In the recent past, government institutions and employers have employed the use of electronic surveillance devices as a way of obtaining information. Some of these devices include video surveillance, spying, computer monitoring, wiretapping as well as investigators. The government and employers justify their use of surveillance as a way of preventing fraud and theft, enhancing employee integrity, and monitor the movement of service users. O’Farrell (2005, p. 128) observes that, in the study of panopticism by Foucault, there is a discussion of the phenomenon known as “visibility is a trap.” To Foucault, the surveillance that characterizes panoptic prisons can be regarded as both modern and clinical.
According to Foucault, the earliest eras of civilization featured extremely violent as well as brutal methods used for punishment. During those times, the main forms of violence included savage beatings, hanging, quartering, as well as the use of torture devices. However, with the advent of modernity, such modes of punishment became less common due to more modern forms of surveillance (O’Farrell, 2005). The setting up of the panoptic prison allows the guards to have the ability to overlook prisoners. The cells are set up in such a way that they can be regarded as individualized and visible from the tower so as to prevent any possibility of uprisings, riots, as well as the mixing of the inmates.
Foucault describes how the cells have been designed to provide clarity, order, discipline and segregation. A supervisor on top of a tower that has windows with panels monitors the inmates, without the knowledge of the inmates. While the supervisor is locked in the tower, the prisoners stay in places where the supervisor can be able to see them (O’Farrell 2005, p. 130). In analyzing the argument of Foucault, the power of the supervisor is established through the way he watched over the inmates and visibility becomes the trap. In the modern world of surveillance,