The "For-Profit Panopticon:" Huawei, and the British Surveillance State
A 5G network and the innovations it supports will lead to a radical shift in surveillance. The economic impact of such a network makes it an attractive prospect to many nations, fueling a race to rapidly implement the technology. This is especially true in the United Kingdom, as the country has a pervasive Panopticon and a long history of normalizing surveillance technology. This paper investigates the implementation of Huawei technology in the UK and how the tools of a more authoritarian Panopticon are packaged and sold in the European democracy. While Huawei does mark an expansion of British surveillance, it follows a pattern of the private-sector building and normalizing surveillance in the country. In essence, under the guise of efficiency, a “for-profit Panopticon” became palatable to British society as it created an imagined border between “soft” and “hard” surveillance practices. This thesis builds this theoretical framework first by evaluating contemporary surveillance scholarship and then by studying the historical Panopticon in the UK. The implications of this model are significant: the UK example reveals that not only is soft surveillance palatable, but hard surveillance can be agreeable if it is packaged along with soft surveillance.
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