The Benefactor is protecting you!


Zamyatin, Russian writer of the dystopian novel We, described the Panopticon-like One State and explained how the citizens of the One State, the Benefactor were protected.

Today, what does the panopticon mean in the age of digital surveillance? Is it our benefactor or on the contrary our malefactor? Both Zamyatin and Orwell – author of the 1984novel – see the panopticism with their sarcastic eyes as either the Benefactor or the Big Brother truly make you safe and happy.

They are right! Foucault discussed the major effect of Bentham Panopticon in his book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Panopticon is nothing else than a laboratory where conscious and permanent visibility assures the automatic functioning of power.

We know that in the era of Big Data, our behaviors have changed.

On the one hand, it could be a natural reaction to the fact that everything we have done can be publicly exposed. Amazon Fresh knows your tastes of food, Netflix proposes the movies that you may like, Youtube recommends the videos that you would love to watch. In China, the government would soon rate its own citizens via their online behavior. Social cooling, resulting from our self-censorship, is a unintended side effect of Big Data as internet becomes now a digital panopticon, continuously controlling our actions. That explains why in some European countries, people claim the right to forget and the right to privacy. It is not the case now in the United States where the internet neutrality has been recently abandoned and restaurants can use monitoring software to reduce theft and increase productivity.

On the other hand, the breakthrough of surveillance technologies makes the question of worthiness more insightful. Are surveillance cameras worth it as we know that none of the cameras on the Times Square contributed to preventing the bombing in 2010 and only one crime is resolved out of one thousand cameras in London each year? We have no true answer to these questions but we know that in some cases, it can be good and in some case it can be bad. The cyborg insect drones can be useful if limited to military use. Likewise, the body cams wore by the police officers can be a good thing to do as the use of officer worn cameras reduced the rate of use-of-force incidents by 59 percent. Even in France, a country where the privacy is very well protected, the government decided to deploy the use of body cam by the police officers as the good effects outperforms greatly the side-effect.

In conclusion, there is always a trade-off between privacy and surveillance. It is not a new subject but it becomes a ubiquitous question that not only governments but also corporations and individuals encounter every day in the Big Data era.








My first blog


Hi everyone,

It is the first time that I’ve written a post on internet. Indeed, I am very skeptic about internet and privacy.

That is the reason why this fall 2018 I want to take the class of Professor Waldo –¬†Technology, Privacy, and the Trans-National Nature of the Internet. Also, I find the teacher very funny and I like funny and intelligent people (Don’t assume that I am too !).

In fact, I want to study the new stuffs like AI, bitcoin, drone, blockchain, etc. from this class so I may appear “less dump” from I am at the moment when talking to some geeky friends of mine. By the way, I would also take the Machine Learning class this Fall even though I know that it is very ambitious. I may be the first student at HKS to get a C for this class but I am OK with that !

(Spoil: at HKS, no-one can get a grade less than B- and it is said that people cry when receive an A -. In France where I am from, I cried when I get 15/20 as it is the highest grade that social science professors give to students. Why do they never give us 20/20? No-one dare to ask them as we don’t want to be a black sheep. )

On the top of that, I feel that I will learn a lof from weekly writing as the Professor told me that no one would judge my not very good English and I can only be better off. Hope that it would be true :-).

Thanks for reading my first post EVER on the internet !

See you next week,



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