Steve Mann


Steve Mann : biography

1962 –

Mann also works in the fields of computer-mediated reality. He is a strong advocate of privacy rights, for which work he was an award recipient of the Chalmers Foundation in the fine arts. His work also extends to the area of sousveillance (a term he coined for "inverse surveillance"). Mann and one of his PhD students, James Fung, together with some of his other students, have been building a cyborg community around the cyborg-logging concept.

  • Mann, together with Professor Ian Kerr at the University of Ottawa, have written extensively on surveillance, sousveillance, and equiveillance. "Sousveillance", a term coined by Mann, along with the concepts that he and Kerr have developed around these ideas, have created a new dialog for cyborg technologies, as well as related personal information gathering technologies like camera phones. He has created the related concept of Humanistic Intelligence.
  • Joi Ito, a leading researcher in moblogging, credits Mann with having initiated the moblogging movement by creating a system for transmission of realtime pictures, video, and text. In particular, from 1994 to 1996, Mann continuously transmitted his life’s experiences, in real time, to his website for others to experience, interact with, and respond to

His CyborGLOGS (‘glogs), such as the spontaneous reporting of news as everyday experience, were an early predecessor of ‘blogs and the concept of blogging, and earlier than that, his pre-internet-era live streaming of personal documentary and cyborg communities defined cyborg-logging as a new form of social networking.

Anonequity project

Mann is presently collaborating with a number of researchers including Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law & Technology, University of Ottawa, who teaches a course on "Cyborg Law" that uses Mann’s book. Mann, together with Kerr and others, are doing a SSHRC-funded project to study the Ethics, Law & Technology of anonymity, authentication, surveillance, and sousveillance, in addition to issues related to cyborg-law. The anonequity project is ongoing, and collaborator Kerr has also researched and lectured widely on implantable technologies.

Early life and education

Mann holds degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD in Media Arts and Sciences ’97) and McMaster University, where he was also inducted into the McMaster University Alumni Hall of Fame, Alumni Gallery, 2004, in recognition of his career as an inventor and teacher. While at MIT, in then Director Nicholas Negroponte’s words he "brought the seed" that founded the Wearable Computing group in the Media Lab. In 2004 he was named the recipient of the 2004 Leonardo Award for Excellence for his article "Existential Technology," published in Leonardo 36:1.

He is also General Chair of the and Associate Editor of IEEE Technology and Society.


Mann is author of more than 200 publications, including a textbook on electric eyeglasses and a popular culture book on day-to-day cyborg living. Selected works:

  • ISBN 0-471-40637-6
  • Randomhouse Doubleday 2001
  • The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP): A Wiley Tech Brief ISBN 0-471-39992-2
  • International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction 2003: Special Issue : Mediated Reality ISBN 0-8058-9604-X
  • Advanced Palm Programming: Developing Real-World Applications ISBN 0-471-39087-9

McVeillance and the Mann-Wassel Law

On July 16, 2012, after numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact McDonalds, Mann published a , a McDonald’s restaurant in Paris, France, as follows (excerpt):

Within a day, this incident was posted on reddit under the title quickly becoming the top post on the site. The subsequent media coverage resulted in Mann being successful in contacting McDonald’s Head of Customer Service, but only to receive a denial, not an apology. Mann . (alternate )