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Panoptic Environments: Offenders Balance of Privacy and Surveillance in the Context of Digital Child Pornography

Conference paper
Authors Marie Eneman
Published in Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Critical Research in Information Systems, Galway, Ireland, 2008
Publication year 2008
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords Keyword: ICT, Digital Child Pornography, Surveillance, Panopticon, Strategies
Subject categories Technology and social change, Children, Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified, Communication Studies, Law and Society, Social Sciences, Media and Communication Technology


Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have changed the conditions to consume and distribute child pornography. Child pornography is a criminal offence in many countries and therefore it is of great importance for the users to protect their identity and reduce the risk of getting caught. The technological environment, which ICT constitutes, provides powerful surveillance-mechanisms. The aim with this paper is to explore offenders’ relationship towards surveillance in the context of digital child pornography. The empirical findings presented are based upon semi-structured interviews with offenders convicted of child pornography. The findings show that the offenders develop different strategies to manage the risk of surveillance. The identified strategies have been divided into technological and social. The result of this study enhances the knowledge about the offenders’ ICT usage and their behaviour in their involvement in child pornography. This knowledge is of great importance to be able to develop effective combating-mechanisms, such as legislations and technological solutions. This paper contributes to previous research within the field of Critical Information Systems Research by applying Foucault’s concept of panopticon on the research subject.

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