Will wearable devices connected to the Internet be subject to surveillance?
Technology is developing at an advanced pace and increasingly the world is becoming interconnected and everything is going online. It seems that society is welcoming the change with one hand, and trying to push back with the other.
The Internet is getting personal
News Discovery recently released an article with the phrase "Internet of Me," a comical reference to the "Internet of Things." As mentioned in the article, new technology is becoming more personal. Devices are being developed that will monitor people's heart rate, breathing, sleep patterns and brain activity. Add that information to social media and personalized shopping profiles and the result is that much of our daily lives is going online.
The news source argued that the main challenge for developers is to make the information from new technology useful. Digital coaches to improve people's health or fitness may be a good idea, and connecting many household appliances and gadgets does seem warranted, however, providing a stream of cute kitten videos to your refrigerator is probably not useful to humanity. Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Electronics Association, said that the focus of technology is shifting.
"The key to all of this is that something happens in the physical space, and we digitize it and feed it back into the physical space," DuBravac said, according to News Discovery. "No longer the focus is on what can technologically be done but what is technologically meaningful."
Mobile payments and wearable devices will become more prominent in 2015, and the social implications of those technologies is yet to be seen. It is likely that privacy, censorship and freedom will become key issues as the Internet becomes more personal.
A new study finds that writers are scared of surveillance
Reuters recently reported on a new study entitled "Global chilling: The impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers." The study surveyed 772 writers in 50 countries and found that writers and journalists are censoring their own work for fear of retaliation. In other words, writers, many in democratic countries like the U.S., are censoring themselves to due fears that big brother is watching.
"Writers are concerned that expressing certain views even privately or researching certain topics may lead to negative consequences," the study said.
The study found that writers outside the U.S., in countries like the U.K., New Zealand, Canada and Australia shared the same concerns. Interestingly, 36 percent of writers surveyed in other countries believed that their respective governments offered more freedom of expression than the United States.
New technologies will frighten some people
The idea of a more personalized Internet communicating with wearable devices that post bio data online may frighten some people. If writers are concerned that they cannot share their honest views on the Internet, then there will surely be people who are not comfortable with Facebook and Google having access to their heart rate and blood-sugar levels. It is also not difficult to envision a world where police and military use biological information to discover new recruits.
According to Reuters, the study on writer censorship ends with recommendations that the U.S. government stop monitoring and collecting citizen communications. The study also advises greater judicial and legislative oversight of intelligence agencies.
"As the United Nations has repeatedly stated, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the U.S. is a party, requires it to respect the human rights to privacy and free expression of all individuals affected by its surveillance programs," the report says.
The Internet of Me is already happening and it is likely that the same views will be expressed regarding the new technologies. Changes in the way people manage their identifies online will be welcomed, other aspects will be feared – perhaps that is the natural course of events.