Android Wear is our Digital Bill of Rights?

March 18, 2014

Okay, it’s a terrible pun - sue me (don’t).

Google Wearables was announced today and after watching both the videos in their blog post, I settled on three initial thoughts:

The first two seem fairly trivial and it may be just one of those marketing decisions. We’ll probably see more on this when their preview developer SDK is release later this week.

However, there were two comments on Hacker News that stuck with me.

kshatrea said:

I am in the position of being torn apart by two very strong feelings. One is the world where information flow due to companies like Google does a real service to humanity: for e.g. wearing devices that can keep us reminded of our meds or monitor sugar levels, to talk just about the possibilities in healthcare. Then I think of Edward Snowden and I now know that what Google knows, maybe America/Russia/China/WhatHaveYou know. Although at this point I am as normal a citizen as you can find, that can’t be taken for granted forever. For e.g. in my nation (India) being gay is illegal and so is marijuana, and so is alcohol (in some states) and so is a lot of stuff. This feeling makes me want to minimize my footprint.

A reply from smokinjoe:

More and more I’m thinking that some sort of Digital Bill of Rights is necessary to carry on in this technological-based World. At first I always thought of it as a nice thing, but perhaps a little too abstract or extreme to really do what it needs to do. However now we have some very large and real threats to our personal lives via this medium. I just feel like it makes a lot of good sense to produce something of the sort. I’m also naive enough to believe that it isn’t too late to attempt to establish such a document and have it not contain all sorts of loopholes that would render it useless. I can understand why the feds want to monitor the Internet and various communications, however there needs to be that pushback, that line drawn where we can hold their overreach accountable. It may not always work, but there needs to be something that us ordinary citizens can lean back on for protection.

Now is no better time to push for a Digital Bill of Rights right before something as massive as this happens. With the huge number of Android users out there, slapping on a smart watch with them that’s always sending information from the watch, to the phone, to god knows where. This is also right before the many rumours that Apple is also going to be entering the device wearable market.

I also purposefully ignored Samsung’s watch since I find their exclusive ‘Samsung phones only’ compatibility very limiting.