Don't be afraid of what you can see. Investigate what you can't

U.K Cinemas are banning Google glass over piracy fears  When I saw that article in the Guardian yesterday I was astounded.  It reminded me of the early 1980's slogan 'Home taping is killing music' , as it happens home taping didn't kill music but the record industry did their best to, with sky high CD prices and taking a long time to understand the implications of the internet,the MP3 and the iPod.

I can't think of anything worse than watching a film recorded on Glass, the 'pirate' would have to keep their head perfectly  still for an entire film, both the video and sound would be low quality. The Bone conduction microphone is designed to pick up the voice of the wearer not Cinema sounds. The camera is 5Mp and can record at 720P video.  I don't know what the sensor size is but it will be a lot smaller than a DSLR camera, given the physical size of the unit.

Glass has just gone on sale in the u.k at £1000.  That would pay for a pretty decent and discrete camera with lens and microphone.  If I was intending to video films at the cinema that is where I would spend my money.  If the cinema industry is so scared of Glass filmed copies competing with its IMAX 3D Surround cinemas they really need to have a look at what they are doing.

Maybe Cinemas need to  look at removing admission prices,get more people through the doors and make more money from food and drink sales and from advertising.  Or maybe the reaction to Glass is just a fear of the unknown,  its a new technology, that they don't understand and don't know how to deal with. I would be interested to find out if as a test anyone  has  tried recording a film on Glass, seeing how hard it is and what the result actually looks like, i'm guessing not.

Something happened this week that  with the Google Glass ban and the controversy over the Facebook Scientific paper  really made me think about the use of technology.

I was at an event looking at new technology and its applications.  It was pretty interesting but nothing unusual. I went to the event,picked up my pin on badge. Talked to some vendors selling nice tech. but nothing out of this world, had a cup of coffee and then listened to some presentations.  At this point I was shaken.

One of the presenters was talking about tracking technology for events just like the one I was at. I'm used to companies scanning a bar code or Q.R code on your badge to add you to a mailing list.  When that happens its ok I consent to it.  But the presenter showed that they were tracking which stands people had visited and there wasn't any visible tag on my badge and i hadn't had it scanned it, or touched it to any reader in any way.

Immediately I took my badge off and held it to the light.  And clearly there is  form of RFID tag visible.


The badge was just a thin paper badge,  it probably costs several  pence to make.   I was quite shocked at being able to be tracked like that but in that case it didn't bother me too much.  But the possibilities of where it could be used are more worrying.  Its well known that store loyalty cards are used to track your purchases and can even predict when a woman is pregnant  Having this technology in cards will mean that a Store can not just tell what you buy  but want you don't buy, what route you take around there store, where you walk slowly or fast or if you change direction and go back for something you forgot. It will be able to tell which entrance and exit you use, did you eat in the cafe or use the cash machine.

The Google Glass ban in cinemas is silly because anyone obviously wearing Glass isn't the one up to  no good.  While people have been rightly concerned over the Facebook study, it is research that Facebook are comfortable sharing with their competitors and the wider world. It was two years ago and for one week only.  If you are worried about that study have a think what they have been doing for the last two years,  not sitting back and twiddling their thumbs.   Amazon,Twitter,Google and Apple  must be glad that Facebook went public with the study, it takes the heat off of them and no doubt will be a reminder to keep all of their work private now.

I love technology, I work with it every day and I know it can be used for some really,fun,interesting and worthwhile applications.  But I do worry that it needs to be kept in check and monitored otherwise in the wrong hands it can be harmful.  For that to happen there has to be an understanding of what it can do and how it can be used. What it should be used for and what it shouldn't.   Learning to program with devices like the raspberry pi and the Arduino is a great start but also thinking about what all the technology around us is doing and why it is there. I would encourage everyone who is ever given a simple paper badge to hold it up to the light and see what might be hiding inside it.










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