Back in the early nineties, Robert Redford made a movie called “Sneakers”. It was about government cryptography, espionage, and a device so powerful that there would be “no more secrets.”
While on vacation last week, I had a moment to look at one of my favorite sites, and the confluence of two articles made me think of that film.
The Astonishing Tribe, a Swedish mobile design firm, introduced a new app prototype. Users will be able to point a smartphone at a stranger and identify them. It combines facial recognition, social networking, augmented reality, cloud computing, and voodoo (that last one is mine).
Along with that, there was a second article about an AR Drone being introduced by Parrot. It’s a flying toy that can be controlled by any iPhone running special software. A camera delivers a pilot’s-eye view. With graphics representing enemy planes overlaid, the AR Drone can dogfight with them.
Both of these introductions made the technology boy inside me go, “Cool, I want one.” And, then for some reason, the movie “Sneakers” popped into my head, and a brief moment of “Paranoid Boy” indigestion washed over me. No more secrets became no privacy.
Is that a stretch? Probably. Maybe it’s just my empathy for women struggling to get away from their abusers/stalkers. (Admittedly, our work with Partnership Against Domestic Violence has had an influence.) But I thought for a moment about how easy technology is making it for someone to be stalked and have all their secrets, their privacy, revealed. A stalker could use the new app to get facial recognition, which leads to all the information we willingly put on SM sites. It’s not much of a stretch to find out where you live (the site http://pleaserobme is a good example of how willing people are to let you know they aren’t home. Hey, nice 50” LED TV!). Once the stalker knows the address, pretty soon a drone is peering in your second floor window or circling over your car at the grocery store.
Yeah, I know, paranoid, right? But, then again…
— Chris Schlegel, Principal