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The RoBlog
Thursday, January 06, 2005
 
If I remember who you are, do I violate your privacy?
Student Ian Curry has created a system called bluefish whereby everyone who has a bluetooth device that walks into range of the system gets their photo taken by a webcam, and gathers whatever information it can from the bluetooth device (presumably information primarily consisting of what services are offered on the phone).

When a person passes the system a second time, the photo that was initially taken is sent to the bluetooth device (if it's capable of receiving unsolicited files).

This raises the obvious question of the security of the bluetooth device (can people interact with the services on the device without authorization?). But Mr. Curry goes on to state that it brings up issues related to privacy, and I wanted to explore (tease, really) the idea a little.

What other identifiers do we carry around with us that might be as useful as bluetooth in terms of identifying us against our knowledge?

Cell phone radiation signatures?
Face?
Walking patterns?
Voice patterns?
RFID cards?

Certainly these are not all as easy to use as a bluetooth signature (in fact, none of them, with the exception of RFID are, and RFID may be too rare to be interesting at this point), but they will likely be soon enough.

What exactly are the "very real privacy concerns" that this raises? Perhaps we'll discover that the problems aren't as deep as we feel they might be, or perhaps they are worth the tradeoff we get from the enabling technology (equally likely, so that people don't think I'm that much of a zealot, we may discover it is not worth the tradeoff).

Is this significantly different from an ad server that knows everywhere you go online? Certainly it feels like it is, but why, exactly?

We're very used to feeling violated by technology these days (perhaps even trained to do it by major media), but I wonder if this is something to feel violated about at all.

What do you think?

Via Smart Mobs
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