As technology increases and people get smarter, there will always be a new technology or service that pushes the limits of what is “acceptable” in society. Today, I was reading an article about an new app called Koozoo. Basically, it allows people to stream live video from a phone to anyone using the Koozoo app. Other people can also “tune in” to a video feed to watch what is being broadcasted. Sounds intriguing, right? The creator of Koozoo based this app upon an old website that had a live video stream of a bar in Michigan that people could log onto in order to see if the bar was busy that day or something. Koozoo seeks to be similar, but less complicated doing so. They want you to take an old smartphone (“There are billions of dollars of smartphones sitting in sock drawers all over the world”), download the app, and set up a live stream of whatever using that phone. It could be a stream of a city intersection, the outside of a library, whatever. They just want it to be a stream of a public place.

The cool thing about Koozoo is that a 24/7 feed is not actually being streamed, but your phone is actually taking a picture every few minutes to use as a thumbnail, then takes a live feed once someone “tunes in.” The stream is geo-tagged so people know where it originates from. Also, no audio is streamed, only the video itself. However, I believe that Koozoo is already doomed to privacy struggles. In Koozoo’s terms of service it states that only public spaces can be streamed. Koozoo’s founders said “unless a front yard is obscured in some way, it is visible to the general public.” According to this rule, if people can see my backyard from the street, they can stream me swimming.. This would be considered a public spot, and could be streamed. Koozoo says that they are going to be working hard to make sure that only acceptable content is streamed, but how successful will they be? Already, it sounds like privacy can be infringed here and Koozoo will not have a problem with it. What do you think? Is Koozoo a bad idea that will cause privacy concerns, or will it be a beneficial app?

2 Responses to Koozoo

  1. There is only a privacy “problem” if you use the service. As such don’t use the service, or accept their invasion of your privacy.

  2. tyler.hugenberg

    I think the privacy concern is more along the lines of pointing your recording device out your window or and onto who knows what. I’m sure peeping toms would be happy to have more streams into the lives of randoms.

    This app raises more of an issue of what people do when people get bored an have a stream to act up on. I don’t know who on here peruses 4chan, but if you do you might remember the infamous card stand. (If you don’t, a quick Google will surely help you. I’m intentionally not linking as the audio is questionable.) Any stream into a public place is just an area for people to act up in search of a little attention. This could get really weird with private streams. Chat Roulette is another example of just how weird people get in front of a camera.

    I understand people may think “what harm can come of this when the perpetrator is on camera already?!” People are dumb, and when they get that little opportunity for some fame, they will do it. Some of the youtube earthcam videos have over 100k views. In my opinion these random acts of stupidity will surely increase with such an app.