Thursday, February 14, 2008

Surveiller et punir

If Michel Foucault were still alive, he would get a frisson at the government's latest idea for a means of preventing U.S. servicemen and Defense Department personnel from committing crimes:

Surveillance cameras.

Engage the Panopticon!

Let me see if I understand this.

The Marines (and sailors and soldiers) are here to protect the nation from its enemies...and yet we are going to go to the expense of putting up surveillance cameras all around the exteriors of the bases to keep an eye on those Marines (and sailors and soldiers) at all times...because they pose a threat to the local population.

At some point, the imposition of ever more layers of security measures to counteract the unintended deleterious effects of previously imposed security measures starts looking a bit...bizarre.

8 comments:

Janne Morén said...

No stranger than having cameras at police stations to make sure suspects are not mistreated during interrogations. If there's anybody who needs watching it is the watchers, after all.

MTC said...

Herr Morén -

Yes, but in the case of the police station cameras, they would be to prevent the guardians from abusing the purported enemies of the people, while in the case of the cameras around the bases, they would be to prevent the guardians from abusing the people themselves.

Oh, and once more, congratulations on your recent nuptuals.

MTC said...

Irrkkk!

That should be "nuptials"...

The mind...it slips...Fridays...

Janne Morén said...

Of course, a potential suspect isn't an enemy of anybody until you actually prove they committed a crime. Anyway, in both cases the purpose is to guard against human fallibility among people entrusted with power. Not a bad thing.

Thank you! I wonder why it's nuptials, by the way; I mean, it's only one marriage, not several. Unless you're Mormon, I guess.

MTC said...

Herr Morén -

"Of course, a potential suspect isn't an enemy of anybody until you actually prove they committed a crime."

Please promise me that you will never try that line of reasoning upon a Japanese police officer.

Janne Morén said...

I wouldn't try that line on any policeman; Japanese, Swedish or otherwise. I rather like my face, homely as it is, and would not appreciate getting it smashed from "accidentally falling down a flight of stairs".

Which is why security cameras are best used pointed at the watchers, not away from them.

blog49 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MTC said...

blog spam above