This is pretty much a spot-on manifestation of the next phase of the Participatory Panopticon
. The first phase used cameraphones — ubiquitous and useful, to be sure, but reactive: you had to take it out and do something to make it record. A cameraphone isn’t a tool of a panopticon in your pocket. But a wearable system, particularly something that looks stylish and not “tech,” leads to very different kinds of outcomes.
—Jamais Cascio, “Google Glass: a wearable heads-up display and camera
,” Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
, February 23, 2013
A voluntary or ‘participatory’ Panopticon
differs from older systems of surveillance in that it is consensual. People willingly participate in the monitoring of their own behavior.
—Lee Humphreys, “Who’s Watching Whom? A Field Study of Interactive Technology & Surveillance
,” Journal of Communication
, August 4, 2011
The strength of this new Panopticon is that people tend to participate voluntarily because they see positive bene?ts from participation, and are less likely to perceive disadvantages or threats....
The participatory Panopticon spreads its gaze seductively, yet insidiously. ATMs are a convenience, allowing one to do banking business at one’s own expedience. Telephone and on-line banking offer even greater convenience, permitting financial transactions from one’s home at any hour, any day.
—Reginald Whitaker, The End of Privacy, New Press, February 1, 1999
The phrase voluntary panopticon dates to 1998
, although that usage is slightly different than the one featured here. Here's the earliest use of this phrase as a synonym for participatory panopticon
With every casual swipe, tomorrow’s democratic citizens are being conditioned to live in tomorrow’s voluntary panopticon
—David Shenk, “Watching You
,” National Geographic
, November 1, 2003