844 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2019
building designed with a tower at its center, surrounded by prison cells facing
inward. The inmates stationed in the cells cannot see inside the tower,
but the watchmen in the tower can always see inside the cells. The prisoners
must assume they are always under observation and act accordingly,
policing their own behaviour.
For Foucault, the panopticon operated as a metaphor for modern society:
as surveillance crept into ever more private aspects of our lives, in time, citizens
too internalized the fear of being watched and, as a consequence,
began to regulate themselves. In his words:
He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes
responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously
upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in
which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his
Privacy, then, is essential to maintaining the autonomy, worth and dignity
of an individual. This freedom lies at the heart of liberty in a democratic
state and calls for vigorous protection.
We have now come full circle, back to Winston, our protagonist in Nineteen
Eighty-Four. The final paragraph of Winston’s story sounds Orwell’s
Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all
right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the
victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.56
As we reflect on the speed by which modern technology outpaces Canadian
law, we can only hope that Winston’s story remains fiction.
1. George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (London: Penguin
Books in association with Secker & Warburg,
2. Ibid at 4.
3. Ziya Tong, “In Our Surveillance Society, Somebody
Is Always Watching”, The Globe and Mail (10 June
2019), online: <www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion
7. Lizzie Dearden, “Police Stop People for Covering
Their Faces from Facial Recognition Camera Then
Fine Man £90 After He Protested”, The Independent
(31 January 2019), online: <www.independent.co.
12. Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 175(1)(a).
13. Tong, supra note 3.
15. Elizabeth Renzetti, “When the Stalker Is Your Phone:
It’s a Frightening New Reality for Women”, The
Globe and Mail (22 June 2019), online: <www.theglobeandmail.
16. Tong, supra note 3.
17. Pennsylvania Assembly, “Reply to the Governor”,
Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives
, 1755–1756 (Philadelphia, 1756) at 19–21,
online: National Archives <founders.archives.gov/
18. Jennifer Senior, “Our Neurotic ‘Privacy Paradox’”,
The New York Times (19 May 2019), also available
online: bdnews24 <opinion.bdnews24.com/2019/
19. See e.g. Phoenix Strategic Perspectives Inc, 2016
Survey of Canadians on Privacy (Ottawa: Office of