In discussing the “identity” or “definition” of God, Wikipedia makes this distinction: “The concept of God as described by theologians commonly includes the attributes of omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), and omnibenevolence (perfect goodness).” These are the four predominate attributes commonly and historically assigned exclusively to the divine nature and character.
In today’s advanced, pervasive, invasive, ubiquitous technologies, there has arisen yet another attribute that many are speaking of in terms of the near-divine: Omniveillance — which is a combination of omnipresence and omniscience.
Santa Clara Law Review – Jan.1, 2009:
“Google does not only record streets. Its high-resolution cameras are able to capture people, both outside and inside of their homes through open windows, engaged in private matters.
“Those captured by Google’s cameras are not even aware they are being recorded, as Google uses nondescript recording equipment to clandestinely record people in their natural state. These images are then disseminated to users all over the world.
“Current privacy laws do not prevent Google from implementing a system that broadcasts live video feeds of street corners throughout America. This threat is all the more real in light of projected trends in technology and the path of future Internet developments.
“Such pervasive human monitoring is the essence of the phenomenon this article has termed ‘omniveillance.'”
“Omniveillance is a form of omnipresent and omniscient digital surveillance in public places that is broadcasted indiscriminately through-out the Internet. Due to the unselective nature of this technology, neither news-worthiness nor a person’s solitude is of any concern.”
In an article posted on CNN Money entitled, “Your face is secretly being used against you,” David Goldman writes: “Retailers and advertisers want to scan your face to identify you, track you, and market stuff to you — all without your consent.”
“Your face is the key to unlocking everything you keep private. On social media sites — particularly Facebook (FB, Tech30)– your friends, interests, location and past purchases can be linked to your photo. That a gold mine for advertisers. Until recently, however, there was no way to link your online treasure trove of data with your offline persona. Walk into a store, and retailers had no idea who you are or how to market stuff to you. That has changed in the past couple years as facial recognition technology has become more robust. Now, your face has become the link between your offline and online presences.”
Are we sliding rapidly down a slippery slope that will take us to places of supreme secret scrutiny that we will regret once we get there?
- The Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy: Working Paper – “The Surveillance Society” – http://omniveillance.info
- “Omniveillance, Google, Privacy in Public, and the Right to Your Digital Identity: A Tort for Recording and Disseminating an Individual’s Image over the Internet” by Josh Blackman, Assistant Professor, South Texas College of Law, Houston – http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1116776 –
Social Science Research Network