Increasing I am becoming more interested in geolocation information. I have grown up with GPS from a survey and engineering background. I have been around to see metadata become a standard for new file formats and for all kinds of devices to add geo-tagging. We have projects like Microsoft’s Photosynth, Google’s Goggles and Maps, and other augmented reality endeavors. I participate in Geocaching. This stuff is all common now, if still pretty awe inspiring.
And then there was social networking. What started as simple web pages evolved into things like FourSquare. Anything from dating applications to what nearby restaurants have coupons available as QR codes. I recently read I Am Here: One Man’s Experiement With The Location-Aware Lifestyle and decided to stop being so hermatic and begin playing with these services. I had already started using Yelp to find edible dining while traveling. I am still paranoid and refuse to use Google’s Latitude, but the hesitation is slowly lessening.
Today I came across the article Everything the Internet Knows About Me (Because I Asked It To) and it was not what I had expected. It had a more philosophical approach to it focusing on introspection and behavorial patterns. As it applies to work, it was interesting to consider the kinds of suspect or victim profiling that can be done with a simple Google search and wondering how much of this data can be correlated visually with applications such as Maltego and the like. While reading the article I was reminded of other services, such as Last.FM, I have subscribed to in the past, but have not kept up with between OS reinstalls and other personal changes. Of course, this lack of data is information in and of itself. It also reminded me that I am irked by Mint failing to navigate my bank’s authentication procedures.
All of these services had a hurdle for me to pass to begin using. And, in the back of mind I knew the potential for linking everything together; especially when I use the same services to track other people. However, reading the above articles while already pondering the ongoing social process of redefining our language and expectations shed a whole new perspective on things. Society is changing the concept of privacy by their continued use of services such as Facebook, talking openly on cell phones about personal business, and the use of bluetooth and open wireless access points. The Internet is enhancing that from the latest geo-aware services to the lower tech couch surfing. It’s an interesting world and one where anonymity is no longer a struggle against the government, but ditched in favor of embracing an open lifestyle.