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Augmented Reality and Privacy 144

Posted by kdawson
from the case-for-a-protected-feed dept.
An anonymous reader recommends a piece up at Augmented Planet that makes a couple of points about privacy in the realm of geotagging and augmented reality that haven't been discussed much. First, once you geotag and upload, say, a photo to the Net you can lose ownership over the data and especially its metadata. Second, data on the Net is long-lived and might be put together in ways you wouldn't like, long after it was created. "If you geotag a picture with your new 50" plasma TV in the background and upload it to the Web, congratulations you have just told everyone where you live and what you have of value. The web has a long memory — geotag something today and in six months it is still on the Web. When you tweet from the beach in Barbados telling your friends you are away for 2 weeks, that picture of your 50" plasma will still be out there along with its location. It's easy to track down someone's home address if you have their real name." The submitter adds, "I never really cared about my online privacy too much. This article made me think seriously about privacy for the first time. No mean feat."
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Augmented Reality and Privacy

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  • 2. keep all online family pictures private, behind a password

    it always amazes me to find online profiles with birthdays and family member's photos: there's your mother's maiden name and your birthday on full display or a few clicks away, handy for opening new credit cards in your name

    • by Afty0r (263037)

      handy for opening new credit cards in your name

      Hardly my problem if a credit card company decides to give a credit card to someone masquerading as me... well I spose it depends on the laws of the country you live in, but where I live (the UK) this is the Credit Card companies' fault... and responsibility, not mine.

      • even if the cost to you is $0 financially, the cost to you is high in terms of hassle and headaches in dealing with bank bureaucracy over an extended period of time. you have to cut off the fake credit cards. additionally, now your real transactions are under the spotlight of greater scrutiny by the banks, which could result in denials or delays

    • by dintlu (1171159) on Monday November 30, 2009 @10:06AM (#30269518)

      This does not indemnify you against information uploaded by unwitting friends, relatives, acquaintances, or colleagues. The more people come to rely on the internet as a venue for socializing, the less control any individual will have over their personal information or their privacy. As information collecting becomes more automated, AR will become more useful and hence more commonplace, possibly bringing some of the issues raised by the article to the fore.

      I think it's important to recognize that even though AR introduces additional risks to *your* security and privacy, it has the exact same effect on a *criminal's* security and privacy. I'll throw a hypothetical scenario out there - say you enabled a service at the supermarket that automatically emails you a copy of your receipt whenever you make a purchase. If your identity thief makes a purchase at one of these supermarkets, you have an incriminating email containing unrecognizable foodstuffs and a credit account you never opened, which can be used to spearhead an investigation pulling CCTV footage from that supermarket to compare to a facial recognition database, resulting in the identification and arrest of the identity thief.

      Given this scenario, I think that rather than rebel against the erosion of our privacy, we need to accept that privacy in its current incarnation will never exist again, and instead work towards ensuring that no single group of people is allowed to exempt themselves or abuse this new information.

      • by russotto (537200)

        I'll throw a hypothetical scenario out there - say you enabled a service at the supermarket that automatically emails you a copy of your receipt whenever you make a purchase. If your identity thief makes a purchase at one of these supermarkets, you have an incriminating email containing unrecognizable foodstuffs and a credit account you never opened, which can be used to spearhead an investigation pulling CCTV footage from that supermarket to compare to a facial recognition database, resulting in the identi

        • by node 3 (115640)

          But the thief gets the benefits immediately, while the victim has to invoke the ponderous mechanisms of the state to benefit... which can be like being victimized again.

          How is that any different than things are now, except without the ability to "invoke the ponderous mechanisms of the state"? (whatever that's supposed to mean)

          Having some form of recourse is better than no form. As it stands right now, the ability to catch the criminal, or even *know* a crime has been committed, is very limited. With the proposal you are dismissing due to being either "ponderous", or of the "state" (it's hard to tell which bothers you most, perhaps you think the two always go together?), at

      • by severoon (536737)

        I'm glad that people worry about this kind of stuff, but this problem specifically...not a problem. It's not as if people have no way to know who has nice things, and there's enough people in the world that don't even bother stopping their morning paper when they vacation that criminals never have a hard time finding easy targets.

        The real trick here is to try not to be an easy target, and to accept that if someone really wants to target you, they're going to get you. There's not much you can do about it, bu

    • by e2d2 (115622)

      I wish you would. Maybe get those bill collectors onto a new blood scent.

  • by alen (225700) on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:10AM (#30269110)

    to always broadcast your location and everything about me to everyone on the internet? we are all friends, right? everyone on the internets cares about what i do everyday, right?

    • by Toy G (533867) <toyg.libero@it> on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:32AM (#30269250) Homepage Journal

      This obsession with self-visibility is a byproduct of "celebrity culture", which itself is a byproduct of XX-century broadcasting. Once current paradigms of information consumption give way to something different and more bidirectional, people will stop obsessing about exposing themselves.

      • by maxume (22995)

        Tell that to the King.

      • I'd love to expose myself. But first we need to repel these totalitarian indecency laws.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ZeroExistenZ (721849)

        This obsession with self-visibility is a byproduct of "celebrity culture", which itself is a byproduct of XX-century broadcasting. Once current paradigms of information consumption give way to something different and more bidirectional, people will stop obsessing about exposing themselves.

        I agree to a certain extend, but it's beneficial in another perspective completely detached from the negative undertone: I love it when there are a few people reviewing their restaurants, adding their fav places, uploading

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          I've been reading the book Spook Country by William Gibson (of Neuromancer fame) recently and it amazes me just how predictive it is of this whole augmented reality thing that I had not really heard much about until earlier this year.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:14AM (#30269122) Journal
    And we know what you did last summer...
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And we know who you did last summer...

      There, fixed that for you.

  • Avatar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by warren.oates (925589) on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:17AM (#30269138)
    I haven't used my real name anywhere on the Internet in about ten years.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by indre1 (1422435)
      That's called paranoia man.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        That's called paranoia man.

        That's called foresight, man.

        • by LS (57954)

          That's called paranoia man.

          That's called foresight, man.

          You are both right, men.

        • As long as you socialize online with the people who know you IRL.
          In most cases it doesn't take a thesis in data mining to figure out your identity based on the chatter from your friends and colleagues.

          As for OP's geotagging remark... better start strip searching your friends and family and forbidding any kind of photographing or video recording in your home (No geotagging in this house!).
          Cameras and phones come with geotagging turned on by default, and now there are SD memory cards with built in wi-fi that

      • by Threni (635302)

        I don't think so. Why would you? What's the advantage?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I haven't used my real name anywhere on the Internet in about ten years.

      It seems that you have been living two lives. In one life, you are Warren Oates, program writer for a respectable software company.

      The other life is lived in computers where you go by the hacker alias Neo, and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for, including the unauthorized use of the D.M.V. system for the removal of automobile boots.

    • by izomiac (815208)
      Interesting, I was under the impression that using false names with banks, on line merchants, and government services wasn't legal.
      • by mdm-adph (1030332)

        Well, I was under the impression that banks, online merchants, and government services releasing my personal information to the public wasn't legal, either.

        We use our fake names on the Internet, and our real names in those services, and never the twain shall meet, unless some law is being broken.

    • by No. 24601 (657888)

      I haven't used my real name anywhere on the Internet in about ten years.

      So does that mean you never use online banking or government services ?

      Ever applied for a job online ?

      Pretty powerful statement.

  • by Toy G (533867) <toyg.libero@it> on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:18AM (#30269146) Homepage Journal

    A search engine for burglars!

    Quick, let's file a patent...

    • Patenting something that you will only sell to thieves doesn't sound like a smart thing to do.

      -Apologies if this goes off topic-

      • It means if anyone is ever arrested for this crime though, you can sue them for patent infringement without you being guilty at all. With the lower burden of proof for civil cases, you can probably even sue the ones who get off the criminal theft charges.
      • You'd be surprised (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Toy G (533867)

        Thieves are not *pirates*, you know.

        (more seriously, thieves are quite happy to pay like everyone else when the profit/cost ratio is high enough.)

    • by That_Dan_Guy (589967) on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:39AM (#30269292)

      This is Exactly what s happening to celebrities today. Out here in LA there were was a gang of teenage girls that followed al the celeb mags, watched the TV shows where the celebs showed off their houses etc. Then they got on Twitter and face book to see when these celebs left town. BAMN! they robbed the house. Took the police a year to find them!

      They had millions of dollars worth of crap they hadn't figured out how to fence!

      • by Toy G (533867)

        This is also happening in England's "football country", the Manchester / Liverpool area (which also happen to include some of the poorest urban areas in the entire country). More and more in recent years, footballers' houses are broken into during match days (which are known months in advance).

        This resulted in a direct economic boost to the security industry in the region, so there is a positive side to it :)

  • Maybe you should think seriously about the quality of your 'friends'. Unless you're one of those dupes who need to believe that the 600+ people that have sent you facebook friend requests acctually care about you.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What on earth does this mean? "Lose ownership of the metadata inside a photo"? Does the author even know what he/she is talking about?

    I don't exactly fear "losing the rights" to the metadata contained in the jpegs I spread around the web: shutter speed/focal length info, the camera source info, eventual embedded ICC profile, width/height info etc.

    My god, the idiocy.

  • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:31AM (#30269230)

    Nobody reads your twitter, nobody follows your flicker account and no 2bit criminal is going to do both when i can just drive round the block and see your curtains haven't changed states in the last 3 days. There are reasons to care about your privacy, future blackmail, employer searching for you, etc, but nobody reading you (mirco)blog is going to steal your TV.

    • s/i/he #damn Freudian slip!

    • by thefirelane (586885) on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:40AM (#30269308)
      You realize, there is a reason that they don't immediately release the names of disaster victims right? It's so the surviving family members can secure their property as criminals will find their address and break in. I imagine this also would be exploited.
      • by Threni (635302) on Monday November 30, 2009 @10:01AM (#30269492)

        That might be one reason. Another is to give the police time to tell the family members so they don't find out about it from watching tv or reading a newspaper.

      • Whoa, big fat [citation needed] right there!

        For one thing, if someone called and told you a plane fell down with your brother inside, would your first impulse really be to run down to his place and "secure" his flatscreen?

        • by D Ninja (825055)

          For one thing, if someone called and told you a plane fell down with your brother inside, would your first impulse really be to run down to his place and "secure" his flatscreen?

          Absolutely not.

          I would secure the XBox360 first.

    • Well said Sir. Also to those who "never really cared about online privacy", expect bad things to come your way (read: FB Fails [facebookfails.com])

    • by eth1 (94901)

      You're talking about small time criminals that are operating opportunistically. Any mistakes and they might walk in on me when I'm home (and they'll very likely have to be carried out with a few newly installed .4in or 5.56mm holes).

      This information allows burglars to do their casing safely and anonymously from home, and they can operate in a much larger area. Who cares if they have to drive 70mi, if they know with a high degree of confidence that a certain house will be unoccupied for a few hours, and the

  • Come back when you have an OLED ! *g*

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:47AM (#30269350) Journal

    BOTH happened when I was at home and there was clear activity. One in the morning, busy getting ready and suddenly someone was in the kitchen who ran out.

    Other time 3 people tried to climb on the balcony while 4 people were in the house.

    The fast majority of crime in holland is committed by imigrants (don't bother telling me otherwise, all attempts were made by dark-skinned people) who have the combined IQ of a raisin.

    /. nerds come up with all kinds of clever tricks to steal things, that is not how criminals do it. Brutality and a surety that the legal system has been gutted makes them attempt break ins where there is no point because they want cash now. Planning... that just doesn't feature. It is opportunity crime, when you are home, you got doors and windows unlocked, when you are away, you double bolt everything.

    Mythbusters had a few of those Mission Impossible style break in attempts, meanwhile the biggest diamond heist that really happened, just involved driving up, loading the bags and driving away. No complex stuff, no sci-fi. Just the arrogance to think you can get away with it, and you often can. And when you don't, the law has so little change to catch you, it is worth the risk (conviction rate in Holland is less then 10% of REPORTED crimes, only a fraction of crimes are known to be reported, so do the math).

    Do you really think a criminal who is going to sell your new plasma for at most a 100 dollars (think about it, even if you buy blackmarket, you want a box, you steal TV's from the warehous factory, not somebodies house) is going to bother keeping track of potential photo's that might show a plasma you had then and corrolate that with when you CLAIM to be away?

    Real burglars just walk past and LOOK. And they are a hell of lot more interested in a place that is dark where they can get inside very quickly and away very quickly. And even then, what are they going to do with a 50inch plasma screen? Takes ages to unplug, get off the wall, into a car and then you got what? A 2nd hand tv. Oh yeah, fences pay big bucks for that.

    I swear slashdot is the nerds fox news. You know those jokes:

    amount of pedophiles in the entire world: -

    amount of pedophiles on myspace according to Fox: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA broken up because of crap filter AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Slashdot is like that with privacy

    Real world criminals tracking you: -

    Criminals tracking you according to the privacy crazies on /.: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA broken up because of crap filter AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    It is like the crappy filter /. uses: Real spam stopped 0. Jokes and valid points ruined: zillion.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      I had TWO attemped burglaries in my life...
      The fast majority of crime in holland is committed by imigrants (don't bother telling me otherwise, all attempts were made by dark-skinned people)

      Really? That's your argument?

      You have a sample size of exactly two and from that you feel confident to extrapolate to all crime in the country?

      After demonstrating such absurdly bad reasoning skills, why should anyone take anything else you have to say seriously?

      Bigotry is innumeracy.

      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by Toy G (533867)

        I had TWO attemped burglaries in my life...
        The fast majority of crime in holland is committed by imigrants

        [...]You have a sample size of exactly two and from that you feel confident to extrapolate to all crime in the country?

        You don't understand, his majority is FAST.

    • by Schiphol (1168667)
      So, this is a joke and the moderators are metajoking, right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ultral0rd (1595449)
      Strangely enough I've heard and experience the complete opposite. I've been burglarized twice in my life, and both were done by highly organised crime gangs. Sure your small time druggies are just looking for something to grab so that they can get another hit, but organised gangs will thrive on information like this, to see who is afk and who isn't. And in the end, it will be these guys who will drive away with your flat screen's and suitcases full of everything else thanks to AR. Or maybe the burglar's i
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by severoon (536737)

        I've been robbed two times by clowns. If I come home to find grease paint smeared on my door handle and unicycle tracks all over my hardwood floors, I swear I'm gonna do something drastic!

    • by izomiac (815208)
      Grossly speaking there are three types of criminals: smart and dumb. Dumb criminals won't do the sophisticated attacks. Smart criminals are unlikely to do something as risky/low reward as burglary of some Average Joe's house.

      Vanity causes people to post every little detail of their lives with the delusion that someone cares. This form of paranoia is another manifestation of the same... it's the delusion that someone cares enough to carefully examine your digital life because your stuff is somehow wor
      • Grossly speaking there are three types of criminals: smart and dumb.

        What's the third type? Or is that the "grossly" part?

    • by PPH (736903)

      BOTH happened when I was at home and there was clear activity. One in the morning, busy getting ready and suddenly someone was in the kitchen who ran out.

      Other time 3 people tried to climb on the balcony while 4 people were in the house.

      The fast majority of crime in holland ...

      Not in the USA. Breaking in while someone is home is likely to get you shot. Even the druggies know this and make some attempt to verify a house is empty before entering.

    • by NiteShaed (315799)

      all attempts were made by dark-skinned people

      You're Dutch. Pretty much everyone from anywhere is dark-skinned compared to you. You actually manage to make the British look positively swarthy. The people on your balcony were probably just tourists from Nebraska looking for a good place to take windmill pictures.....

      By the way, you don't happen to live in Haarlem, do you? Just wonderin'.....

  • It's a Trap (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by b4upoo (166390)

    Next time I go on vacation I'll put it online complete with photos of a great new plasma TV. That is right after I wire it up to a 220 outlet so that when someone lays hands on it they are fried.
    Or, more moderately, anything that appears to be a breach in security can also be one heck of a set up to trap bad guys. Although I will say that I live in an exceptionally safe environment. In my location thieves are almost always quickly caug

  • by S3D (745318) on Monday November 30, 2009 @10:27AM (#30269682)
    Geotagging [wikipedia.org] and Augmented Reality [wikipedia.org] are not the same. Surely AR application can do geotagging, but not necessary, no more than it can produce sound for example. AR also can use publicly geotagged objects, with client not publicly geotagged. AR have no relation whatsoever to problem in question.
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Monday November 30, 2009 @10:58AM (#30269952) Homepage Journal

    "If you geotag a picture with your new 50" plasma TV in the background and upload it to the Web, congratulations you have just told everyone where you live and what you have of value. The web has a long memory -- geotag something today and in six months" nobody will care about your antiquated plasma TV.

  • I would lie saying that i have a big plasma tv, a lot of gadgets and money hidden in my house, and stay hidden till the buglar with that wonderful augmented reality device come to take it.

    The real problem there is not so much augmented reality as is making public things that you dont want everyone know. Once you go that road, probably augmented reality and/or geotagged photos aren't necessary.
  • Sorry, but no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Drummergeek0 (1513771) <tony@@@3bdd...com> on Monday November 30, 2009 @11:56AM (#30270520)

    If you buy a 50" Plasma and bring it home, anyone driving by while you take it inside now knows you own a 50" Plasma and where you live. Where does it stop?

    While theoretically, it is possible to figure something like this out for a robbery or something like that, the chances are incredibly slim, and nothing you do with the exception of completely unplugging and never leaving you home is going to make you completely secure. This is just fear mongering, you are at no higher risk with internet than you are with normal conversation (you tell friend 1 you just got a tv, they tell their friend that a friend of theirs just got that new TV, later on you leave on a trip and tell your friend, whose friend happens to be around/friend 1 tells, and now he can go steal your TV.) It is the nature of socializing, you are gonna give information that is innocuous by itself but when pieced together information can be used for bad deeds.

    Ok, go ahead and mod flaimbait or troll now

  • The answer to all of this is social networks. Whether it's posting pictures+blogs+"tweets" on Facebook that are only shared with your friends, or using Android's geolocation and only sharing it with your contact list.

    What we really need is a social network that isn't closed up in a single company's app. I'd love to use my Facebook social network for sharing pictures and "private" blog entries about vacations. The problem is that it requires uploading all my data where it's locked up in Facebook.

    Maybe in

    • by osssmkatz (734824)

      what about google's opensocial? That allows you to port apps and data between social networks.

      --Sam

  • ...because no one in their right mind would travel 100's of miles to steal a 50" inch plasma tv that you can get for the price of a mediocre tv set just a few years ago anyway, there's more to it than that.

    The thieves you'll most likely get (if any) is your locals. These have the time to check you out, to make sure you don't have guards - or security service...you can't find out that on facebook. And besides, they want much more from you than a mere plasma tv, if you have valuable silverware, artwork etc. n

  • I don't have any nice things anyway.

  • It's funny that everyone talk about the internet and "information wants to be free", but in the end it basically breaks down all hierarchies--bring fairness to everyone and empowers everyone equally: and that includes criminals, the homeless, the predator, and the politician. I rather think of it as information wants to be discovered...and exploited.


    I can't wait until F/OSS gets exploited by the internet--Granted F/OSS is benefitting the world more-so-ever, but so far it's a blind love fest.We all talk

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