Who Watches the Watchers?

The exploding trend of using social media may have unintended consequences.  Posting pictures online makes it easier for someone to research you and your friends.  There’s http://www.tineye.com a reverse image search engine, so if someone searches using a picture of you and that same picture is posted in more than one place online, tineye will show all of the sites in that the searched picture appears in.  Also, unless GPS data is turned off the phone the picture was taken from, the geographic location of where the picture was taken are in the EXIF data.  Not only could posting a picture online give someone access to other pictures and, through tineye, a list of social media sites you use, but the EXIF data can show where you live and what places you frequent. 

Rather than becoming a way to watch the watchers, I think wearable technology will lead to the crowdsourcing of surveillance.  Apple already has the ability to remotely disable your phone.  It won’t be too long before other companies follow suit. This, combined with the stigma of sousveillance leads me to believe that instead of being a way to police the police, a la Rodney King, wearable technology will lead to neighbors spying on each other like some authoritarian utopia.  All the revelations about government surveillance of our current electronic communications lead me to believe that if wearable technology becomes as popular as cell phones are today, that law enforcement could turn into a similar scenario to the precrime unit in Minority Report. 


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