Opinion: Nametag Not That Big a Deal

Here lately there has been a lot of talk about Google Glass and facial recognition thanks to an app named “Nametag”. Many people are up in arms about the app, calling it everything from stalker-friendly to privacy invasive. Like most things in the media, I think that sites are playing off people’s fears and are just causing a huge overreaction to something that isn’t really that big of the deal. I know I’m taking a pretty unpopular stance on the subject of Nametag, but I really don’t think that it’s that big a deal and it shouldn’t even be this big of an issue. Here are some of my thoughts about Nametag.

Being Online

Like most people I have accounts on multiple social networks, which I willingly upload information to including my interests, my phone numbers, my emails, my photos and everything else you can imagine. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you all the sites that I’ve signed up to, but what I can tell you is that you can learn a lot about me by just searching my name. Literally, by just participating online I have created a big document that you can use to learn everything about me if you had enough time.

If I’m willing uploading all this information online, then I don’t see what’s the big deal with an app being created to easily access this information. If the application was harvesting and using data/information illegally, then I could understand being mad but I don’t see how you can get mad at someone for creating an application that can simply attach a face to publicly accessible information.

Realistically

Realistically, a majority of the population isn’t going to even have the desire to use this app. Not only that, but the people who use it are not going to be using it all the time. It doesn’t make sense to think that a random person is going to be interested in taking pictures of a bunch of strangers faces just to learn about them and realistically Google Glass can’t make it through the day to take a picture of everyone’s face. There is definitely a chance that a random person might use it to scan a few people at a coffee shop, but it’s not going to pull up much more information than what they can find through a conversation with the person themselves, or a barista and a few good Google searches. A realistic example of Nametag usage, would be using it at a convention to learn more about someone who’s doing a presentation, or using it to search a person whom you think you saw on the news last night.

What I’m trying to say is that NameTag isn’t going to give people the magical ability to spy on every single person they pass by.

Reverse Image Search

While sometimes not that accurate and slightly different from facial recognition, reverse image searching has been around for a while. Since around 2009 I’ve had the ability to upload a picture, and find out all the other places that it has been uploaded. The ability to find out the name of someone from a picture and the ability to find out where it has been upload has been around for a while, and I rarely see people complain about that. It’s weird to me that as soon as something slightly more advanced and more easily accessible comes out, people get outraged.

You Can Opt-out

If you are not a sex offender or a public figure, then you can opt-out of the Nametag website. This is a pretty nice thing for the company to allow us to do, and even though this may not last forever, I’m still going to list it as a reason why I’m not worried.

Honestly, I won’t even opt-out because that’s how much I’m not bothered by Nametag.

Final Thoughts

Those are some of the reasons why I am not too worried about Nametag. Really, fighting something like Nametag isn’t going to do much because apps like this are just going to become more and more common. Instead of battling this app, people should just focus on what type of information they upload about themselves. Instead of sharing everything in their lives, maybe people should step back and rethink what type of information they are willingly giving companies. I don’t have a problem with Nametag using the information I willingly put out there because well … I put it out there. If you do have a problem with Nametag, then maybe you should look at  and fight the heart of the problem, which is the population’s heroin-like addiction to uploading our personal lives online. All in all, I don’t think we can be mad at a company for making an app that they think is cool out of information that is publicly available thanks to us uploading it online.

What are your thoughts?