A carceral state is a state modelled on a prison. It is a form of, or a pre-requisite to, a police state. A carceral state is one that seeks to know everything about its inhabitants and visitors, but hide everything about itself. It demands transparency of everything except its own operations. The idea was discussed by Michel Foucault in his works regarding imprisonment especially psychiatric imprisonment.
The Panopticon prison as proposed by Jeremy Bentham led to the current concept of the carceral state as developed by George Orwell in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It was perhaps prophetic, as today there are more cameras in public places in the UK than in any other country per capita.
A current theorist of the carceral state is Steve Mann, "the first cyborg", who travels wearing digital recording and transmitting equipment all over the world including airports, shopping malls, demonstrations, etc., where recording of the authorities or guards is discouraged. However, as Mann points out, cameras are constantly being used in these places to capture images of people, and Mann's are simply doing the same in return. Apparently the right to record is not in any way reciprocal, as Mann proves by being ejected from places or harassed.