Your phone, and you.

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras & Equipment' started by mPower, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. mPower

    mPower Member

  2. PolynesianMedic

    PolynesianMedic Global Moderator Staff Member

    interesting read. ; Thanks for sharing.
  3. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    More reasons I stick with my ancient caveman technology - a 7 year old Nokia with no camera, no internet, no gps, no video games, no apps, no mp3 or radio...just a phone!
  4. Dan

    Dan Member

    Honestly.. this is not my greatest concern of this sort online photo posting behavior.

    My greatest concern with this kind of volume of pictures being published is with facial recognition software.

    Let me put it this way. ; I've confessed before that I'm the kind of person that attends sci-fi conventions. ; This sort of thing has a fairly geeky, dorkish reputation but it's hardly personally damaging, at least in a way that's of concern to me. ; I don't figure that this sort of thing would potentially, say, prevent me from getting a job or something.

    But what if it was something more controversial? ; What if the activity I was engaging in had political connotations?

    Let me put it this way. ; It's illegal to discriminate by religion. ; That and some other areas are protected. ; But let's say a certain employer was biased against wicca, the sort of new age-ish pagan religion. ; He could not legally ask someone what their religion was and refuse to hire them if they were a wiccan.

    But what if instead all it took was to contract with a company specializing in this kind of background check. ; All it might take is to provide a photograph of the prospective employee's face, then the company could compare that to a database they've collected of photographs posted online. ; If they find that person in a picture that was known to have been taken at a pagan activity then they've established something about that person that they may have preferred was kept private. ; And while this particular example may be technically illegal, the way it's done will prevent the victim from ever knowing it happened so no action can be taken.

    I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. ; I think we generally have a certain expectation to this kind of privacy, that we're allowed to have private lives that aren't the business of our employers or whoever, but this kind of technology has the potential to completely destroy this concept of privacy without necessarily breaking any laws. ; Which is to say using that information may be illegal, but so far as I can tell gathering it isn't. ; And as I've said, when it can be gathered and used covertly how can it be detected?

    I've already found pictures or video images of myself posted online that were taken by people I didn't know at events I've attended. ; So far nothing has been good enough to be used for facial recognition, but it's probably only a matter of time. ; It's not that I have a problem with people being able to find out that I've been to a certain sci-fi con, I'm open in my geekishness, but the idea that people can find out exactly where I've been in such a way without my knowledge is quite unnerving.

    Sorry to drift so far from the subject, but this is something that's concerned me ever since I first learned of the idea of facial recognition. ; It's all fine and well when it's just being used by your Iphoto app to help you categorize your pictures by which of friends appear in them, but the potential exists for this kind of technology to be put to some quite scary uses.

    Of course the potential of the returned photos also having GPS locations embedded in them hardly helps matters any.
  5. gary

    gary Member

    actually less and less of a legal expectation to privacy outside of business hours than you'd think, the pro-busines political climate, coupled with the serious attempts the last 20 years to take the supreme court ever and ever more right wing have resulted in court cases moving more and more towards employers being able to dictate outside business hours, particularly regarding anything that could be construed as reflecting poorly on or adversely efffecting profits. and facial recognition only allows suspicious employers to come up with proof positive, the court precedents allow the punishment to follow
  6. Dan

    Dan Member

    That's why I phrased this more as privacy than a specific violation of rights.. well, except for choosing religion for my specific example because it is still legally protected.

    The problem with things like this is it's sort of the 21st century effecting our society in ways that the laws haven't caught up with. ; Formerly (well, and mostly still today, but not for long I fear) if you were of a political disposition that did not align with the overall political orientation of the area you lived in, you had the option of just being discrete about it.

    This potentially takes the option of discreteness away, or at least requires something closer to a level of paranoia of making sure that no evidence of your participating in whatever the activity may be gets to the outside world. ; So far there's nothing illegal about it, but that's because the laws weren't made with this sort of idea in mind. ; And as you say, with the trend in laws it's uncertain how much protection may be given to this area.

    I'm reminded of a quote from the movie Hackers:

    "1984? Yeah right, man. That's a typo. Orwell is here now. He's livin' large"

    My intent is not to say that social networking is evil, although I don't really "get" it.. but I think there are concerns that need to be raised, issues that would be better off addressed than ignored.

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