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The portable panopticon: morality and mobile technologies

Martin De Saulles (School of Computing, Mathematical and Information Sciences, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK)
David S. Horner (School of Computing, Mathematical and Information Sciences, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 16 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore ethical issues arising from the mass deployment and take‐up of mobile technologies.

Design/methodology/approach

The ethical dimensions of mobile technologies and their use among the general population are considered within a conceptual framework drawing on James Moor's belief in a need for “better ethics” for emerging technologies and Michel Foucault's development of Jeremy Bentham's panopticon as a tool of surveillance.

Findings

It is found that the mass deployment and use of mobile technologies amongst the general population raise some interesting questions about the changing nature of surveillance and the ethical issues that come out of this.

Originality/value

The paper offers an original perspective on the ethical issues arising from new mobile technologies and surveillance by inverting the established top‐down notion of technology and control derived from Foucault.

Keywords

Citation

De Saulles, M. and Horner, D.S. (2011), "The portable panopticon: morality and mobile technologies", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 206-216. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779961111167676

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited