Monday, May 25, 2009

Thoughts about the Panopticon

I finally got around to reading Joshua-Michéle Ross's three articles over on O'Reilly's Radar. Nice overview of the topics but I was hoping for somehing more in depth. The last one, The Digital Panopticon, gave me an idea.

While I do love the idea of location based services (I'm even writing one of my own), I'm beginning to wonder if there is a way to anonymize such a service so the end-user can have the benefits of LBS without giving up information to the Watchers. Ideas are welcome.

As an aside, Joshua-Michéle states:
In the age of social networks we find ourselves coming under a vast grid of surveillance - of permanent visibility. The routine self-reporting of what we are doing, reading, thinking via status updates makes our every action and location visible to the crowd. This visibility has a normative effect on behavior (in other words we conform our behavior and/or our speech about that behavior when we know we are being observed).
He doesn't take into account that we (some of us, at least) are not reporting all of our activities and locations. True, we may be few and far between, but we do exist.

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