The Google Glass feature no one is talking about — Creative Good


Google glasses at #NASASocial being sported by...

Google glasses at #NASASocial being sported by @niket (Photo credit: Fifth World Art)

I’m glad that someone has identified the privacy implications of the newest “cool” technology. We should not go blithely into what’s cool and hip.

The really interesting aspect is that all of the indexing, tagging, and storage could happen without the Google Glass user even requesting it. Any video taken by any Google Glass, anywhere, is likely to be stored on Google servers, where any post-processing (facial recognition, speech-to-text, etc.) could happen at the later request of Google, or any other corporate or governmental body, at any point in the future.

Remember when people were kind of creeped out by that car Google drove around to take pictures of your house? Most people got over it, because they got a nice StreetView feature in Google Maps as a result.

Google Glass is like one camera car for each of the thousands, possibly millions, of people who will wear the device – every single day, everywhere they go – on sidewalks, into restaurants, up elevators, around your office, into your home. From now on, starting today, anywhere you go within range of a Google Glass device, everything you do could be recorded and uploaded to Google’s cloud, and stored there for the rest of your life. You won’t know if you’re being recorded or not; and even if you do, you’ll have no way to stop it.

And that, my friends, is the experience that Google Glass creates. That is the experience we should be thinking about. The most important Google Glass experience is not the user experience – it’s the experience of everyone else. The experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change.

Just think: if a million Google Glasses go out into the world and start storing audio and video of the world around them, the scope of Google search suddenly gets much, much bigger, and that search index will include you. Let me paint a picture. Ten years from now, someone, some company, or some organization, takes an interest in you, wants to know if you’ve ever said anything they consider offensive, or threatening, or just includes a mention of a certain word or phrase they find interesting. A single search query within Google’s cloud – whether initiated by a publicly available search, or a federal subpoena, or anything in between – will instantly bring up documentation of every word you’ve ever spoken within earshot of a Google Glass device.

This is the discussion we should have about Google Glass. The tech community, by all rights, should be leading this discussion. Yet most techies today are still chattering about whether they’ll look cool wearing the device.

Oh, and as for that physical design problem. If Google Glass does well enough in its initial launch to survive to subsequent versions, forget Warby Parker. The next company Google will call is Bausch & Lomb. Why wear bulky glasses when the entire device fits into a contact lens? And that, of course, would be the ultimate expression of the Google Glass idea: a digital world that is even more difficult to turn off, once it’s implanted directly into the user’s body. At that point you’ll not even know who might be recording you. There will be no opting out.

via The Google Glass feature no one is talking about — Creative Good.

In Smart MobsHoward Rheingold asked

Will self-organized, ad hoc networks of computer wearers, mediated by privacy–protecting agents, blossom into a renaissance of new wealth, knowledge, and revitalized civil society, or will the same technological-social regime provide nothing more than yet another revenue stream for Disinfotainment, Inc.?

The privacy–protecting agents are missing. There is no opt-out. Given this week’s decision by the Supreme Court to toss out the lawsuit over NSA warrantless wiretapping, the possibilities extend beyond revenue, entertainment, and information.

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Will ‘Mad Men’ Be the New Steampunk?


Punch cards

For more than a few years, Steampunk has been a geek æsthetic that’s gained greater currency recently. Will it have to move over with the appearance of “Mad Men“?

Google Search is a thoroughly modern tool, having launched in 1997, but a new website is taking Internet users back in time for a vintage twist on the search engine.

Called “Google60,” the site enables visitors to search “Mad Men-style.” It features a 1960s aesthetic, complete with old-school punch cards.

via MashableGoogle Search ‘Mad Men’-Style Using Punch Cards.

I remember punch cards. We used them when I was an undergraduate. By the time I got to grad school there was one novelty machine behind the Help Desk. But more importantly, the terminal–based computing we did in SPSS resembling Fortran still behaved like punch cards. It was line-based programming and very intolerant of syntax errors. Jobs were submitted to queue and their results were received back.

By contrast, Steampunk offers creativity, whimsy, and even a little romance, just like today’s software environment. It’s hard to see “Mad Men” gaining currency except in contrast to the current era. What do you think?

Environmental Racism On Display In Google Earth Images


Environmental racism as seen from space, via Google Earth.

In an article by Mashable writer Matt Petronzio points to a report by journalist and ecologist Tim DeChant that uses Google Earth to determine the correlation between the wealth of a neighborhood and the number of trees that neighborhood has.

via Environmental Racism On Display In Google Earth Images. via Rhonda Ragsdale

 

What are the liberating possibilities of technology, and what is the impact of the digital divide on the ability of communities to organize for equality. Also, does inequality raise our carbon footprint? What implications might this have globally?

FTC Issues Final Privacy Framework Report to Protect Users’ Data


The Federal Trade Commission has issued its Final Privacy Framework Report that outlines guidelines for how companies can and cannot use consumer data on the Internet. The initial report was released in Dec. 2010 and the FTC took in consideration 453 public comments in the final report. The FTC provides guidelines for Do-Not-Track provisions, how information can be tracked on mobile devices and how large platform providers like Facebook and Google can use consumer data.

Since the initial report, the FTC brought enforcement actions against both Facebook and Google to, “require the companies to obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before materially changing certain of their data practice and to adopt strong, company-wide privacy programs that outside auditors will assess for 20 years.” While Google and Facebook drew the ire of the FTC, any company that tracks personal consumer data on the Web is now put on notice.

via FTC Issues Final Privacy Framework Report to Protect Users’ Data.

This includes….

[t]he five main action items in the report:

Do-Not-Track: Includes browser vendors that have developed tools to allow consumers to limit data collected on them. Commends the Digital Advertising Alliance, a self-regulatory group of the advertising industry, on developing an icon-based system to honor the browser tools as well as the W3C on created standards to protect consumer data.

Mobile: Urges companies to work toward improved privacy protections and to development meaningful disclosures. The FTC has also created a project to update its business guidance about online advertising disclosures. The FTC is holding a workshop in D.C. on May 30, 2012 to discuss mobile privacy, advertising and consumer data.

Data Brokers: Consumers often do not know how they are being tracked on the Web and do not have the ability to figure it out. The FTC recommends that data brokers create a centralized website to identify themselves to consumers and detail the access rights and other options they provide for the consumer data they maintain.

Large Platform Providers: This includes Internet Service Providers, operating systems like Windows or Mac OS X, Android or iOS, browsers, and social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. The ability of these platforms to track consumers’ online activities raises privacy concerns. The FTC plans a workshop on large platforms in the second half of 2012.

Promoting Enforceable Self-Regulatory Codes: The Department of Commerce is undertaking a project to facilitate development of sector-specific codes of conduct. Companies that adhere to the privacy framework will be viewed favorably in connection with the FTC’s law enforcement work. “The Commission will also continue to enforce the FTC Act to take action against companies that engage in unfair or deceptive practices, including the failure to abide by self-regulatory programs they join.”

The three pillars of the framework are; “Privacy by Design;” Simplified Choice for Businesses and Consumers;” and “Greater Transparency.”

I think the following should be in bold and trumpeted loudly.

Your computer is your property,” said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz, “No one, no one, has the right to put something on it that you don’t want.

Street Photography in the Age of Google — Arts and Culture — Utne Reader


I love this instance of augmented art. What are the implications of taking the camera out of the hands of the artist in this way?

When Google launched Street View in 2007, it was the company’s intent to map and document every street in the United States. Cars were dispatched into every city to drive every street and back road, using nine directional cameras mounted on the roofs of special cars. These cameras give us 360° movable views at a height of about 8.2 feet. There are also GPS units for positioning and three laser-range scanners designed for measuring up to 50 meters 180° in the front of the vehicle. [Artist Doug] Rickard analyzed tens or hundreds of thousands of Street Views in his search for perfect pictures, something he describes as containing an “apocalyptic-like brokenness.” Indeed, the height of the camera at 8.2 feet, while creating an aesthetic cohesion and uniformity of vision, adds a distinct feeling of “alienation” that Rickard employs. Unlike the making of street photos in the traditional sense, with Street View there is an oblivious-ness to the camera as it goes about its job with no feeling or emotion. In spite of this anonymity of machine, his images are—perhaps surprisingly—layered with empathy.

via Street Photography in the Age of Google — Arts and Culture — Utne Reader.

62 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed


Mashable is a great resource on social media. I try to read it weekly if not daily. You might find this article useful.

Here at Mashable, we’re always looking out for you (in a non-Big Brother way) so if your iOS 5 upgrade left you with a dead battery, you may have missed a feature or two. Never fear though, because we’ve gathered the weekly features right here for you.

Google+ had a hot week with the launch of its new brand pages. Although it’s too early to tell what’s to come of it, we did learn what users felt was missing from the social network. The newest tablet to enter the competition was released by Nook, and it might give the others a run for their money.

Looking for even more social media resources? We have everything you’re looking for below.

via 62 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed.

Don’t Suspend Scout Finch, Mr. Schmidt. It’s Wrong and It’s Bad for Business. | technosociology


Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and fellow at Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Recently reflected on Eric Schmit’s comments about the “real names” policy of Google+

…[I]f the goal is to create a social network, a place where people can socialize, share, chat, argue, organize, and –yes- vociferously disagree, it is true that stable and embedded identities are more conducive to this outcome. Sociological research talks about “deindividuation” –the notion that without being closely tied to individual accountability, individuals may commit acts which are outside of social norms which would otherwise bind them.  Plus, in a reduced-cues environment such as the Internet, it may well be easier say things which are hurtful as one is spared from having to look someone in the eye (and we do know face-to-face interaction indeed taps into powerful and deep parts of our biological endowment as humans).

via Don’t Suspend Scout Finch, Mr. Schmidt. It’s Wrong and It’s Bad for Business. | technosociology.

But Tufekci goes on to critique the policy, indicating that nicknames and pseudonyms are stable identities (one need look no further than the example of digby to realize this).

More generally, while there is a strong argument for stable identities, there also are strong arguments for the preservation of anonymity and pseudonymity online. For example, people participate online in support groups of which anonymity is a key feature. They may not otherwise be as free to share if their identities were known. Many participants on Tumblr report being freer and more creative there behind their pseudonyms than with the “drama” on Facebook.

What do you think, specifically of the policy, but more generally about the issues of pseudonymity and anonymity?