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Who's Watching Whom? A Fieldstudy of Interactive Technology & Surveillance
Unformatted Document Text:  Interactive Technologies in a Surveillance Society - 9 Panopticon”. Voluntary Panopticon A voluntary or ‘participatory’ Panopticon differs from older systems of surveillance in that it is consensual (Whitaker, 1999). People willingly participate in the monitoring of their own behavior. The voluntary Panopticon is based on a consumer society where information technology allows for the decentered surveillance of consumptive behavior. People willingly participate in such monitoring because they believe it is of benefit to them. The strength of this new Panopticon is that people tend to participate voluntarily because they see positive benefits from participation, and are less likely to perceive disadvantages or threats. They are not necessarily wrong to think this way, for the benefits are straightforward, real, and tangible. Disadvantages are less tangible, more indirect, and more complex. They ought not, however, to be ignored. (Whitaker, 1999, p. 140) The benefits of using mobile social network systems are tangible. For the Dodgeball members I interviewed, it facilitated sociality. Dodgeball members indicated that using the service made it easier to coordinate meeting up. Communication on the system reinforced social bonds. In addition, some members mentioned that Dodgeball was a cheaper, more efficient way to communicate with groups of friends than to contact each friend individually. The benefits of using Dodgeball were apparent and immediate to members. It is important to note that the Dodgeball members I interviewed did not express any concerns about the potential disadvantages of using the mobile social networking system. There were several opportunities for informants to express their thoughts on the matter during the interview process. First, I asked users if there was anything they did not like about Dodgeball or anything they thought could be improved. I also asked if they had any advice for first-time users.

Authors: Humphreys, Lee.
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Interactive Technologies in a Surveillance Society - 9
Panopticon”. 
Voluntary Panopticon
 A voluntary or ‘participatory’ Panopticon differs from older systems of surveillance in that 
it is consensual (Whitaker, 1999). People willingly participate in the monitoring of their own 
behavior. The voluntary Panopticon is based on a consumer society where information 
technology allows for the decentered surveillance of consumptive behavior. People willingly 
participate in such monitoring because they believe it is of benefit to them. 
The strength of this new Panopticon is that people tend to participate voluntarily because 
they see positive benefits from participation, and are less likely to perceive disadvantages 
or threats. They are not necessarily wrong to think this way, for the benefits are 
straightforward, real, and tangible. Disadvantages are less tangible, more indirect, and 
more complex. They ought not, however, to be ignored. (Whitaker, 1999, p. 140)
The benefits of using mobile social network systems are tangible. For the Dodgeball members I 
interviewed, it facilitated sociality. Dodgeball members indicated that using the service made it 
easier to coordinate meeting up. Communication on the system reinforced social bonds. In 
addition, some members mentioned that Dodgeball was a cheaper, more efficient way to 
communicate with groups of friends than to contact each friend individually. The benefits of 
using Dodgeball were apparent and immediate to members.
It is important to note that the Dodgeball members I interviewed did not express any 
concerns about the potential disadvantages of using the mobile social networking system. There 
were several opportunities for informants to express their thoughts on the matter during the 
interview process. First, I asked users if there was anything they did not like about Dodgeball or 
anything they thought could be improved. I also asked if they had any advice for first-time users. 


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