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I listened to Paul’s ‘paper’ while playing super taxi for my kids. The idea which sticks in my mind is that of the need for the equivalent of ‘national parks’ or ‘places of worship’ in the surveillance age. Ever since my epiphany at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas 2005 (where I realised that everybody would soon be carrying cameras that geotag and timestamp every piece of footage) I decided that privacy is going to change in very profound ways. No need to wait for an Orwellian world in which the Government forcibly watches our every move, WE will be the ones who provide the images, sounds and various meta data – every time we take a snap and upload it to our favourite sharing site. The benefits of being able to connect and share stories with people we care about are compelling enough for us to give away slices of our ‘privacy’. I even found myself doing this recently (see this podcast about the wisdom of crowds at the footy). The twist comes when software is able to assemble the tiny pieces of information (remember the geo tag and timestamp) in ways that will make the video cameras on the motorways of England look like cheap lo res toys.
So, back to Mr Chadwick’s interesting insight. If the default becomes ‘video everything and publish to the web’ (as I think it will), then we will need to set aside areas, like national parks, in which there can be no surveillance so that we can disconnect, disengage and reflect from time to time.
Interesting thoughts – thanks for the inspiration.