Tech consumers are becoming increasingly privacy-conscious, and the catalyst of late seems to be Edward Snowden’s big reveal of PRISM, the NSA’s domestic spying program.
But look at all the information about ourselves we voluntarily punt out into the universe — every single thought is tweeted, every photo gets posted to Facebook, every fireable offence is described in gripping detail on that blog you hope your boss never finds.
But the utility of these things, whether they help you stay productive or deliver a quick blast of serotonin to your brain, far outweigh the privacy concerns. If they didn’t, no one would use them.
So this is the conundrum the tech innovators face today. We know that many people want to share their thoughts all the time, but they also want to be sure they can do so safely. How does the marketplace respond? There’s not really a good answer yet.
Let’s take a look at the latest generation of privacy-eschewing technology, whether it’s available today or will be shortly.
The Memoto is a lifelogging device that you wear on your lapel. Its camera shoots a picture every 30 seconds. It aims to help make sure that you remember more of your every day life, but how do you explain this to the stranger on the elevator as you take two pictures of him in the minute it takes you to get to the ground floor?
Google Now (think of it as Google's response to Apple's Siri) is a pretty impressive piece of software. Because it remembers your emails and Google searches, it can begin to anticipate your needs.
If you repeatedly search for Mets scores, it will automatically update you on the results of the latest game. Book a flight? Google Now will tell you when it's time to leave for the airport, even accounting for the traffic in your drive time.
When you can't remember the name 'Jules Winnfield,' Facebook Graph Search lets you find him by searching for something like 'Friends from California who work for Marcellus Wallace.'
By indexing pertinent parts of your profile, Facebook users can find you by searching for your attributes, let alone your name.
The good news is, it only shows information to the people you originally shared it with. So if you're profile is private, only your friends will be able to find your information through Graph Search.
Google Street View is riddled with a history of privacy concerns. Google admitted to '(scooping) up passwords, e-mail and other personal information' as its cars rolled by. And having camera-equipped cars travel the world and snap photos of city streets got a lot of people irked as well.
Google recently settled a lawsuit with 38 states.
When you've misplaced your iPhone, Apple's Find My iPhone is a lifesaver. It puts a fat blue dot right on a map where your phone is.
But it also opens some weird privacy concerns. Consider David Pogue, whose iPhone was stolen. He tracked it to the thief's house and posted his address. Should he have been able to do that?
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.