Welcome to Panopticon

Welcome to “Panopticon”, a new blog about Information Law maintained by members of 11KBW’s Information Law Practice Group.  We opened our doors to the public on 18th March (you will see some earlier posts, below, created while the blog was still under development).

Information law is about the right to know, and the right to keep private – and it is also about the ever-shifting boundary between those rights.  It encompasses areas such as data protection, freedom of information, the protection of private information under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, breach of confidence, and the regulation of surveillance.  It is a fascinating and fast-moving area of the law, and is directly relevant to contemporary debates about open government, the “database state” and the “surveillance society”.  For a more detailed explanation, click on the link at the top of the page  (“What is Information Law?”).

A word about our title.  The Panopticon was Jeremy Bentham’s proposed new model prison, in which constant surveillance would be a tool for moral regeneration (see here for details and illustrations).  It has become an enduring metaphor in debates about the benefits and the dangers of systematic information-gathering.  The title has a secondary meaning:  this site is our own “Panopticon”, in which we try to keep an overview of developments in this area and to share them with our readers.

We hope you will find the blog interesting and informative.  You may also be interested to explore 11KBW’s main website:  this includes a wide range of conference papers and other materials about information law.

We don’t have a facility to post comments on individual posts, but please feel free to provide feedback by emailing Claire Halas:   Claire.Halas@11kbw.com