Candid Camera “Relationship Test”

By on January 23rd, 2014 in Ethics, Privacy & Security, Societal Impact

The Jan 22 Wall St. Journal has an article by Geoffrey A. Fowler evaluating two new very small cameras designed to do “life tracking” (taking a picture every 30 seconds or as your environment changes) … like 2000 pictures a day.  This echos some of the discussion from the ISTAS 13 conference where the implications of this technology were a major consideration.

Geoffrey presents a benefit of having a fairly complete picture of your day, when he scans back over the day to find where he left his glasses (keys, whatever).  And of course the question of civility raised if you are taking everyone’s photo just by being there. (He added a camera icon to the outside of one of his devices to make this more obvious to folks.)

As this technology shrinks and gets integrated into things, the idea of “photo free” zones may be impractical. The implications will be widespread … can your device be used as a witness against you? — in say that car accident, or “who was that woman I saw you with last night?”  Witnesses to events will have more than just their memory to draw upon in trying to recall the details. (Some of these devices have built in GPS units so they capture location and time as well as the ‘view’).

The article also points out that during a hiking trip with the family he obtained a dozen good candid pictures along with 1000 for the trash bin. So either most of the content will be “write only” — never to actually be used/viewed/curated …. or will take up significant time to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Geoffrey provides a useful way to evaluate the technologies that may require an extra amount of consideration, his “relationship test: How does this piece of technology change not just my life, but how I interact with you?” — A useful question to add to the SSIT lexicon.