Sunday, January 24, 2016


This is a sort of follow on to the previous post.

A theme enjoyed by the camera enthusiast in this digital age is the various ways in which metadata can be generated and added to a picture. The amateurs have been heard to complain about Nikon's so-called "solutions" to GPS tagging photos. We want to automatically add copyright data, lens data, settings and so on of course. Time and date are a given. It is not entirely clear what the actual value of attaching a bunch of extra data to your picture actually is.

In any case, we have Who, Where, and When. All we need are Why and What.

The stuff you can glean from a photographer's social media pictures, without even looking at the pictures, is pretty amazing. You can make a guess as to where he lives, and where he travels. You can probably tell what hours he keeps. You can estimate his economic status. You can estimate his habits.

A modern camera together with social medias, or photo sharing, amounts to voluntarily carrying a tracking device which the darkest spooks in government could hardly have imagined in their wildest dreams.

Chuck in some basic image analysis, facial recognition and whatnot and we're really on to something.

This sort of thing can obviously be used for good. I've rattled on about using this sort of thing to manage the vast wads of photos which infest our lives. It can, equally obviously, be used for ill. We, the rank and file, the vast majority of the relatively innocent citizens, rarely benefit from increased government awareness of us. We likewise benefit little from increasingly targeted advertising.

I find it amusing and downright weird that Lightroom, apparently, lets you figure out what focal lengths you use most by, I dunno, doing something with catalogs or something and sorting somehow? Flickr would love to share with you some trend lines on popular camera models and whatnot.

Why is this stuff even interesting? We literally see articles written on flickr's latest trend data on camera model usage on Who on earth cares about this, and why? There's no use for it, it must be idle curiousity. What a strange thing to be curious about. And why are we willing to, en masse, trade vast swathes of privacy to scratch this particular pointless itch?

One almost begins to suspect a plot, before one remembers what incompetent dolts most plotters are.

1 comment:

  1. There seems to be a good correlation between democracy and protection of private life. All totalitarian regimes in history have spied on their citizens.