Fascism and Apple's 'Integrated sensing display'

I was looking at the “integrated sensing display” patent blurb on core77’s main page and was struck by a distinct feeling that I do not particularly like the idea of it for the following reasons of privacy:

  1. It may not be apparent from looking at such a display that it is also a camera, so one would not necessarily be able to tell it is there. It could be hidden in any monitor.

  2. Building on one, the camera is not localized to a single chip/aperture, so one must assume that any exposed corner of an entire screen leaves open the possibility of surveillance. Contrast this with the MacBook/iMac camera window on the display bezel; tape it over and you’re set!

I suppose concerns over such a sensor could also be extended to having a built-in mic on one’s computer, or having one’s keystrokes logged. A/V signals are a much higher bandwidth than keystrokes, however, and offer a potentially unwanted window in to one’s physical life. To play things out a bit further, what about distributed camera surfaces other than monitors? Will the walls have eyes?

Any other paranoid opinions on this, other (perhaps unintentional) disruptions of privacy, or even outright surveillance? When do design ideas have the potential to become tools of abuse against their users?

When the spies and robbers upgrade their technologies, the counter-espionage and security systems upgrade too. Within a few hours of this display being released, there will be a way of hijacking it; within a day of that being released, there will be a countermeasure. This is the way society works.

This is really no more subversive than an embedded video camera or tiny microphone, both of which are around today, have perfectly valid uses, and (so far) are hardly ever used as “privacy invasion” (a buzzword I personally loathe). If the camera/display catches on, people will eventually start to think of displays as two-way media, and adjust their habits accordingly. It definitely won’t be used in, say, the NSA (apparently the computers there have no disk drives and no printers for security reasons), but home users will definitely find it useful. If they get concerned about privacy, they can turn the system off. Even the most brilliant computer geniuses have yet to find a way to remotely access live data through a disconnected, unpowered computer…

I don’t know what kind of weirdos are out there, but if I had one of those displays and it were hijacked, all they’d get would be a lot of feed of the shelves opposite my computer - and periodically a shot of myself sitting relatively still, eyes moving here and there. Not exactly sensitive, secret data.

Of course, there’s always the common statement: if you have nothing to hide, then there’s no reason to worry…

Tell me it’s not creepy to think of your display as staring back at you :slight_smile: . By offering a completely seamless replacement of display with camera-display, limitations of where camera technology can be placed in a computer are greatly reduced. For computers equipped with traditional cameras and other sensors, the recognizability of such leaves people a little more prepared. The potential for continuous discreet surveillance, whether one considers it acceptable or not, is a stressful prospect, whether or not “one has something to hide”. Making such technology part and parcel of the display standard could very well soften people up for further intrusions.

If you really want to freak out over it, who’s to say such a display won’t be able to correlate your image with sense of what’s on screen to find out what you’re looking at? Potential benefit for special needs users here, though…

Nah, just put a one way mirror on your screen so you can see in but no one can see out.

problem solved