Schneier’s Life Recorder

Bruce Schneier likes to scare me talking about his Life Recorder concept.

In 2006, writing about future threats on privacy, I described a life recorder:

A “life recorder” you can wear on your lapel that constantly records is still a few generations off: 200 gigabytes/year for audio and 700 gigabytes/year for video. It’ll be sold as a security device, so that no one can attack you without being recorded.

I can’t find a quote right now, but in talks I would say that this kind of technology would first be used by groups of people with diminished rights: children, soldiers, prisoners, and the non-lucid elderly.

It’s been proposed:

With GPS capabilities built into phones that can be made ever smaller, and the ability for these phones to transmit both sound and audio, isn’t it time to think about a wearable device that could be used to call for help and accurately report what was happening?


The device could contain cameras and microphones that activate if the device was triggered to create evidence that could locate an attacker and cause them to flee, an alarm sound that could help locate the victim and also help scare off an attacker, and a set of sensors that could detect everything from sudden deceleration to an irregular heartbeat or compromised breathing.

Just one sentence on the security and privacy issues:

Indeed, privacy concerns need to be addressed so that stalkers and predators couldn’t compromise the device.


Wow. Taking that Big Brother R Us concept to a whole new level.

The very fact that a universal, constant monitoring device is being proposed with the “for your safety” motto (as always) intact, is the first clue. Anytime the Powers That Be tell me I need something intrusive and controlling “for my own safety” I run the other way.

This thing would be compromised from its inception and be the ultimate “citizen safety” device. This makes CCTV appear as amateurish as it is. Police would monitor everyone “for their own and other’s safety,” or, if you will, just in case you “ever commit a crime and endanger society.”

But you can see this one coming like a freight train a mile down the tracks. Sigh.

Of course people will embrace it, just like “reality TV.” Then we can have a nextgen Facebook/Twitter-like “Life Recorder” site where everyone’s life is just playing and you can follow along any time you wish. Talk about stalkervision.

No thank you. People wonder why I am becoming more and more reclusive.

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