ANALYSIS OF ARGUMENTATION. IS THE AUTHOR TRUSTWORTHY?
When it comes to the data used to support the paper, we find ourselves divided between two ideas. We like the idea of using the data obtained in such a delicate situation in the EEUU history because the Iraq war made the American citizens to take the position in whether they support the government or they are ...