Panopticon for royals

Some people who think God put them in charge of the United Kingdom just had a baby. Charlie Stross discusses the weird life this potential future monarch will have in a lifelogging, ubiquitous surveillance society.

I expect there to be Facebook account-hacking attacks on his friends, teachers, and associates—and that's just in the near term. He's going to be the first royal in the line of succession to grow up with the internet: his father, Prince William, was born in 1982 and, judging by his A-level coursework, is unlikely to have had much to do with computer networking in the late 1990s. This kid is going to grow up surrounded by smartphones, smart glasses (think in terms of the ten-years-hence descendants of Google Glass), and everything he does in public can be expected to go viral despite the best efforts of the House of Windsor's spin doctors.

His uncle, Prince Harry, made some public gaffes—going to a fancy dress party dressed as a Nazi in 2005 springs to mind—but these were generally dismissed as youthful indiscretions: they happened in the age of the DSLR-toteing journalist, when repro-quality cameras were still relatively uncommon on the city streets. Now phonecams are good enough that the Chicago Times has fired their photographers, issuing iPhones to their journalists: a move which is either very prescient or very foolish, but which shows which way things are going. Right now we're living through the Photography Singularity; 10% of all photos ever taken were taken in the past 12 months, and the exponential up-slope is continuing.

And that's without mentioning drones the size of bumblebees.

Monarchy versus the Panopticon

(Image: Surveillance State, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from 29108968@N06's photostream)