Sony recently filed a patent for an ultra-smart contact lens with an organic electroluminescence display screen that will allow the lens to record (and display) video. It is said that Google, Samsung, and several other tech companies are also investing time and resources into smart contact lenses. No word on if -- when the lens is in record mode -- the user's eyes glow like Children of the Damned, which would be pretty helpful to know if you are showering at the gym.
Now in addition to reminders to turn off your cell phones, theaters and movies will have to say, "and those of you with recording contact lenses, please remove them during the performance." And just how secure will the storage be of everything that happened in the bedroom last night? The privacy issues around smart contacts are almost endless. While the upsides are obvious -- such as flawless "recall" by witnesses in criminal cases, learning from recorded surgical procedures and getting that damned GoPro off your bike helmet -- the downsides seem almost as limitless.
Already technology has shrunk cameras so they fit into ball-point pens that record without the knowledge of those in the lens. I expect that neighborhood drones have put a stop to a fair amount of topless sunbathing and closed some second-floor curtains that used to be left open with some assumption of privacy. On the other hand, if you have ever lived in New York, it is apparent that being seen nude or engaged in sex is not much of a concern to an awful lot of people.
With processors and cameras shrinking by the day, it is unlikely that the government, at any level, will be able to keep up with myriad ways they can be nefariously used, so don't assume that you will have any legal protection from being recorded without your knowledge. And if you think that doesn't matter, a friend of mine just lost half of his accumulated wealth because a recording made years ago contradicted what he was telling the judge about his ex-wife's failings as a companion and a mother.
Imagine if all of those "off the record" conversations (nee gossip sessions) you thought were private and to be kept "between us" were to resurface because circumstances changed and all the wrong people got to see what you had really said. Happens all the time in Scandal, why not to you? You already have to worry about smartphones just out of sight recording what you are saying or (not) wearing. Imagine when you will have to wonder about someone's contacts?
With the Snapchat-driven culture of "full disclosure" among younger folks, perhaps privacy is a dying concept and those of us concerned about it sound all too Victorian. But I suspect that changes when you become an unwitting victim of a surreptitious recording.