Augmented Reality or Futuristic Invasion of Privacy?
2010 10 26

By Mathew Ingram | gigaom.com


Like it or not, the web is getting more and more interconnected to the "real" world — in part by what some call "augmented reality" apps, which allow Google Goggles to recognize physical objects when you point your mobile device at them, or have Yelp show you reviews of nearby restaurants hovering in the air as you hold up your phone. This is all wonderful and Star Trek-like, but what are the privacy implications of this kind of technology? Take just one recent example of the trend: an iPhone and Android app called "Sex Offender Tracker," which shows you the location of any registered sex offenders in your area."

It sounds like a joke, or a Saturday Night Live skit — an impression that isn’t helped by the fact that app-maker BeenVerified (which runs a criminal background-check service), is using Antoine Dodson as its pitchman in a YouTube video commercial for the product. In case you aren’t familiar with him, Dodson is an Alabama resident who became famous earlier this year after an interview he gave to a local TV station about a sexual assault on his sister was turned into a YouTube viral hit that eventually made it to iTunes (and earned Dodson enough to buy a house). In the promotional video, Dodson holds up his phone and the app shows a series of red exclamation marks superimposed on the surroundings, with each denoting a registered sex offender."

Obviously, sexual offenses are not a joke. And the ability to use your phone to see important information about your neighborhood or the place you happen to be has the potential to be hugely valuable. But do we really want apps that can pull up a person’s criminal history and other details about his or her life and show it to us in real-time as we watch them walk down the street? At the moment, it’s only a sex-offender tracking app — but what’s to stop other companies or apps from pulling up anyone’s credit history, tax records or a list of criminal offenses and superimposing them on your face as you shop for groceries?"

As Om noted recently, services like Rapleaf have all kinds of data about you, compiled from various public databases and the history of your movements around the web and various social networks. The potential for real-time invasions of privacy seems to be escalating, and it’s not just celebrities any more who are subject to services such as JustSpotted.com, which shows you real-time encounters with celebrities "in the wild." When Gawker.com came out with its Gawker Stalker tool — a similar celebrity tracker — in 2006, there was outrage at the invasion of privacy it represented. Now such things are ho hum. And they are becoming more a reality of life for everyone, not just "stars."
It may be true that on the Internet you have no privacy, as Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy said in 1999 (and as this humorous Venn diagram of the intersection between the Internet and privacy illustrates) but not everyone is comfortable with that bargain. The trials and tribulations of Facebook and its attempts to balance privacy and social sharing are evidence of that, as the company continues to face lawsuits and government inquiries. Meanwhile, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told an interviewer that if people don't like the fact that the company is recording pictures of their homes via its Street View cars, "you can just move." We’re assuming that’s a bad joke — or maybe not."



Source: gigaom.com



Related Articles
What Exactly is Augmented Reality?
Rebuilding the Berlin Wall with Augmented Reality
The First Augmented Human International Conference - 2010
"Augmented Aerial Earth" Real Time Google Video Surveillance
"Augmented" Reality to Help Astronauts Make Sense of Space
On the Threshold of the Avatar Era


Latest News from our Front Page

STAGED INFECTION: Has The Ebola ‘Outbreak’ Narrative Fallen Apart?
2014 10 22
Over the past month, the ‘pandemic’ propaganda surrounding the deadly Ebola virus seemed to reach vitriolic levels – raising serious questions about the validity of this current viral outbreak… On Monday of this week, it was reported that 48 people were released and cleared after a 21-day quarantine due to their contact with the now deceased Ebola-stricken patient Thomas Eric ...
6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered
2014 10 21
A 6,000-year-old temple holding humanlike figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine. Built before writing was invented, the temple is about 60 by 20 meters (197 by 66 feet) in size. It was a "two-story building made of wood and clay surrounded by a galleried courtyard," the upper floor divided into five ...
What happened to Journalist Serena Shim? Assassinated? Find out what happened to Serena, Press TV director calls on Turkey
2014 10 21
Press TV news director Hamid Reza Emadi says the “suspicious death,” of the news channel’s correspondent in Turkey is a tragedy for “anyone who wants to get the truth.” Emadi made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday following Serena Shim’s death across the border from Syria’s Kurdish city of Kobani, where the ISIL terrorists and Kurdish fighters ...
Ancient Roman Nanotechnology Inspires Next-Generation Holograms for Information Storage
2014 10 21
The Lycurgus Cup, as it is known due to its depiction of a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman chalice that changes colour depending on the direction of the light upon it. It baffled scientists ever since the glass chalice was acquired by the British Museum in the 1950s, as they could not work ...
Rapid Geomagnetic Reversal Possibility: Confirmed
2014 10 21
From the video: "The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is the Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia." Tune into Red Ice Radio: Ben Davidson - Suspicious0bservers: Space Weather ...
More News »