Cycling is about "Safe exercise" and "Safe low-emission travel" The Health and Fitness objective is UNDERMINED if the means of exercise is UNSAFE! This blog STRONGLY OPPOSES certain reforms VicRoads is currently considering: “cyclists could be allowed to treat red lights as Give Way signs. And the same could also APPLY at pedestrian lights."
Also "PERMITTING cyclists, riding cautiously, to proceed past a stationary tram;" "allowing teenagers to ride on footpaths"(Herald Sun)PDowe
real world is about to become a much more stalker-friendly place.
The makers of a new app, "NameTag," say that their facial-recognition
software is actually supposed to make the world a much more connected
place, but given that the app can spot a face and wirelessly match it up to
social media profiles, all without giving people the option to opt out, let's
go with stalker-friendly.
According to the app's developer, FacialNetwork.com:
NameTag links your face to a single, unified online presence
that includes your contact information, social media profiles, interests,
hobbies and passions and anything else you want to share with the world.
But wait, you say - I can choose not to share my
intimate details with every Glass-wearing and smartphone-wielding creep I meet,
so what's the big deal?
Yes, the app's users can do that, but the rest of us
are apparently sitting ducks.
The reason there's no opt-out or opt-in is going to sound
familiar to those who've read about other stalker-enabling apps such as
Girls Around Me.
Namely, NameTag is drawing on publicly available
According to spokeswoman Jordan McGee, NameTag is going to
function like a real-time online search that's triggered by facial recognition,
cross-referencing information across the web and compiling it into one profile
that's presented to smartphone app users or Glass wearers - sometimes known as Glassholes.
Compiling publicly available information will present users
with an instant read of whether the person they're ogling is single, for
example, along with whatever embarrassing things they've written (or photos
they've posted) on Facebook, Twitter, Imgur, Pinterest or other social media
sites, she said.
As long as it's been made public, it's fair game.
FacialNetwork.com's Kevin Alan Tussy told me that phone numbers
and addresses won't be displayed. At first, I thought he meant that when the
app eyeballs a pretty woman on the street, her phone number and address
wouldn't be shown, even if publicly available.
But that led me to wonder whether the same privacy protection
would be given to other intimate personal data, such as income, political
affiliation, sexual orientation or the like.
We will never display those things unless a person
specifically wants us to. Most of those won't even have designated fields in
our database. For example, if you want to show your income, you would have to
type in the open notes field.
Unfortunately, it sounds as if the only way to control
sensitive information is to join NameTag and create your own profile. The
theoretical woman in the street, if she's made her phone number or address
public anywhere online, won't be afforded that privacy control, in spite of
never having opted in to this service.
Is this really the best way to handle privacy? To force the
public to know about every startup that comes onto the scene, to join every one
of them, to create their own profiles, and to then suppress that information,
all manually, all on a site by site basis, service by service, startup by
Yoinks. One would imagine not.
FacialNetwork.com is also working to allow the scanning of
profile photos from dating sites such as PlentyOfFish.com, OkCupid.com and
But wait. Online dating profiles are private. You need a
password to access the profiles that contain the photos. How will NameTag get
It won't, but its users will.
Tussy said that users
will be able to copy a photo from a dating site profile and then paste it into
the app's site to conduct an image search - similar to what people might do
with an image search on Google.
The app is currently in beta for Google Glass users, and
will soon be released as an app for iOS and Android.
Undoubtedly, the developer said, this reticence is "due
to pressure from privacy groups", but FacialNetwork.com thinks that Google
will eventually reconsider after it sees the "vast societal benefits"
afforded by NameTag.
There are extremely good reasons for Google not to support
facial recognition. What would make Google ignore the input from privacy groups
and change its mind on this issue, I asked?
We bring Google+, Facebook, Twitter and all the other sites
into real life social interactions, and we see that as the biggest reason for
them to support us. NameTag has been created with a great respect for privacy
and it is a tool that will greatly benefit our society and the lives of
individuals. Our largest concern for our apps, especially our mobile apps, is
balancing privacy with our new technology. We believe that we have found that
balance and that Google and other mobile device providers will see that and
allow us to officially utilize their platforms.
As far as I can tell, NameTag is balancing privacy and
technology by giving its users the ability to control what information is
displayed about them. The rest of us are left to our own resources and our own
vigilance with regard to our images and our personal data.
So, use this as another excuse to check your privacy settings
on all your social networks, and, as always, keep intimate photos and personal
data as closely buttoned up as possible so that you're not letting apps that
feed on publicly available data gorge themselves on yours.