Perception of Privacy

We were out for dinner with our daughter last night and the conversation landed on Google Glass. For anyone who hasn’t heard of Google Glass, this is a concept known as ubiquitous computing; the idea of fitting computers to every day objects rather than people having to go to computers. Android and smart phones already fill this bill, in many ways eliminating the need for bulky desktops.Google Glass aims to take this a step further by allowing the user to interface with a pair of sunglasses. Google is in talks with manufacturers like Ray Ban, but adds that their goal is for this modular device to attach itself to prescription glasses as well.

Our daughter enthused about the concept for a few minutes, until my husband asked her if she realized the problem with them. A moment of silence followed, we could see her impatience grow – just short of rolling her eyes she relented and asked what the problem might be.

He explained how Google Glass put the GPS in our phones to shame. This device would allow not only our position but every word we spoke, person we met, or conversation we had to be on record. Google Glass is “big brothers” dream come true. A birds eye view of everything we did in a day.

I’ve had a day to ponder her reaction and conclude there was nothing exceptional about it. As alarming as it seemed to my husband and myself, I’ve realized we hail from an era where privacy was truly private. Not that there was the slightest hint of privacy around the single land line in the kitchen, at least when leaving the house I was untraceable. My children have never lived in a world where they didn’t “ping” off a cell phone tower or instant message their friends. Every purchase we make is tracked by store point cards, we “like” on facebook to receive coupons or join discount clubs, we customize the news received – all carefully monitored and digested by big business.

I have nothing against progress – simply hoping we realize the price we pay. My perception of privacy is based on impossibly outdated concepts; I can’t expect my children to understand the freedom of complete privacy. nor could I resist the opportunity to point out the perils of yet another privacy robbing device.

6 thoughts on “Perception of Privacy

  1. You bring up some great pondering this morning. I have always felt Science Fiction was the imaginations route to the future. Really, if you look at the genre of past Science Fiction, how many futuristic ideas have already0 come into being? It’s quite astounding if you compare the world today to the past of 1930s and 40s.

    All this new technology has given us advances that have allowed us to be healthier in terms of handling and curing disease (although the healthier point could be debated as much of this new technology has polluted the Earth and humans to a very high degree) ; make better and safer cars; making earthquake worthy bridges; allowing instant access to information; etc. All of these are wonderful things but in our greed to have more, bigger and better we seem to be losing the humanity aspect of life. We are turning into a machine industry…world; not unlike the Terminator series or The Matrix.

    Sometimes I feel that we need to get unplugged in order to stop the advances in this direction. Our children have very little understanding of what life is like without the tech influence. There is no comparable magnitude and their perception is misguided as a result. And even with all the advances of technology, some things are best handled “in person”. Remember what it was like to talk to a person instead of an automated system? Who would have thought that we would miss talking to people…it happens often in our house.

    The morality of the people on this planet is at an all time low. There used to be a time when the majority of the people did the right thing, now there are more and more negative influences and the balance has shifted more toward evil. Are we losing sight of humanity because of all of this uber tech?

  2. Big brotheris watching you. Even when we are on toilet. Where do we go from here?
    its Privacy What is that word Privacy?? i think that even FB doesnot know what is privacy .But we have a NO in our brain. We dont need to follow the herd.There are always loners haha

  3. We really do live in a sci-fi future – and one that nobody really anticipated except, perhaps, Arthur C. Clarke (who nailed the social impact of ubiquitous computing, absolutely). It has landed on us so fast that the privacy implications have not yet been thought through, and we’re probably going to have to figure them out on the hoof. The problem, as I see it, is if all this avalanche of data is mis-used. And history – along with what I understand the human condition to be – suggests to me that somewhere, some day, it will be.

    • I agree completely. The strange realization for me is one I hadn’t thought about until the other night. Listening to my 28 year old daughter enthuse about an alarming technology put our modern dilemma into perspective.A while back I wrote a post that mentioned D.B. Cooper – within an hour the FBI had compromised my email – holy crap!Privacy has become an illusion, and it scares me to death. 🙂

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