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Commission for the Panopticon

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Panopticon Department

Panopticon Department Banner.png

Official March: The Secret Deployment

Active: 1631 AN - present

Allegiance: Benacian Union Benacian Union

Personnel: classified

Type: Union law enforcement and intelligence services

Nickname: "The Watchful Eye"

Current Commissioner: Tenia Zuderson (on behalf of the Mithui)
Conflicts & Deployments

The Commission for the Panopticon (also referd to as the Panopticon Department or simply the Panopticon) is the intelligence service of the Benacian Union. It reports directly to the Commissioner of the Panopticon. The name of "Panopticon" derives from the principles explored by Babkhan penal reformers whereby a small group of prison guards would be able to watch all prisoners in the circular prison.


The Commission for the Panopticon is overseen by the Main Office, which has the responsibility for the coordination of all departments of the security apparatus within the Department. The Main Office, chaired by the Commissioner, is authorized to undertake whatever actions deemed appropriate for the security of the Union-State and shall be granted immunity from prosecution for any actions undertaken in accordance with their role, subject to the discretion of the High Presidium of the Benacian Union. Under the Main Office are six lower offices, each with their own Director.

  • Office A: Internal Security
  • Office B: Criminal Activities
  • Office C: Counter Intelligence
  • Office D: Identity, Moral Rearmament & Enlightenment
  • Office E: Mass-Observation (added 1709 AN)
  • Office F: Postal Services (added 1712 AN)
  • Office G: Cryptology & Linguistics (added 1716 AN)

Aside from these standing offices, the Commissioner's Panopticon Department (Main Office) may raise any ad hoc units and formations as Legatine Colleges. The reforms of 1711 consolidated these into two new investigative bodies within the Corps of the Gentlemen-at-Cudgels (CGC), the Legatine College for Domestic Investigation and the Legatine College for the Inspection of Guilds. Those who graduate as Inspectors are typically sorted to their preferred office, with the exceptions of A and D, who are almost entirely assigned from those who graduate as Investigators.

The "Panopticon System"

Elwynnese information poster celebrating the full Union-wide integration of the Panopticon System.
An advertisement in the first 1712 issue of Gentlemen Weekly Magazine for the new "Panopticon Small-Systems Technology" touting new miniaturized blimp-drones.
1712 image of a Panopticon postal patrol using PSST
"My fellow subjects of the Benacian Union, today we stand as a beacon of unity and strength in a world filled with chaos and uncertainty. The coordinated state that we have built together is a marvel of human ingenuity and perseverance. Through our collective efforts, we have overcome the divisions of the past and created a society in which all individuals are bound together in a common purpose and a shared destiny. But our work is far from complete. There are still those who seek to undermine the foundations of our great nation, to sow discord and division amongst us. They are the enemies of progress and harmony, and we must be vigilant in defending against their insidious designs. That is why I call upon each and every one of you to rededicate yourselves to the principles of the Union Covenant. Let us reaffirm our commitment to the ideals of Humanism and the worship of the Highest Divinity. Let us work together to ensure that our society remains strong, prosperous, and united. Together, we can overcome any obstacle and secure a brighter future for ourselves and our descendants. Let us all join together in this noble endeavor, and may the blessings of the Highest Divinity be upon us all."
—Regularly programmed announcements from the Panopticon are ever-present on Union airwaves.

Originating from Babkhano-Elwynnese surveillance technology employed by their department of the CGC, the Panopticon System (PS) was conceived as a hybrid-network designed to capture and process information in a manner that greatly enhances the battlefield commander's situational awareness, removes ambiguity - the notorious fog of war - and reduces the time taken for each step in the decision making cycle.

In time, the PS was integrated into nearly every major city in the Benacian Union and the majority of its coast. Cooperation between the Commission and the Honorable Company served to vastly expand PS coverage beginning in 1709 during the administration of Brugen Aldef, who served as both de facto Commissioner and Benacian Director of the two agencies respectively.

Late 1711 saw the introduction of smaller semi-autonomous surveillance units that would be both easy to use and cheap to manufacture primarily thanks in part to research and technology recovered in Sovereign bunkers a decade after the Scouring. By 1712 , the spread of this "Panopticon Small-Systems Technology" was immediately apparent in urban centers and any communities near ESB outposts.

The technologies of the PSST, once fused with the legacy of research under Project 1713-165 would ultimately mature into the Panopticon Nexus.

The "Digital Yoke"

The era of interconnectivity would in and of itself be the harbinger of a new age of accountability and assurance for meritorious subjects. Here a Panopticon scout drone monitors a passing bound for the Autonomous Bailiwick of Mishagrad during the early morning commute.
"There can be no instantiation of virtue amongst the masses without the implementation of mass surveillance."
—Preface to the "Panopticon Manual", 1715 AN

After the Second Elwynnese Civil War, and the great displacement that occurred in its aftermath, it was considered necessary to encode the biometric data of all subjects and displaced persons found within the Union, so as to avoid a repetition of the catastrophic data loss that occurred in the wake of the Scouring. In those areas that had the facilities for safe installation, all subjects would receive the digital yoke; data chips and processing units which were embedded into the spinal column at the neck and fused into the central nervous system, connecting the digital yoke to the cerebellum of the recorded person. Standard homes and residential apartments built in the Union thereafter included a remote syncing station in addition to their BDN terminal and panopticon view screens, to which the key metadata related to the recorded person's daytime activities would be uploaded. Collected data is typically interrogated remotely during the night-flights of the Panopticon Department's PSST drones and transferred to the Panopticon Nodes of each locale for entry into the data vaults of the bailiwick, available for review at all higher levels of authority.

There were subsequent issues of practicality and resourcing which hindered the roll-out of this programme across the Union-State, obliging the continuation of more traditional methods of mass-surveillance to counter ongoing resistance in the Benacian Union. In 1709, these systemic gaps were filled by the Panopticon's newly minted Office of Mass-Observation and more thoroughly in 1712 with the foundation of the Office of Postal Services in partnership with ESB Benacia.

The implementation of the digital yoke and the widespread collection of biometric data raised several ethical and privacy concerns among critics in the eastern realms, who argued that the forced implantation of the digital yoke violates individual autonomy and bodily integrity. This sentiment would prove temporary, however, as the yoke saw integration into day-to-day conveniences and won over much of the younger cohorts of the general public.

Indeed, the yoke would form an integral component of the Societal Compliance Utility Matrix, a scoring system used by the Benacian Censorate to continuously monitor and update the standing of subjects' within the Table of Grades and Ranks of the Benacian Union. The yoke's ubiquity across most realms had, by 1717, allowed for exploration into offering services and conveniences based primarily on the RFID included in each unit. Digital keys, documentation, finances, and much more began to see integration with selected partners of the Panopticon, particularly the Honorable Company.


List of Commissioners
Portrait Officeholder Took office Left office
1 Regina the Weisz.png Regina Verion 1671 1675
2 Baldur Zyrion.jpg Baldur Zyrion 1675 1676
n/a n/a Directly administered by the Corps of the Gentlemen-at-Cudgels 1676 1679
3 - Ivar Ragnarsson 1679 1687
4 Nizam ul-Mulk.png Nizam al-Mulk 1687 1695
5 Augustus Krenk.png Augustus Krenk 1695 1704
6 1704-Aldef-ESB.png Brugen Aldef (as Representative-Commissioner on behalf of the Miþuï) 1704 1728
7 Tenia Zuderson1728.png Tenia Zuderson (as Representative-Commissioner on behalf of the Miþuï) 1728 Incumbent