It’s like watching a re-run of your life.
Today a growing number of people are wearing small digital cameras and capturing every moment of their day. They call it “Life Logging,” using a camera that automatically takes thousands of individual pictures.
The cameras are small and generally hang on a pocket or purse where most people would not even notice. At the end of the day they provide a time-lapse movie with shots of nearly everyone that crosses your path that day.
“As we get more connected, this is just going to seem more normal,” said Scott Peterson with San Diego-based Gap Intelligence.
The photography analyst sees this as a growing trend.
“The public space is the public space,” said Peterson, “and we’re kind of free to do what we’re doing.”
But privacy expert Kim Gough with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is worried about a future where everything is captured on a digital screen.
“It’s a little frightening,” said Gough who worries about how the time lapse pictures will be shared.
“To me this is an invasion that is behind a level that I don’t think we can all quite comprehend,” said Gough.
Unlike a hand-held digital camera or even a GoPro camera, the Life Logging cameras are often ignored by the general public, most people not noticing the one- to two-inch device.
For a week I wore the Blynk camera made by LyfeShot. The black camera is 2 ½ inches long and 1 ½ inches wide with a small flat lens. The camera can be set to take a still image every second.
Since you wear it on your clothes, the camera takes pictures of everyone else and not yourself.
When you are finished, you then download the thousands of pictures onto your computer at the end of the day and watch them as a jittery time lapse video.
Not once did someone ask me what I was wearing on my coat or shirt pocket. I wore it in grocery stores, malls, amusement parks, restaurants and even to the bathroom without a complaint.
However, when I told people about the camera, and that I was taking their picture, they were generally amused but some were not happy.
“I think it can be kind of creepy,” said Ruby Sinuhe.
David Henry agreed, saying “It invades people’s privacy.”
Steve Fifield was resigned to the idea: “I think it’s a little weird, but it’s a free country, right?”
Privacy expert Kim Gough said if those still images were used with some sort of face recognition software, it could open all sorts of potential problems.
“Fun is OK until it’s at the expense of somebody else,” said Gough.
“I think it will become more natural over time, and lot of these privacy concerns we see initially are going to be addressed,” said Scott Peterson.
In many states there are more laws against recording someone’s voice without their permission than taking their picture. However, if the camera is taken into a space that people believe is private, that could be a legal challenge. The law could also be broken if pictures are taken of copy written images from movies or plays.
Bottom line, the Life Logging cameras are not going away. In fact over time they will probably get smaller and smaller with better quality images. The question is how will the images they take be protected, or will it become accepted as a price for going out in public.