Douwe Osinga's Blog: 10.000 brothers are watching you

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

10.000 brothers are watching you

SOS Camera Watch has a database of 10.000. publicly available on-line web cams, observing public places in the US. In the coming years, cameras will shrink and become cheaper, in accordance with Moore's Law. (Wireless) bandwidth will also become cheaper as will storage. There is no way to avoid it, camera's will be everywhere, recording our each and every move. In a few years, the first independent moving tiny robots will appear and these could be carrying cameras too.

It is hard to fight this kind of technological progress, even if you would want to. The general public doesn't care that much about privacy and a world, in which every crime would be recorded, wouldn't sound to bad to the voters who against most statistics always seem to think that crime is on the rise. Physical anonymity the way we're used to, is heading for the dust bin of history.

What will we do? Will accept the change and all live in a glass house and will trying to be anonymous become synonymous with criminal? I don't find that very likely. That would alter out culture deeply and would have to overcome a lot resistance. The other way out might be that people will start to look anonymous by wearing the same clothes or even masks. The Burqa might be in for new popularity in the West.

Seinfeld said that at some point in the future, we'll all be wearing the same outfit. He based that on the fact that that is the case in all movies about the future. Maybe the cameras will be the reason for this.