// what do you think?


You Can’t Hide From the Web

I know my friend Brian Sollom, is nodding his head and Mike “foleymo” Foley has probably already signed up. The Next Web is reporting about a new app that allows you to take a picture of someone and pull up all of their recent social activity. It’s not hard to let your imagination go from there.

Stalk a Stranger. Point Your Phone At Their Face.

Recognizr works when the user points the camera at another person. Inbuilt face recognition software maps a 3D model of the subject and transmits the information to a remote server where it is matched with an identity already present in the database. This information is then sent back to the handset along with any relevant social networking information associated to that person, conveniently displayed above the persons head using little social icons.

The service is opt in only (right now) but face recognition technology exists from companies like HP and Microsoft. There are even free versions out there. It’s only a matter of time before this capability is available without having to opt in.

This will scare the crap out of a large number of people. I understand but there’s no turning back.You can either try, unsuccessfully, to hide from it or you can take control of it and manage it.

Here are my 3 big takeaways for you:

  1. There are no back channels. Do not say anything on the Web you wouldn’t want everyone and anyone to see.
  2. Understand how to use the tools. Facebook and Google don’t make it easy to control your privacy (it’s in there best interest when more data is public) but understand how to use the privacy settings and use them as you see appropriate.
  3. There is no difference between online, offline and mobile realities.

I’ve long claimed that ther is no difference between online and offline. Augmented reality apps are another example of this.

As marketers we need to quit talking about online vs offline vs mobile. The form factor and user interface may be different but all three coexist and we need to be thinking about and using all three. We also need to act responsibly with customers best interest in mind.

Don’t sacrifice customer privacy and comfort for monetary gain. There is a backlash coming, it won’t be pretty and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of that fire storm.

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://realestateundressed.com/2010/02/24/wow-you-cant-hide-from-the-web/ RealEstateUndressed » Blog Archive » Wow, You Can’t Hide From The Web

    [...] From Tac Anderson: Here is the article  [...]

  • http://twitter.com/RealTweeter Lacy Kemp

    I take issue with the fact that there is now a need to censor what we say. Take Facebook for example. Facebook is primarily a personal channel for me. The majority of my friends on Facebook are people that I hang out with, or used to in college. The bigger social media gets, the more friends are being added that are friends through my professional life, but not so much my personal life. My “real” personality is quite different from my professional personality. The need is growing greater for me to watch my mouth on my personal sits like Facebook as everything is traceable. I often add disclaimers for new followers to tell them that I might drop a F bomb or say something they find insulting (though never on purpose). But that’s just me talking with my real friends. I even now have to watch what I say on my personal, very non-work, blog as my brand bleeds into my personal life.

    I find this to be really unfair, but I also find it to be reality. I either suck it up and behave myself or I risk offending people that I care about, risking my job etc. In some ways it’s a blessing. It forces me to be really social, as in hanging out with my friends in real life and not just on my computer. But when this kind of technology comes out, even being physically present can come back to haunt you. I think there are lines that should be drawn. I just don’t know where to draw them.

  • http://paisleyhouse.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/224/ 2/24 « Someday I'll Have a Paisley Couch

    [...] to know what that stranger at the grocery store has been up to lately? Just snap a picture. (And yes, you should be terrified.) [...]

  • heidimiller

    Creepy! And… fascinating. How many times have we taken a minor misstep on a social site that needed correction: tagging an unflattering photo of an inebriated friend, complaining too angrily about bad customer service, or mentioning by name a coworker who should have remained anonymous?

    Personally, I've never had security on any of my posts, Twitter, Facebook or otherwise; I just try to make sure everything I say would be repeatable in front of my grandmother. Still, for those who don't spend their lives contemplating levels of online (and offline) privacy, it could be very easy to make a disastrous slip.

    Frightening. Intriguing.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    This is going to be a huge wake up call to a lot of people.

  • http://jeffhora.wordpress.com Jeff Hora

    I've been in a several-week-long discussion about personal security and web/social media lately. While the privacy concerns give a number of us the creeps, as you say, we've already crossed that line. However, due to a lack of what I'll call digital literacy, a huge number of users are very lax about their privacy settings, and the consensus among my colleagues is that it will take “an event” to wake a more sizable portion up to the situation. This “event” is unlikely to be very pretty, but as a culture we tend to respond to disaster in a more aware fashion than we respond to incremental change.

    Yeah, it's scary….

  • S8Ronin

    Tac, a disclaimer: never was CIA…former Department of Defense civilian.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    I think we'll see two things happen: people get a little more civil and people learn to deal with a little less “professionalism.” I think there we will all meet in the middle somewhere.

    Just last week my mom found one of my other blogs and took offense to an offhanded comment I made about my relatives. I have to watch ourselves a little more.

  • http://twitter.com/RealTweeter Lacy Kemp

    I feel weird complaining about this. I love my job, but I don't like how I can't be as candid as I'd like. I'm cool to meet in the middle. :)

  • crs

    “3. There is no difference between online, offline and mobile realities.”
    Isnt that the point of social media to communicate, why should it offer its own set of rules of how to relate? The old adage of dont say anything about someone that you would not say to their face is valid as it always has been.
    Isn't the most respected brand or person the one that “says what he/she/it means, and does what it says?”
    Throughout history the issue has been the same, people talk about others, or do something silly and it gets relayed to others. Verbally, written, tape recorders or video cameras, now people publish there own thoughts and actions to the world.
    At the end of the day facebook or whatever platform owns the content so any notion of control is illusory anyway.
    One can live life in fear of being caught saying and doing something controversial or offensive, or be honest with themself and consistently behave as he or she sees fit and deal with the consquences.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/caught-in-the-crossfire-of-the-geolocation-wars-sxsw-geowars/ Caught in the Crossfire of the Geolocation Wars [SXSW GeoWars]

    [...] tools like Recognizr make it impossible to hide who you are from the Web now a new set of tools make it so you can’t hide where you are from the Web. And actually [...]

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