It wasn’t that long ago when Google’s motto “don’t be evil” was taken seriously by the general public. Nowadays we all know that Google has about as many scruples (or lack thereof) as any other major corporation. Their bottom line depends on targeted advertising, and that means that every product or service they provide is given to their customers with the sole intent of invading their privacy.
Which is why the public should be thoroughly alarmed by some of the products that Google plans to roll out in the future. If you thought Google Glass would present plenty of opportunities to invade the privacy of both the user and the bystanders who are caught on camera, then you should be a little freaked out by a patent Google filed two years ago, which was first publicized last week.
The patent is for an optical implant that would place a camera inside your eyeball. Just imagine a world where you have zero chance of knowing if someone is filming you. After every interaction with a stranger, you’d be left wondering if your conversation is about to wind up on Youtube. You might even start censoring your thoughts and conversations when in public.
And of course, the owner of one of these cameras would have to accept the fact that everything they see and do would be tracked by Google. They would be privy to your most private and intimate moments. In time, they would come to know you better than any other human being.
But as much as the wearer’s intentions are a concern, they’re not the only ones you’d have to worry about. All of those connection points and signals mean that your lens camera would be capable of broadcasting and recording everything. That information could, conceivably, be used much the same way your browsing data is.
Imagine Google, for instance, knowing what newspaper you read, what medications are in your medicine cabinet. Imagine them seeing the contents of your wallet, bank statement, email inbox, refrigerator, and gym bag.
Imagine Google knowing what trains you take to work, and where, and who you talk to at work, and when you have a fight with your wife.
And that’s just what Google will see. They’ll use this to send you targeted ads, which are the backbone of their business model. But none of this takes into account what could happen if your camera is hacked by criminals. It’s one thing to be inundated with eerily personalized ads, it’s quite another to have your most private habits leaked to people who can stalk you, blackmail you, or clean out your bank account.
What’s truly freaky is that Google thinks this idea would be sufficiently popular and profitable enough to place a patent on it. They clearly believe that at some point in the future, the public will be okay with this. Will you?