Remember that scene in Minority Report, where Tom Cruise is on the run from the law, but is unable to avoid detection because everywhere he goes there are constant retina scans feeding his location back to a central database? That’s tomorrow. Today, Google is tracking wherever your smartphone goes, and putting a neat red dot on a map to mark the occasion.
You can find that map here. All you need to do is log in with the same account you use on your phone, and the record of everywhere you’ve been for the last day to month will erupt across your screen like chicken pox.
We all know that no matter what ‘privacy’ settings you may try and implement, our information is all being collected and stored somewhere. That knowledge sits in the back of our minds, and is easy to drown out by shoving in some headphones and watching Adventure Time on repeat until everything stops being 1984. But it’s a sharp jolt back to reality when you see a two dimensional image marking your daily commute with occasional detours to the cinema or a friend’s house.
Looking at mine, I realised that a) I live my life in a very small radius, and b) there are places on my map that I don’t remember going. One of them I’ve apparently visited three times on different days. Once whilst “Biking” and twice while “Stationary”. All at times I wouldn’t usually be awake. I’m not sure what’s happening on Wood Street in North Melbourne, or why my phone apparently travels there without me, but I’m not going to rule out secret alien conspiracies.
Apparently this record only happens if you have ‘location services’ switched on in your phone; if you do and you’re finding you have no data, then it means that either you don’t exist or you’ve beaten the system. If it’s the latter, please teach me your ways; I know for a fact that I switched my phone’s location detection off, but apparently it somehow got switched back on.
Oh well. Perhaps this month I’ll take some inspiration from the runner who used Nike+ draw dicks — except this time when the dots are joined, they’ll just form a huge, unblinking eye. With occasional side trips to Wood Street.