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

Exponential growth of Ashkenazi Jews following a Medieval population bottleneck
2014 09 17
A recent paper by Marta Costa et al. found that around 80% of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA had a prehistoric European origin (and ruled out the Khazar hypothesis). Combined with previous Y chromosome studies indicating that the male line is Middle Eastern, the results suggested a scenario in which Jewish males married European females after traveling to Europe. Now another paper, ...
Bankers Rule: City of London vs. Scottish Independence
2014 09 17
Now that the independence referendum is too close to call, the bankers express their worry. The media blitz ramps up to tip the outcome. Scottish independence has finally rattled the City of London has the usual banksters forecasting the dislocations from a currency panic. Scotland has a long and noteworthy history of banking. Money, savings and investing is entrenched in the ...
French separatists want Scots to say "yes"
2014 09 17
Separatist leaders in Brittany, Corsica and the French Basque Country will watch with interest as Scotland votes on independence next week, but they don’t expect France to follow the UK’s lead any time soon. Pro-independence activists point to the fact they have their own languages and cultural identities. France, however, remains a deeply centralized country and any talk of a negotiated ...
Devil’s Deal: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Already Signed Pact with ISIS Prior to Haines Beheading
2014 09 17
While Washington considers appropriating half a billion in funds to the Syrian rebels, we now learn that opposition groups the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al Qaeda affiliate ‘al Nusra Front’, have officially aligned themselves with ISIS… Despite grand words by US President Obama and British PM David Cameron, here’s what’s really behind their plan to bomb ISIS in Syria… In a ...
World War III for Dummies
2014 09 16
A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding the Present World Situation. 1998 - 2000 Powerful elites and influential think tanks forecast a coming period of American aggression. Zbigniew Brzezinski speaks for the Globalist faction of the western PRC (Predatory Ruling Class) in ’The Grand Chessboard’, a book in which he openly advocates for bolder American action in dominating the Eurasian land mass. During this ...
More News »