I remember as a little kid when we download Google Earth on our desktop in the computer room. My siblings and I were completely enamored by this technology. We looked up our address, our friends’ addresses, and spent the afternoon zooming in on different places around the world.
Ten years later, GPS is everywhere. Through apps on my phone, I’m never without knowledge of my close friends’ whereabouts, of how close I am to the nearest Uber, and the knowledge of the exact location of my keys and laptop. In my photos app, I can see a map of my 10,000 photos and where they were taken. The days of maps and printing out directions are long gone.
This technology is only getting better, with the launch of the newest satellites, GPS III, expected in 2023. These satellites are projected to be three times more accurate than our current ones. While this is exciting, it also makes me question how this technology can, and inevitably will, be abused. Are we eliminating privacy altogether? Who will get access to our locations, and how can we limit access if needed? What do we lose if we lose anonymity?
Privacy and technology prove to show an interesting tradeoff; as we get more technologically advanced, we seem to sacrifice some protections of our privacy. Whether this be in terms of data on our tendencies, or now with GPS, our literal whereabouts. I don’t know how we should handle all this, but I’m both fascinated and unsettled by its potential.