There is a nice description of a panopticon:
The Panopticon of Jeremy Bentham is an architectural figure which “incorporates a tower central to an annular building that is divided into cells, each cell extending the entire thickness of the building to allow inner and outer windows. The occupants of the cells . . . are thus backlit, isolated from one another by walls, and subject to scrutiny both collectively and individually by an observer in the tower who remains unseen. Toward this end, Bentham envisioned not only venetian blinds on the tower observation ports but also mazelike connections among tower rooms to avoid glints of light or noise that might betray the presence of an observer.”
The Panopticon thus allows seeing without being seen.
Anil Dash applies this idea to the individual, describing it as an “an always-on record of a person’s life.”
The necessary evolution is for personal publishing tools to start to allow far more granular control over permissions for reading the content that they generate. This doesn’t just apply to the audio we’ve recorded with our always-on iPods, but to the text we’re publishing to our weblogs as well. It should also encompass the new text that we’ll feel comfortable adding to our weblogs once we know that we can control access to our sites with at least the level of control that LiveJournal take for granted right now.
Weblog publishing tools will grow to allow us each to create a personal panopticon, at least to the degree that we’re comfortable doing so.