A Kanji for Silence
The Custom and Border Protection (CBP) official at Hartsfield–Jackson airport scanned Martin Bryant’s fingerprints.
“What’s that little device you’ve got clipped on?” he asked.
Bryant was entering the United States from the UK. He was wearing a Narrative Clip. The Clip is “a tiny camera that takes a photo of what’s in front of you every 30 seconds.”
Bryant planned to use the Clip to document his trip, to “capture the flavor of his journey.” As he approached the CBP official, “a terrible realization dawned on me – I’d forgotten to take the Clip off.”
The story has a sort of happy ending. Bryant had to delete the airport pictures he took — or rather, the Clip took, but he was eventually allowed to continue his travels.
It was the first time the CBP officials had seen that particular device. Bryant writes that he
…expected stern faced, intolerant treatment from officials who wanted to get rid of an odd British geek’s weird little camera as soon as possible, and instead they took the time to understand what they were dealing with and respond in an appropriate manner.”
Homeland security students contemplate how wearable technology, like Google Glass, can assist first responders for event security, disaster response, and other tasks.
Wearable glass technology could be valuable in reinforcing the [TSA’s]… security techniques for its Behavior Detection Officers…. A computerized eyeglass device could assist in gauging a passenger’s physiological responses, such as pupil dilation or micro facial expressions. The technology could also potentially monitor a traveler’s walking gait to determine if the person is concealing an item, as well as provide a remote feed where other officers can analyze what the wearer is seeing.
The PEW Research Center issues a report on Digital Life in 2025, reminding readers that the World Wide Web is 25 years old on March 12.
Among the report’s good news bad news hopes:
Augmented reality and wearable devices will be implemented to monitor and give quick feedback on daily life….
People will continue – sometimes grudgingly – to make tradeoffs favoring convenience and perceived immediate gains over privacy; and privacy will be something only the upscale will enjoy.
There is no need to worry about this Brave New World
Here are three slogans from the David Eggers book, The Circle. Repeating them 15 minutes twice a day will put any concerns you might have to rest, once in the morning and once before you turn off all your devices and go to sleep.
Sharing is caring.
Secrets are lies.
Privacy is theft.
Here’s an excerpt from The Circle (208 ff). An elected official decides to provide ultimate transparency by wearing a steroids version of the Clip during every waking moment.
Everything she does will be streamed in real time.
Showing care by sharing everything.
Embracing truth by having no secrets.
Demonstrating honesty by shedding privacy.
I intend to show how democracy can and should be: entirely open, entirely transparent, Starting today… I will be wearing [the Clip on steroids]. My every meeting, movement, my every word, will be available to all my constituents and to the world.
“And what if those who want to meet with you don’t want a given meeting to be broadcast?” she is asked.
‘Well, then they will not meet with me.… You’re either transparent or you’re not. You’re either accountable or you’re not. What would anyone have to say to me that couldn’t be said in public? What part of representing the people should not be known by the very people I’m representing?
It begins now for me… And I hope it begins soon for the rest of the elected leaders in this country – and for those in everyone of the world’s democracies.
Before too long, in Eggers’ transparent new world, no one gets elected or appointed to any office unless they promise to wear “the Device.”
Why would they refuse to wear it?
What are they trying to hide?
Happy birthday, World Wide Web. Without you, life would be