Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Douglas Davidson

Second Advisor

Dr. James C. Petersen

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The possible negative impacts the Internet could have on our society, because of its powerful observation potential is the topic of this thesis. In my work I deconstruct several historical and current texts on the Internet. I then critique modern cultural constructs of the Internet and compare and contrast using historical as well as meta-analysis to dissect the real from the simulated.

I have found that a majority of the Internet's current construction lies in the hands of private companies. In my finding, using historical analysis of previous company policies that the potential to observe, track, and keep large databases of online users, is possible.

I conclude, using Baudriallard's Consumer Society concepts, that people choose to define themselves by the products they consume. In order to make purchasing, interaction, and the control of the flow of information more efficient, a model needs to be employed. I purpose the Panopticon model is the Internet control model, which has been implemented by some companies already. The Panopticon presents the ability to control society because it allows Internet administrators to observe anyone and anything on the Internet without any consumer constitutional recourse.

Included in

Sociology Commons