PHONOPTICON: The Age of Mobile Surveillance
MUDIT MALI GANGULY
Smartphones play an intimate role in everyday life. What many users don’t know is that these devices have unparalleled access to their data. Companies like Facebook, Apple and Google commodify and share personal data with third parties. This data passes back and forth between third parties but also makes its way to governments (McMullan, 2015). The controversy that followed Edward Snowden’s revelations is an ideal segue into current problems of surveillance and privacy. Mudit’s project argues that knowledge about privacy breaches carried out by mobile applications leads to awareness about privacy. Research through design was used to create the Phonopticon, an immersive installation that gives viewers knowledge about privacy breaches. Just like Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon enables guards to observe prisoners without their knowledge (Foucault, 1979), the applications on our smartphones gather and share our data without our knowledge. This thesis contends that we’re living in a Phonopticon—the age of mobile surveillance
Mudit Mali Ganguly is a UX/UI designer, maker and artist. He has been designing mobile and web applications since 2014. As the recipient of the OGS graduate scholarship, his research revolves around our mobile phones and the data they give away to third parties.