Pri­vacy isn’t dead, it’s evolv­ing

Peo­ple are not naive about how much pri­vacy they give away to tech, says the Au­to­g­ra­pher CEO. The de­bate is very much on­go­ing

Australian T3 - - CONTENTS -

In­sight by Au­to­g­ra­pher’s Si­mon Ran­dall

We hear a lot about “the death of pri­vacy”, with all of us, and young peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar, sup­pos­edly rush­ing to ex­pose our most in­ti­mate moments on­line, in many, po­ten­tially life-ru­in­ing ways. But while it may make for a good head­line, hid­den within is re­ally just a se­ries of ex­cuses from some of the larger so­cial net­works not to pro­vide the func­tion­al­ity and ex­pe­ri­ences that peo­ple re­ally want.

If teenagers re­ally didn’t want pri­vacy choices, why have they been jump­ing out of Face­book and into What­sApp and Snapchat? Ser­vices that al­low deeper en­gage­ment with a con­trolled and smaller group of friends are ac­tu­ally grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity and no won­der; if your mum joins your net­work of “friends”, it doesn’t take long un­til the things you are shar­ing start to be­come sani­tised.

It has taken time to re­alise the im­pli­ca­tions of what we share and how data is be­ing mined from us, but far more ques­tions are now be­ing asked. We’ve be­come adept at man­ag­ing info across our net­works of friends; now we’re start­ing to un­der­stand what terms we want to work with when it comes to busi­nesses.

The thing is, data col­lec­tion mas­sively pre­dates so­cial net­works, go­ing all the way

back to the first di­rect mar­keters. Pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions handed over per­sonal info to banks, su­per­mar­ket loy­alty schemes, magazine sub­scrip­tion sell­ers and oth­ers with­out a sec­ond thought. To­day, peo­ple are aware of the deals be­hind the deals, and some are begin­ning to ques­tion it and look at ways to op­er­ate dif­fer­ently – now that’s progress.

Which, in a strictly non-plug­ging sense, brings me on to Au­to­g­ra­pher, the prod­uct my com­pany makes. It’s a cam­era that hangs around your neck, tak­ing pho­tos and film­ing video so you don’t have to. So are we con­tribut­ing to “the death of pri­vacy”?

Well, first up, let me make clear that we in­clude user guide­lines with all our de­vices that cham­pion the pri­vacy of oth­ers as paramount. How­ever, more fun­da­men­tally, just as at­ti­tudes to data are in flux right now, so are at­ti­tudes to wear­able cam­eras. They’ve evolved with the wide­spread use of smart­phones and image shar­ing, to the point that there’s an un­writ­ten so­cial eti­quette to gov­ern how and when it’s ac­cept­able to take and share pics.

With this type of de­vice, from Google Glass to GoPros, you can fo­cus on the mo­ment rather than step­ping out of it to cap­ture an image on your phone or cam­era. This re­sults in very nat­u­ral, non-posed im­ages of life as it hap­pens. You can also shoot in sit­u­a­tions, such as rock climb­ing, where whip­ping an SLR out would be ill-ad­vised.

Wear­able cam­eras also ad­dress another cur­rent tech downer: liv­ing life through a screen. You can en­joy your­self and cap­ture rich, at­mo­spheric pho­tos at the same time. In beta test­ing of the Au­to­g­ra­pher, we had a user at the Lon­don Olympics 100m fi­nal. He looked around the sta­dium be­fore the race started and it seemed he was the only one there who ac­tu­ally watched the race. Ev­ery other person he could see viewed it through the screen of their mo­bile de­vice or cam­era; they might as well have been at home on their sofa.

The com­ing wave of so­cial wear­ables will let us share bet­ter im­ages and free us from hav­ing to see the world through a screen. Pri­vacy isn’t dead, we just need to be vig­i­lant and sen­si­ble about how we main­tain it – and also what we’re trad­ing in re­turn for it. Si­mon is the CEO of Au­to­g­ra­pher

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.