Tonight's guest Lauren Weinstein has delved into privacy and technology issues. At the intersection of such concerns, is a new project under development, called LifeLog(1). Created by DARPA(2) (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the project purports to "extend the model of a personal digital assistant (PDA) to one that might eventually become a personal digital partner."
"The goal of the data collection is to "see what I see," rather than to "see me". Users are in complete control of their own data collection efforts, decide when to turn the sensors on or off, and decide who will share the data," reads DARPA's mission statement. According to the plan, hardware worn by the user would record visual and aural inputs to form a kind of electronic diary.
But because DARPA serves as the research and development organization for the Department of Defense (DoD), privacy advocates have some serious qualms with the intention of LifeLog."Why would a defense research agency be developing such technology if not for some type of government use?" Paul A. Toth questioned in the current issue of After Dark. "Although DARPA insists that the LifeLog is inherently voluntary...the potential for exploitation remains," Toth wrote. He also pointed out possible misuse of such a program by the private sector, in which, for example, an employer might request that new hires wear the LifeLog.