Reno - 12:22 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0) [edited by: Reno at 12:31 am (utc) on Aug 31, 2011]
with image recognition I suspect the days of store cards will soon be behind us
Yes, very soon, relatively speaking. The loss of freedom is generally one small step at a time, as in 1930's Germany or post 911 America. Google is just one of many players in that drama. Soon, you won't be able to cross a major intersection in any sensitive part of any major city without the authorities knowing exactly who you are ~ it's a matter of years, not decades:
"...Iris scanners are little used, but a new generation of cameras that capture images from 6 feet away instead of a few inches has sparked interest from government agencies and financial firms..."
Homeland Security to test iris scanners [usatoday.com]
And when they know who you are, your full profile will be part of the analysis, and that includes your search history, what you've recently purchased, and all the rest. Bet on it.
But as Schmidt said, if you have nothing to hide, there's no worry. Now that I think of it, it seems almost all power hungry autocrats have said something similar, going back into antiquity.
ps. The above news story is one year old ~ be assured "advancements" have been made in the 12 months since it was written. I would not be surprised if it's now 15 feet away, and in 2 more years, 40 ft, and in 4 yrs, 120 feet...
[edited by: Reno at 12:31 am (utc) on Aug 31, 2011]