Much has been said about the power of crowdsourcing, but, the concept of an online game that harnesses the power of the internet “hive-mind” to prevent crime named “Internet Eyes” seems to walk a tight rope between security and invasion of privacy.
From the Daily Mail:
A new online “game” called Internet Eyes is about to launch, offering players a chance to earn money by spying on people through closed-circuit television cameras and reporting them to the police – for real.
With the risk of sounding a bit paranoid, it should be noted, that whether we realize it or not, we are surrounded by CCTV cameras nearly every hour of the day. CCTV cameras are everywhere, at the convenience store, the traffic light, at our job and possibly in our own home. However, most of these cameras go unmonitored. If and when any crime actually takes place, the footage is most often viewed after the fact, too late for any intervention. This is exactly what “Internet Eyes” seeks to remedy.
Like a neighborhood watch on steroids, “Internet Eyes” would give players access to millions of private and possibly even public cameras. Cash awards will await vigilant souls who are able to spot crimes through their perpetual virtual stakeout.
“This could turn out to be the best crime prevention weapon there’s ever been,”Inventor Morgan said. “I wanted to combine the serious business of stopping crime with the incentive of winning money.”
Of course this sounds good in concept, but, just how comfortable are we with the idea of thousands of strangers being able to monitor us, our children, our families without any guarantee of their good intentions. Beyond the obvious threat from potential stalkers there is also the very real possibility that criminals could indeed use this very same technology to find blind spots in stores and neighborhoods and give them the ability to track an individual’s daily movements.
Engineers and architects have long known that the walls that protect us are the same walls that confine us. For every measure of security we add we lose a measure of freedom or privacy. In this age of information the notion of public and private is indeed blurred, but we should give long thought to how much privacy we are willing to sacrifice to fill innate need for security. I am not at all certain that Internet Eyes is a wise or even responsible use of said technology. But it does make for an Interesting debate, and a good question to ponder is… at what point does security give way to insecurity? Or, at what point do we begin to fear the very devices which were constructed to ensure our safety?