Bentham Opticon In The Digital World

Bentham Opticon In The Digital World

Table of contents

No heading

No headings in the article.

Jeremy Bentham created a plan for a modern prison where all the cells of the prisoners would be in a circle and there would be a central watchtower through which the guard could look at the prisoners but the prisoners would not be able to see if they were being watched. This would in the mind of prisoners create a fear of being watched every time of the day thus enforcing forced self-regulation.

If you think about it, we are living in a similar prison setup where we don't know if we are being watched or not online. Every post that you like or every comment that you make is being tracked by various governments across the globe.

In fact, as per the latest report by, a record high of 41 governments have blocked websites with political, religious, and social content.

The fear of being watched by the government or any organization does not make people by themselves rather they are now more conscious of themselves. On the one hand, I believe it's making the internet a safe place for everyone, however, on the other hand, it appears that with all the surveillance the internet is not a place where people could be themselves like a few years back.

Cambridge Analytica scandal and The Snowden Revelations are brilliant examples of how governments were keeping a tab on their citizen's online activity. In fact not only the governments but also the social media giants have been accused of tracking their user activity even if the users are not using the services.

The core principle here is that the prisoners (in this case it's the users of the internet) are unaware of being tracked and thus self-regulating themselves.

In conclusion, the 18th-century concept is more relatable than ever before, and the core concept of self-regulation is relevant with every click that happens on the internet.