Participation Capture

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Michel Bauwens coined this term in his manuscript Peer to Peer and Human Evolution to denote the fact that usage is a positive externality that creates value to the common project if it is automatically recorded.

Participation Capture in Bittorrent

"BitTorrent is a radical advance over the peer-to-peer systems which preceded it. Cohen realized that popularity is a good thing, and designed BitTorrent to take advantage of it. When a file (movie, music, computer program, it's all just bits) is published on BitTorrent, everyone who wants the file is required to share what they have with everyone else. As you're downloading the file, those parts you've already downloaded are available to other people looking to download the file. This means that you’re not just "leeching" the file, taking without giving back; you're also sharing the file with anyone else who wants it. As more people download the file, they offer up what they’ve downloaded, and so on. As this process rolls on, there are always more and more computers to download the file from. If a file gets very popular, you might be getting bits of it from hundreds of different computers, all over the Internet – simultaneously. This is a very important point, because it means that as BitTorrent files grow in popularity, they become progressively faster to download. Popularity isn’t a scourge in BitTorrent – it's a blessing.' (

Participation Capture, Sousveillance, Panoptical surveillance

Sousveillance is the conscious capture of processes from below, by individual participants; surveillance is from the top down, while participation capture is inscribed in the very protocols of cooperation and is therefore an automatic ‘inscription’ of what we are doing:

In French:

"Surveiller veut dire veiller par au-dessus. On fait ici référence à l'oeuvre de Michel Foucault? Surveiller et Punir, où est relaté le principe du panoptisme, architecture des prisons modernes qui permettent à une seule personne de tout voir depuis un point central. C'est donc un concept à la fois physique, hiérarchique et spirituelle. Souveillance indique implicitement le contraire, c'est-à-dire veiller par en-dessous (voir article smartmobs (anglais)). La sousveillance est l'art, la science et la technologie de la capture (mise en mémoire) de l'expérience personnelle. Elle implique le processing, l'archivage, l'indexation, la transmission d'enregistrements audiovisuels par le moyen de prothèses cybernétiques telles que des assistants à la vision, à la mémoire visuelle, etc. Les problématiques légales, éthiques, réglementaires impliquées dans la sousveillance sont encore à explorer. Considérons cependant un exemple tel que celui de l'enregistrement d'une conversation téléphonique. Lorsqu'une ou plusieurs des parties concernées enregistrent la conversation, on appelle cela la sousveillance alors que lorsque la même conversation est enregistrée par une entité externe (ex : les renseignements généraux enregistrant une conversation confidentielle entre un avocat et son client), on appelle cela de la « surveillance ». La surveillance audio est autorisée dans la plupart des Etats alors que la sousveillance ne l'est pas." ( )

In English, on the emergence of the Participatory Panopticon:

"Soon -- probably within the next decade, certainly within the next two -- we'll be living in a world where what we see, what we hear, what we experience will be recorded wherever we go. There will be few statements or scenes that will go unnoticed, or unremembered. Our day to day lives will be archived and saved. What’s more, these archives will be available over the net for recollection, analysis, even sharing.

And we will be doing it to ourselves. This won't simply be a world of a single, governmental Big Brother watching over your shoulder, nor will it be a world of a handful of corporate siblings training their ever-vigilant security cameras and tags on you. Such monitoring may well exist, probably will, in fact, but it will be overwhelmed by the millions of cameras and recorders in the hands of millions of Little Brothers and Little Sisters. We will carry with us the tools of our own transparency, and many, perhaps most, will do so willingly, even happily. I call this world the Participatory Panopticon." ( ;)

An update by author Jamais Cascio, at