Creepy Google Glass App Destroys Anonymity

Science Fiction has been dealing with ideas surrounding technologies of surveillance and sousveillance since at least the 90s — which is also when wearable computing first came into vogue. These are not new ideas.

I remember a scene in Greg Bear’s Moving Mars, I think, where an anonymous guest was refused access to a venue. The default for most people was to allow access to at least a rudimentary public profile under their real identity, but some individuals face-cloaked and broadcast pseudonyms. His later work, Slant also dealt with near-universal access to individual profiles. Vernor Vinge’s Rainbow’s End also extensively addresses public vs. private identity, ubiquitous access to audio and visual monitoring, as well as an extension of these ideas; consensual realities.

The day is coming — very soon, I think — when anonymity until being introduced will not be the default state for people. Management of your public identity will be necessary for everyone, not just the rich and famous (or even internet famous). It really doesn’t matter what Google’s terms of service are, or even if you can trust their commitment to their stated ideals, because it won’t be up to Google. These kinds of changes are mediated by society itself.

The people who use the term “oversharing” are inevitably old farts by internet standards. People who are only a few years younger than me have very different standards of privacy. The generation that decides on whether software like this will reach widespread use is in late elementary or middle school now. In 10–15 years, how do you think that crop of former kids, now young adults, will react to privacy concerns? Probably like this and this.