Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

No Privacy in Utopia

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Welcome to utopia. Speaking a few years ago at a technology convention in San Francisco, Google CEO Eric Schmidt described this new world of utopia.

“It’s a future where you don’t forget anything . . .. In this new future you’re never lost . . .. We will know your position down to the foot and down to the inch over time . . .. Your car will drive itself, it’s a bug that cars were invented before computers . . . you’re never lonely . . . you’re never bored . . . you’re never out of ideas.”

It sounds exciting doesn’t it? Computers will help you remember. Computers will keep you from getting lost. You will have a car that drives itself. Eric Schmidt even complains that the car was invented before the computer. He is thrilled we will have driverless cars. You will never be bored or lonely or out of ideas.

What could possibly go wrong? John Whitehead says that once you “strip away the glib Orwellian doublespeak” you find a world where privacy is gone. That smart phone in your pocket or purse can tell you where you are. It can also tell other people where you are as well. GPS devices help us find our way, but they also record where we have been. Satellites and traffic cameras can record our every move. Drones can find you and track you. The utopia the Eric Schmidt describes is also a Brave New World that John Whitehead documents in his book, A Government of Wolves.

In a recent column, John Whitehead talks about black boxes and V2V transmitters being put in cars. Some of the new cars coming out for next year have a performance data recorder which “uses a camera mounted on the windshield and a global positioning receiver to record speed, gear selection and brake force.” It even records noises inside the car.

As I said at the beginning, welcome to utopia. Actually, we should say, “welcome to a utopia where you have zero privacy.” The future may sound exciting, but we will all pay a price as we lose our privacy.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

Viewpoints sign-up