One of the horrors of the communist police-states of Eastern Europe was the incredible amount of information that the police force kept on the general population. This was often not gathered just by them but also by a large proportion of the population who were informants. Or so I recall reading from the general journalism I read at the time.

With the technology that is at hand - drones, cameras, the internet, information technology - eventually virtually faultless voice, face & person recognition and language translation - we have what looks like an eventually inevitable surveillance apparatus. At present this is in the hands of government agencies and commercial enterprises.

Are any philosophers investigating the ramifications and ethics of these technologies converging in this way. What are their main concerns?

For example, I've come across the term panoptician by the 18th Century English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Is this still the central image around which theories of surveillance are built around?

Foucault took up this image of the Panoptician in his book Discipline & Punish. He retains this image whilst altering its topology (the circle) and makes it pervasive. Although he doesn't take into account - as he couldn't - modern technology. How well does it fit into his paradigm? Who are his most prominent critics?

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    I believe Foucault's notion of disciplinary power gains even more traction with the advent of modern technology. You might want to look, for example, at Agamben's short essay "What is an apparatus?" (start with the last 3 pages to make sure it works for you; very easy to find online) – Dzmitry Tsapkou May 15 '13 at 21:03

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