Over the next decade, systems which create and store digital records of people’s movements through public space will be woven inextricably into the fabric of everyday life. We are already starting to see such systems now, and there will be many more in the near future.
Here are some examples you might already have used or read about:
- Monthly transit swipe-cards
- Electronic tolling devices (FastTrak, EZpass, congestion pricing)
- Services telling you when your friends are nearby
- Searches on your PDA for services and businesses near your current location
- Free Wi-Fi with ads for businesses near the network access point you’re using
- Electronic swipe cards for doors
- Parking meters you can call to add money to, and which send you a text message when your time is running out
These systems are marvellously innovative, and they promise benefits ranging from increased convenience to transformative new kinds of social interaction.
Unfortunately, these systems pose a dramatic threat to locational privacy.