Who's Watching Whom? A Study of Interactive Technology and Surveillance


Lee Humphreys; e-mail: lmh13@cornell.edu


Information technology and new media allow for collecting and sharing personal information at unprecedented levels. This study explores issues of privacy and surveillance with new interactive technologies. Based on a year-long field study, this project examines how people think about privacy and surveillance when using mobile social networks. Using the case of Dodgeball, the study found that most informants were not concerned about privacy when using the mobile social network because they felt they were in control of their personal information. There was, however, evidence of 3 kinds of surveillance present in everyday usage of Dodgeball: voluntary panopticon, lateral surveillance, and self-surveillance. This study sheds light on the everyday conceptions, meanings, and activities associated with surveillance, privacy, and interactive technologies.