November 21, 2010

I think the technology behind the Kinect means automated surveillance. In addition to the specific privacy concerns about the Kinect as it is, Kinect technology opens up the door to much more.

Since the Kinect can identify individuals, expressions, words, and actions, it's likely that either the Kinect itself or the underlying technology will be used to automatically identify illicit activity like assault, robbery, illegal U-turns, speeding, and slacking employees. Cameras equipped with this kind of technology will count and track the movements of customers in grocery stores. They'll be able to track cars as they move through major intersections. It's only a matter of time before the Kinect or a similar device is used as a form of evidence in a criminal case. If it can watch for a happy face, it can watch for illegal drugs or other activity. I haven't found any links that talk about this possibility, but I think that because digital surveillance cameras are everywhere today, it's only a matter of time until they begin to have action-recognition technology bundled into them. People in major cities are caught on camera several times a day, every day. Soon, in addition to watching, the thousands of cameras that surround us will be watching for. What do you think?

  • I love my Wii.
  • I prefer to think of Kinect as Big Brother Super-Surveillance Technology used for fun, not evil. How much fun, your mileage may vary. But the potential, and much of the capability, has existed for a while already.
  • Holy eponisterical, Mr. Kinetic! Cameras, not just surveillance ones, are ubiquitous nowadays, in phones, laptops, cars and other bits of personal property. I would imagine that images from webcams and cellphones have already been used as evidence in criminal cases so the Kinetic just adds to the mix, albeit with an added dimension of pattern recognition. As with any technology with a potential for misuse, Kinetic-like capabilities will inevitably be exploited by the dark side. If you don't want to have yet another gadget watching you, don't buy one. Not much of a video gamer myself
  • Or else disable the camera function.
  • It's amazing what privacy and freedoms people will give up just so they can have the latest, coolest gadget and play their mindless games. People! Read. Vote. Get outside and connect with reality.
  • Hey, I connected with reality for my first 45 years. I'll stay here. (But I don't have the latest, coolest gadget, my favorite mindless games are 10 years+ old and I always vote.)
  • I forgot to include this link: Anger-recognition. I heard on the BBC a week ago that some places in Europe are installing cameras with microphones that can recognize aggressive voices. Can't find a link to the information, but they're applying the process described in the link above. Not buying a Kinect won't help when every camera out there is able to actively keep tabs on people. I'm just curious about how long it'll take. The future is a panopticon. omg, onoz avatar
  • So much for the surreptitious and furtive scratchings, pickings, adjustings, smellings, pokings, and shufflings people have done for years. We might as well not bother trying to hide it any more. Hidden cameras will be the death of the polite fiction.
  • I'm hoping something like this works for me...
  • Don't they have a projected hum or something that blocks the sound of lawn mowers? Other frequencies might work for privacy.
  • Read this article: the Kinect gadget itself sounds like it'd be great fun to tinker around with for more technically accomplished monkeys. Seems the potential is there for positive outcomes and uses as well as it having a possible dark side.