Living in a Virtual Panopticon?

With the recent revelation that three major telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA to collect the phone records of millions of average Americans, the discussion of how to balance civil liberties and national security seems more important now than ever before. Is it safe to say that we are now all living in a virtual panopticon? A surveillance society?

The library has a number of books on this topic for those interested in learning more. Here are some recent titles:
No Place to Hide
Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping
Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints
The End of Privacy: How Total Surveillance is Becoming a Reality
The Naked Employee: How Technology is Compromising Workplace Privacy
The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror
Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID

Comments

And then, of course, there is Foucault, who wrote at length about surveillance societies. His book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison has an extended analysis of the panopticon as both disciplinary method and metaphor. Times like these you start to wonder if the Structuralists were right after all.