Wow! Have you been following this whole NSA story?, , , , , , and have been all over it for days.
It got me thinking about what the NSA would get if they decided to peek in on my life. I'm a middle-aged woman, happily married, and my biggest obsessions are knitting, crochet, and sewing. If the NSA had vacuumed up all my phone conversations over the last few years, they would have repeatedly triggered the keyword searches for "beauty supplies," "diet," "bargain," "cute hats," and "God of War" (I love that franchise!).
The point is, somewhere in the United States, in a bunker probably hiding below the world's largest mall, I'm guessing there are terabytes, exabytes, and manipedibytes of data. The sad thing is, most of those drives are probably filled with "Go Mets" and "did you see how big her butt has gotten?" rather than the secret mutterings of terrorists.
To that end, I feel like we should do our best to both fight back against constant monitoring, and give the NSA more to keep themselves occupied. If they think they were watching us before, wait 'til they get a load of these toys (to paraphrase some '90s Batman movie).
The video below is a discussion between my former CNET colleague Rafe Needleman (now at Evernote) and Adam Lin, president of the consumer medical devices company iHealth. I've talked about electronic health monitoring products before, and there are an almost never-ending supply of fitness bands coming out that send data to your smartphone.
Lin takes a slightly different approach and focuses on cardiac care with devices like arm and wrist blood pressure monitors, a wireless pulse oximeter that will help you track your oxygen flow, a wireless scale, and the requisite fitness bands. Interestingly enough, iHealth links up to Evernote and dumps this information into your Evernote, if you want it to.
Lin and Needleman talk about a concept called "the quantified self," helping you to understand all about your body by recording dynamic data from various smartphone-enabled health sensors.
This, of course, brings us back to the NSA. Now, not only can they index me saying the word "shoes" at least 400 times a week, they can also index millions of health measurements we're now taking and tracking on our smartphones.
Frankly, I don't think any of us should care one way or another about whether the NSA has data about whether we snuck some fries at McDonalds last Thursday. But it is kind of scary to think that our insurance companies might be able to someday deny us coverage because they know from our phone location data that every few weeks, somebody (I'm not saying who) hits the McDonalds on the way home from Weight Watchers.
That's enough paranoia for one week. Watch the video. And watch what you eat. Promise me you'll skip the fries until at least Father's Day, okay?