C. Dianne Martin is Emeritus Professor of Computer Science at George Washington University, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Information, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been teaching Computers and Society since 1983.
This article is adapted from one published March, 2013, in the ACM SIGCSE Inroads Magazine.
In 1787 Jeremy Bentham, the British Utilitarian philosopher and penal reform theorist, wrote a series of letters in which he proposed a Panopticon (all-seeing), also called The Inspection-House. His letters put forward “the idea of a new principle of construction applicable to any sort of establishment, in which persons of any description are to be kept under inspection”. For the next 16 years he was obsessed with the desire to implement his model prison design, which he believed would transform penal methods by drastically cutting cost through significant downsizing of the workforce needed to oversee prison populations. He also felt such prisons would have positive moral value to the prisoners.Read More »