Factoring in Consent
Two really interesting ideas below.
Just like teaching abusers like Harvey Weinstein that our bodies are not theirs for the taking, we need to teach businesses the same.
That line made me stop cold. Ruth’s article is brilliant you need to read it.
And we (as society, businesses, nerds, people) need to think much more clearly about things like fitness trackers, smart cameras, public-service cards or home assistants and their enormous impact and potential for damaging relationships.
The IoT is destroying consent, right as we are (finally) trying to promote understanding of it.
This is an outstanding piece of writing. With discussion of consent and abuse everywhere, it is a provocative but not unconvincing argument that while important work is done building understanding on consent socially, technology is undermining it.
Devices now map our lives in way so significant and intimate it has proven impossible to absorb. It has happened so quickly and with no single person to hold responsible for it that is is almost impossible to prevent. Ruth’s argument is these devices don’t over power our capacity for consent, they obliterate it.
We cannot pretend that we have no bodies in ‘cyberspace’. We are not hiding behind a screen and then switching it off. Everything is connected. We are walking past cameras, we are carrying tracking devices, we are using smart meters and smart tvs.
And they are only following the lead of governments.
But “nothing to hide nothing to fear”, the mantra of Theresa May, has passed on to every company and organisation that uses data-gathering as its model.
The lightbulb for me was that doing better begins with consent.
Consent acknowledges a few important things about the interaction between our lives and smarter objects:
1) The data that can be gathered is sensitive and potentially damaging in the wrong hands
2) Responsibility exists to build a healthy engagement, not an exploitative one.
Free Electricity with your Internet Fridge
Terence Eden threw up a short post with a dash of futurology. What if your internet connected appliance came with free electricity?
What is really found interesting was the mapping of your usage patterns that the smart-object — smart-meter relationship creates for big companies, government and utilities.
You register your fridge online. It *wavy hand technobabble* talks to your smart meter and tells it how much electricity it has used that day, the sum is deducted from your bill.
Apply this to every device you purchase over the next five years and your smart meter is suddenly a pretty intricate road map of your life and energy use.
All of these future features exist as possibilities or prototypes. Having read Ruth’s piece before Terence’s we need to get a great deal more businesses up to the mark on consent, respect and responsibility before trusting them with that much information.