The lag between the rapid developments of mobile technology and the more gradual evolution of rules governing its use' has generated tension for mobile learning, which is exacerbated by recent revelations of government and corporate surveillance of mobile activity. Progressions in both the technology and the pedagogical applications are made possible by the technology; mobile learning is emerging from the shadows of content delivery into collaboration, interaction and field activity. However, this progress is mitigated as a result of ubiquitous surveillance practices; every CCTV camera and every mobile tower remind mobile learners of the persistence of observation. This paper, a theoretical rather than experimental exercise, will argue that an additional positioning of the mobile learner, one responsive to an age of surveillance and the implications for learning that this surveillance implies, is now warranted: the subversive. The subversive places great emphasis on mobile technology and the media practices circulated therein as tools of both discovery and power; as positions of both observation and being observed; and as acts of compliance and subversion. This playful subversive metaphor is adapted from the trickster', jester' and fool' metaphors advanced in online research and situates them firmly in the mobile space as a learner who is aware of being surveilled and, in turn, surveils.