Nano-technology and privacy: on continuous surveillance outside the panopticon

J Med Philos. 2007 May-Jun;32(3):283-97. doi: 10.1080/03605310701397040.


We argue that nano-technology in the form of invisible tags, sensors, and Radio Frequency Identity Chips (RFIDs) will give rise to privacy issues that are in two ways different from the traditional privacy issues of the last decades. One, they will not exclusively revolve around the idea of centralization of surveillance and concentration of power, as the metaphor of the Panopticon suggests, but will be about constant observation at decentralized levels. Two, privacy concerns may not exclusively be about constraining information flows but also about designing of materials and nano-artifacts such as chips and tags. We begin by presenting a framework for structuring the current debates on privacy, and then present our arguments.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Morals*
  • Nanotechnology / ethics
  • Nanotechnology / trends*
  • Privacy*