So everyone is going bananas about the intelligence Big Boys in the US and UK basically having the access to everything we ever thought was private and off limits to the state. Call me passive (I am, a bit), but I’m not that fussed.
Hands up who’s got a Facebook account? Yeah, thought so. The most popular social network has 1.19 billion monthly active users as of September 30, 2013. This is one reason why I’m not that bothered that the NSA has access to all the conversations I have and have had. There’s so many people to spy on! Why would they bother looking at me? Go ahead, look through my texts, phone calls and whatever else you have. Do me!
But then I think about what the future may hold, and I start to really think. Where are we headed as a human race? 20 years ago mobile phones didn’t exist. Now the Google Geeks over in Silicon Valley are preparing to sell a pair of glasses that can take videos and pictures at the tap of a finger, a voice command – and thanks to some unknown digital fanatic - the blink of the wearer’s eyes.
The Economist hit the nail on the head in an article a few weeks back and discussed the ramifications of a device that over time could become unobtrusive and the norm, just as glasses, watches and even clothes became the norm over the history of humans. In the Briefing section, the article documented the life project of an Irish computer scientist who, for the past seven years, has been taking a photograph of his immediate surroundings with a wide angle lens hung around his neck every minute. Yes – EVERY MINUTE. Check out the video:
A search engine for the self
So, in light of this, I started to think about some really scary things:
- What if, in the future, in the same way as everyone is required to own some sort of ID or proof of who they are, everyone was forced to wear one of these in the interests of say, preventing crime?
- What if cameras with face recognition could cross reference with a future social network similar to Facebook, leading to a complete stranger knowing exactly who you are, where you work and the full name and address of your partner?
- What if someone was able to hack into your (compulsory) wide angle camera and watch you having sex with your partner?
The number 1984 springs to mind, or rather explodes in my mind, showering my frontal lobe with metaphorical glass in the process.
The thing is, I really do believe that this is the future. In the UK, we are already the nation with the most CCTV camera’s per person. That’s all well and good – but do I want people taking pictures of me while I’m buying a tuna crunch baguette from Greggs? Do YOU? F***, I hope you don’t, because I certainly don’t.