Data Collection and Its Effect on Privacy

In 1787, British philosopher and social reformer Jeremy Bentham traveled to Krichev in White Russia and, with his brother Samuel, developed a radically new idea for a prison, which he called the “Panopticon.”1 What made his concept so different was that the inmates could be watched at all times, and they knew it. Cruel and unusual? Bentham called it “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind.”2 Whether this new model prison would have reformed or punished better than others that then existed was never determined. It was not built. What remains significant about the Panopticon is that, to a late-eighteenth-century social reformer such as Bentham, the most effective punishment imaginable ...

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