While the intrusive surveillance of George Orwell’s 1984 was probably impossible in the actual year 1984, it seems that he was merely 30 years ahead with his dates. More and more always-watching CCTV cameras are being deployed around our cities, and private citizens are following the trend by filming huge parts of their lives via mobile phone cameras. The end result is that privacy is a concept which has largely lost the battle with omnipresent technology.
The one thing that had stopped the further spread of surveillance cameras was, until now, that they need to be continuously connected to a power source. Now a new startup from Latvia is trying to remove this barrier too, with a new product they are crowdfunding called the GeckoEye.
The GeckoEye is an all-in-one interconnected ‘smart’ video camera system which is linked wirelessly to your smartphone. What sets it apart from current on-market smart cameras, such as the ‘Dropcam’, is that rather than being powered by batteries or mains power, the GeckoEye runs on solar power. This gives it the versatility to record video and audio just about anywhere where it can be exposed to sunlight.
The question needs to be asked at some stage where the actual need for this technology is.
Alongside this device is that now-tired formula for crowdfunding: a computer rendered product, featured in an overlit and over-dramatic video of its use, all backed by a soundtrack of inspirational music and promises of transformative change. Indeed, while the technology may be innovative and quite possibly inevitable, the question needs to be asked at some stage where the actual need for this technology is.
While home surveillance systems are popular, there is little evidence that they do much to deter criminals, who can easily circumvent them through the use of a balaclava. In addition, the other main use highlighted by GeckoEye’s makers is the use of the device by parents to monitor their children - but is this really such a good thing? Do we really want to surveill our children like criminals, rather than allowing them privacy in their own rooms?
Furthermore, this sort of wirelessly integrated network of camera is likely to be vulnerable to hackers. While the data stream itself is probably encrypted, history has shown that the actual administrator passwords to these devices are often easy to crack through phishing or social engineering.
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