Sunday, November 4, 2012

Do we have privacy in public space?

You wake up.  You reach for your Google Glass.  Although you weren't used to wearing glasses, now you cannot imagine a day without your glasses.  Thanks to new Google Glass application called Daily Journal Recorder you can always rely on your augmented reality glasses to take continuous videos of your entire day and store key moments as a daily highlight.  It's like having your personal journal written for you while you live your life.

What about privacy?  Most people have accepted the fact that they are getting recorded all the time in any public space.  Privacy only exists in your home, and even then your location can be tracked thanks to GPS embedded on all devices starting with your mobile phone to your car key.  People no longer rely on their memory to remember whom they need to meet and what they need to do.  Personal scheduler running in the cloud reminds your next task through your wearable devices.

If you are not on the network, you don't have anyone to interact with.  Your identity is no longer about your physical self.  Without terabytes of data in the cloud your identity is incomplete because all your memory and profile are stored out in the cloud.  Without them, people won't be able to tell whether it's real you...

Of course we are not there yet.  But we are getting there really fast.  Faster than anyone has anticipated.  

Look around you.  There are one billion smartphones in the world, half of phones in U.S. are smartphones, and they are growing faster than anything else we've seen.  By year 2016, there will be more internet-connected devices than world population, and anyone will be able to reach for their smartphone to start recording.  I would argue we are already there.

What you see in people's hand is not everything.  There will be many surveillance cameras and even drones designed to monitor people of interest.


With all the data stored and shared on social network and in the cloud storage, your physical experience will be recorded, stored, and tracked by people that we do not know.

What would privacy mean in that world?

Ubiquitous camcorder available from smartphones and wearable devices are yet to change what is acceptable as social norm.  I wanted to share a video captured by a creepy surveillance cameraman.  An anonymous male videographer approached random people on the street to record video footage of them.  The YouTube clip shows how the subjects reacted to this unwelcomed surveillance.

How should we deal with all the connected devices in the world?

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