Not Saussure

October 12, 2006

The Panopticon at the airport

Filed under: civil liberties — notsaussure @ 7:22 pm

Boing Boing comments, a propos a BBC report, that

A Hungarian airport has been bilked into trying an insane scheme to RFID-track every passenger. This panopticon was invented by snake-oil salesmen from University College London. It will track every passenger to within one meter, and it will contain countermeasures to prevent passengers from removing or trading their snitch-tags. The idea is that “safety” is something abstract that can be enhanced by treating air travellers like rapists on day-release — as opposed to each traveller’s personal security of being free, and un-spied-upon.

The term ‘panopticon‘ is very appropriate, given the idea’s provenance; the panopticon was invented by Jeremy Bentham, the founder of University College.


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