The evolution of wireless technology allows for faster, quicker communication. As technology has become more refined, this communication is made accessible to spaces in which it was previously difficult for it to reach. Mitchell raises the point that this ease of communication leads also to an evolving notion of public vs. private space, as new telecommunications technology allows data to be transmitted from public spaces to private ones and vice versa.

Once, the natural condition of cities was opacity; architects created limited transparency by means of door and window openings, enfilades, open rooms, and public spaces. Today, the default condition is electronic transparency, and you have to work hard to produce limited zones of privacy. [Mitchell 29]

Discussion Questions

As technology evolves to allow electronic eyes and ears to broadcast data from so-called private spaces, how does this affect our notion of privacy and personal space?

Is the desire for privacy something inherent to our nature, or are people becoming more accepting of exhibitionism/voyeurism in time with these developing changes?

How can we go about protecting private places and keeping them secure, when traditional boundaries such as walls and closed doors can no longer impede intrusion?

Certain types of monitoring and surveillance are possible today that would not have been possible a hundred, fifty, even ten years ago. Measures such as the PATRIOT Act are put in place supposedly to ensure our safety, and take advantage of the newly available methods of monitoring. Where does the need for safety end and that for privacy begin? What new legal measures will protect our rights to privacy?


Mitchell, William J. Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.

Course Website cyborg Body & Self Me++

Last modified 13 September 2006