Beyond the scope and scale of a panopticism prison or school, but as a cultural and a societal norm, surveillance, which is neither good or bad in its own right, is only given approval or disapproval when the masses speak, and if millions protested that there was no civil right to track the lives of individuals, then governments would establish policy, but as much as some don’t like the idea of their shrinking private world, there’s only a few standing in the way.

I like my privacy, but I’ve come to learn and understand that if I want to live in a place as free as Canada that I need to appreciate the systems and mechanisms that are in place for our freedom. Somewhat circular logic I know, but the more secure the perimeter, the safer and the more freedom we have inside, and if we want less security and more freedom we can leave.   

Whether this perimeter is the national border, a prison, or your Terms and Conditions Agreement, No one has forced this upon you. You still have to make the choice. And if the terms and conditions of society are too much for you then go stake a claim on a piece of land and do it all on your own. Nobody has a gun to your head; likely in large due to these systems. But, this doesn’t mean you will be completely free from surveillance however.

There’s just so many different forms and levels of security that it’s nearly impossible to monitor all of them unless you choose to make a career of it – actively pursuing new stronghold technologies. Thus, we have overlappage – local police and national police – Vancouver police and RCMP for example – ruling out probabilities of embezzlement, fraud, corruption, and untimely failure of either local or national system.

Prisons need walls and monitoring as much if not more than the center of the panopticon.The problems with the image of panoptic prison is that prisoners don’t sit in their cells all day every day, it’s illegal these days and moreover, inmates far too profitable to have them locked up 24/7. Prisons and prisoners are rendering services and products sold to market, and their paid well to do these jobs.

One way or another, we are all prisoners to surveillance, and thus being experimented on as if in a laboratory, for narcissistic and holistic reasons. Some just want to understand how to make the workplace a better functioning organismic operation, while others just want more control and power.

I think this is why most people don’t read their terms and conditions – they’ve already surrendered to the notion of handing everything over to the watchful eye. Some T&C I read thoroughly, others not at all knowing they’re going to do what they want with my info, and if I want to participate then I must surrender.

We all have our own threshold of tolerance for privacy and surveillance, but act in another way altogether. Who doesn’t have a Facebook account? I can only image the levels of hierarchy in surveillance in which we live. But, one way or another, one needs to find a comfort level that works for them. You may not be able to control who watches you, but you can control the extent of your knowledge by employing systems of your own, or giving in altogether by kick’n it in the forest.

That being said, Foucault argues that no matter how you break it down, no matter how distant you may be from society and the watchful eye, you are still going to have a surveillant eye over yourself; that you will succumb to panoptic power even in the absence of prison walls and street cameras. The whole ideology of self-control, or discipline, is in itself surveillance – self-surveillance. Self-surveillance seems as rudimentary as not eating all your harvest in the first months, yet ultimately, it’s only an extension of illuminati. Diets, New Years’ resolutions, schedules, even personal grooming enters this realm, and as my professor says: “”we” (the modern subject) are impossible without disciplinary regimes and self-surveillance. Strip those away, and what are we left with?”

I believe Garrett Kiezer said it’s a “choice or a lie” and “this is why we have scholars and jurists,” we choose to be submissive.





  1. Sandee Tranfield

    Interesting how you automatically pair privacy and surveillance together. As a fellow Canadian I can appreciate the somewhat circular logic you stated in regards to systems and mechanisms and how they afford a “safe” freedom for us all.This seems especially evident after the most recent USA presidential election, and how unsafe the USA now feels to many individuals and groups.
    “We” have always thought of Canada as being “safer” than the USA, and looking at some statistics we are safer. Yet we are all under surveillance, and this being under surveillance and being accountable only seems to increase with more time and energy being connected to technology.
    I sometimes feel like I am living in a dystopia, (1984. The Handmaid’s Tale. The Giver, The Matrix, The War of the Worlds, The 13th Monkey, The Postman, and the most recent The Hunger Games), with a high level of surveillance and the distinct pattern of dictatorship, with little or no privacy. The theme I find resonants the strongest is that we are under surveillance and manipulated more than we are conscious of. That privacy is just an illusion. Once we connect to technology- there is no way to disconnect. Financially, Professionally, Personally, Socially we are “out” there, must of us do have facebook, but not all. Do we all contribute to the social media craze by buying into this social medium, yeap? Just another opportunity for the mass media to program us into sheep, with fear mongering and alternative facts. What is a trusted source, makes you wonder?
    Yes, we are all prisoners of surveillance and yes we are being experimented on. We have been for years, to what extent? Good question, will we ever know? Yet with all this surveillance we are still not safe. What about the missing women, the kidnappings, the pedophiles? So is this surveillance as good as we are lead to believe? Do we breach our privacy and our own confidentiality by using online services?
    Submissive – do we choose? or does society choose for us? Can we really choose when most of the world’s wealth and resources are controlled by so few? Is there independent thought or are we all just sheep? Sure we can kick it in the forest and live off the land, but can we escape the self-surveillant attitude societal and family values impart on us? The self-surveillant, self-control or self-discipline systems have been indoctrinated into our beings, so what does happen when “we” don’t have them? Do we grapple to hold onto them so that we know where to fit in? Do we let them go and become a hedonistic anarchy society?
    We, or most of us obtain a moral compass to help guide us in our lives with regards to levels of acceptable behaviour and self discipline. This moral compass that is imposed by our values and beliefs will also dictate the consideration of privacy and surveillance in our lives. How will the next generations deal with the lack of privacy and tighten surveillance. Will they have to surrender to participate as you so eloquently stated? Have “we” surrendered so “‘we” can participate?
    You mentioned finding a comfort level that works for each individual, but do “we” have a choice how far down the rabbit hole “we” go or is that dictated as well by prior knowledge, and possibly “big brother”? For the last 22 years living in the forest and having my head in the sand has not made me any less of a participant in this crazy world of breached boundaries, if anything I feel at a huge disadvantage and a little lost at times because I don’t comprehend the privacy and surveillance issues to the extent that I believe “we” should. My instinctive comfort level is to go further into the forest, and bury my head further in the sand but I think I would not be doing myself any favours, as tempting as the thought is. I have not lived off grid or away, and have had a peripheral view on the advancement of technology and its impacts on privacy and surveillance in my life, but thankfully I live in a place where I can walk anywhere day or night without the fear of attack. The fear of a breach in my privacy or surveillance is far less than the average North American would experience. However, admittedly I have become submissive in terms of living within the society I exist in and accepting their terms and conditions, so perhaps I am just another sheep swallowing whatever gets shoved down my rabbit hole.

  2. Thanks Sandee. You brought up a few key factor I completely overlooked – such as the fact of all these missing women, the kidnappings, the pedophiles, and rabbit holes…

    All of it does seem a little daunting and depressing at times. But I try to look on the up and up, and I remember making the decision to stick it out here with conditions as they over packing up and finding a beach to camp out on for the rest of my days. Something in me calls for a challenge; a higher calling in life; and I”m convinced the way to achieve this is to get an education and create roots in our society as heavily watched as it may be.

    As you mention, creating an online presence sure doesn’t help one’s cause for privacy, but in fact quite the opposite. Especially today with tools Like Facebook where anyone can snoop around without your knowledge of the fact. But I indulge, becuase I feel that if I don’t keep up, in a sense, that I’ll quickly be left behind, and I don’t want to be the baby boomer of our generation that doesn’t even know how to turn on a computer. One of my parents is still afraid of ATMs, nevermind FB and all the rest. In the same way with music – I try to listen to new stuff every year – keeping up with the times, so that I don’t get stuck in my generations frame of mind, judging those who choose to live their lives in a way my generation was not apt for.

    Anyways, thanks for your thoughts Sanddee

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