Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Striking the balance between freedom and privacy, and the other Empoprises rule


When Chris Kim A shared this video, two things struck me.

First, I was struck by the fact that the woman chose to sing the inferior verison of the song. Dolly Parton's understated version of the song is preferable to Whitney Houston's.

Second, anyone who watches the video can't help but notice the "no photos" commands being barked.

This is terrible, you may be thinking to your self. What is it with Amerikkka the police state and its "no photos" regulations? I have the right to document everything I see!

Ah, but what happens when the camera is turned and pointed toward YOU?

As Google Glass continues to roll out, business owners have gone beyond laughing at odd-looking Glass owners. Some are banning the product from their establishments:

Dave Meinert, who runs the 5 Point Cafe in Seattle, said those wearing the spectacles will have to remove them if they want to come in.

He has put up a sign on the wall which reads: ‘Respect our customers’ privacy as we’d expect them to respect yours.’

In one sense, this is ridiculous. I don't need Google Glass to record conversations in the 5 Point Cafe - or on an airplane.

But it does illustrate our divided views on recording things in public places.

On one side you have the late Rodney King, Robert Scoble, and others who believe that recording events in public places is a good thing that can ultimately protect people from crime.

On the other side you have people who have been victimized by recordings in public places, who content that the right to privacy is a very important right.

Now some may argue that it is very difficult to strike a balance between freedom and privacy, but I contend that it's not hard at all.

So let me present my Empoprises Rule Regarding Recording Freedom and Privacy:

I am allowed to record anything that I want.

No one, however, is allowed to record me unless I say that it's OK.

For some reason, some of you may think that this is not a good rule to apply to society. However, I don't see any problem with it myself. :)

One thing that I will note, however, is that this is not exclusive to a particular Google product - or even to technology in general. While a technological product can help you to record potentially private things in public places, it is also possible to record such things with a very low-tech pen and piece of paper.

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