Adveillance. Or, Trading Your Life for Glass

Surveillance, according to Wikipedia, is “the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people for the purpose of influencing, managing, directing, or protecting.”

We’re almost used to it now. We seem to accept the fact that everything we do is captured and stored by some mysterious third party for review and sharing at some future date.

Consider then, sousveillance, which is defined at Wikipedia as “the recording of an activity by a participant in the activity,” typically by means of a wearable computer or video recorder.

The phrase sousveillance was coined by Stephen Mann, a University of Toronto professor who has in fact been practicing it for nigh on 3 decades using one form or other of homemade device.

Then there’s mcveillance, a term that describes (again, according to Wikipedia), “the ratio (linearly) or difference (logarithmically) of surveillance to sousveillance”. In other words, it’s where sousveillance and surveillance meet in conflict. We have this term thanks to Mann’s son who invented it after he watched his father get kicked out of a McDonald’s restaurant for practicing sousveillance in a strictly surveillance-only zone.

What about when sousveillance and surveillance meet on friendlier terms? Enter Google Glass, an unabashed rip off of Mann’s inventions. It enables the average consumer – or at least those of us willing to fork over $1000+ for half a pair of glasses – to practice sousveillance. But it’s a Google device so, just as with the other horses in that company’s stable, your every move is also being collected and analyzed for resale as ad fodder. In other words, you’re volunteering yourself for real-time, personal surveillance.

But everybody’s happy, right? So there, at the other end of the spectrum from mcveillance we have “adveillance“. You really have to wonder who’s getting the better half of that deal, though.