Lifelogging: Modern Journal or Invasion of Privacy?

Lacy LangleyBusiness, Science, Technology

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The future is here, and it’s name is Narcissism. Swedish company Memento has developed a life-logging camera that you wear on your person. The camera takes a picture every 30 seconds and saves it for later sorting. That means everyone you talk to or pass by will be captured on film. That means 100 pictures of your lunch date chewing his food. Or 5,000 pictures of your computer screen at work.

When Martin Kaellstroem, the developer of the lifelogging camera, was a young adult, he lost both his parents to cancer. It became a spur for him to seize the day, as a person and an entrepreneur.

"When you lose your parents, you realise that you don't live forever. It has definitely affected me in my entrepreneurship. I can't wait until later to fulfil my dreams, I have to live my dream now," he said."Traditionally, people only brought their camera to special events when everyone was dressed up, smiling into the camera,"

"But you don't know in advance which moments will be important in the future. Perhaps you meet your future wife or witness an accident or a crime, pictures you might want to return to."

The best part is, you can share your “memories” with friends and family. And alienate them.

Lifelogging does raise some privacy questions, says Steven Savage, a researcher at the Swedish Defence Research Agency, noting that the private sphere is relative: what is not offensive to one person might be to another.

"It depends where the photos end up," Savage said.

"Today, it is difficult to search pictures, but new technology is being developed all the time. Once those pictures become searchable, more questions will arise. You'll lose control over the situation."

Jan Svaerdhagen, who is currently writing a book about lifelogging, agrees.

"The first question one should raise is, 'what function is filled by taking a photo every 30 seconds?' Who buys the product and for what purpose? Are we entering the next stage of social media where we not only log, but also share our lives 24/7 in a kind of Big Brother Light version?" said Svaerdhagen.

"I jog a lot, and sure it would be fun to have some photos from a run, but the question is, are we entering narcissism in its most extreme form?" he said.

Kaellstroem said he and his team thought about privacy while designing the camera, bearing in mind that many might be uncomfortable with being confronted with a spying eye.

"It has to be clear that it is a camera, but yet with a friendly design that makes people comfortable and not distracted," he said.
Good luck with that.

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Lacy Langley
Lacy is a writer from Texas. She likes spending time in the home office, homeschooling her kids, playing the didgeridoo, caring for her chickens (Thelma and Louise), Rolos, Christmas, and Labyrinth.