Who thought that smart watches, AR glasses and flexible plastic electronics could completely change our average way of life?
With Apples release of the new Apple Watch, the presence of wearable tech is becoming ever more present in our daily lives.The wearable devices' industry is estimated to jump from just 22 million to almost 177 million by the year 2017, due to the massive development this industry is going through. While it started with watches and Google's massively popular Google Glass, it has moved onto many other things, even including shirts and rings.
The question becomes, however, how pervasive this technology will become in our daily lives. Readers of1984 by George Orwell may know all-to-well what problems this can cause. If Google Glass becomes popular, then there will be no place without a camera. Everything seen and done can and will, without a doubt, be recorded and stored (I'm sure the NSA would have a field day with this technology). Technology in our shirts? that's also poses problems. The hardware may be trackable. This goes the same for rings, or other wearable tech. The more things in our lives which are implemented with technology, and more importantly are integrated into the internet or a network, the more digital "breadcrumbs" we leave behind, and the easier it becomes for someone to see your life.
The problem of the future, then, is privacy. How will it affect our culture and way of life? Are the next 25 years the last years where one may lead a truly private life in the midst of a thriving population? Will big corporations and the government try to respect our privacy? (good luck with that!). And if they don't, then who will? These are just some of the questions researchers and scientists are asking, many of which can only be answered with theory.
Some say that the problem of privacy does not lie within Google Glass, but in the actions of us as a people. Time Magazine argues that Glass Doesn't cause creepshots. Creepshots were a problem before the advent of face-mounted computers, and they will continue to be a problem until we deal with the much bigger problem of why anyone would take one in the first place.
This is not, however, the reality. Time magazine takes a naive approach to the use of Google Glass, blaming its malicious usage on the consumer. Sure, "creepshots" are not anything cannot already be done with a simple concealable camera (which is overall much more effective). The real problem of Google glass is its connection to the internet. Anything that's connected to the internet can be exploited remotely. If something like Glass becomes popular, than that paves the way for it to be easily exploitable. Google Glass will be used by more than just everyday consumers, hence why Glass poses problems of privacy. The NSA, for example, already has access Google and Yahoo's vast data on user interaction; allegedly without Google or Yahoo's consent. If Glass becomes popular, the possibilities the NSA would gain are remarkable. Sure, people will always be taking creepshots. Whether one takes creepshots or not, however, if the NSA has a strong enough inclination, they can access Google Glass and take their own creepshots, without the users awareness.
In a way, big corporations are paving the way for a world such as that described in 1984. They are creating the technology that governments can use to spy on people. Yet this is just normal innovation of technology, making it hard to peg the blame on corporations. Users cannot be blamed, either. They are simply fulfilling their role as consumers. Logically, this leaves the government. Users and corporations are fulfilling their roles, but is it the government's role to use the technology of today maliciously? The answer to this is a simple no.
There are, however, malicious users which do not always fall under the normal categorization of "consumer". Rather, they buy and use new tech with the sole purpose of infiltrating the lives of others. For example, hackers. Though it is obvious that not all hackers do this, the malicious ones (blackhat) may use Google Glass to collect user information, and exploit it. This too is not the fault of the normal consumer but rather of the hacker, and the corporations failure to secure their device, as to stymie the exploits of the hacker.
Glass, then, does not actually change much. It simply gives more ways for people who want to, such as hackers and the NSA to reach into your private life. This can be explained, then, as all part of the on-going and eternal battle between security and exploits. Google will have to make sure that they secure Glass enough so that it is not easily exploitable. Glass leaves more breadcrumbs behind; if and when wearable tech becomes popular, it will become the job of Corporations and the people to make sure that the next 25 years are not the last of privacy.
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