What he [Snowden] stressed is how they all work under a false premise; “If a surveillance program produces information of value, it legitimizes it … In one step, we’ve managed to justify the operation of the Panopticon”.
Oh yes, make no mistake; Snowden has carefully read his Michel Foucault (he also stressed his revulsion facing “the capabilities of this architecture of oppression”).
Foucault’s deconstruction of the Panopticon’s architecture is now a classic (see it here in an excerpt of his 1975 masterpiece Discipline and Punish). The Panopticon was the ultimate surveillance system, designed by utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. The Panopticon – a tower surrounded by cells, a pre-Orwellian example of “architecture of oppression” – was not originally conceived for the surveillance of a prison, but of a factory crammed with landless peasants on forced labor.