New technologies bring less privacy

Rate this post

The man who invented the mobile phone 50 years ago had only one concern about the brick-sized device with a long antenna: would it work?

Today, Martin Cooper is concerned, like everyone else, about the impact of his invention on society: from the loss of privacy to the risk of Internet dependency, to the rapid spread of harmful content, especially among children.

"My most negative opinion is that we no longer have privacy, because everything about us is now recorded somewhere and is accessible to someone who has a strong enough desire to obtain it," says Cooper, who spoke in Barcelona with The Associated Press. within the framework of the Mobile World Congress 2023 (World Mobile Telephony Congress or MWC23), the largest event in the telecommunications industry. Cooper was about to receive an award at MWC23 in recognition of his professional career.

Yet the 94-year-old self-proclaimed dreamer also marvels at how far the design and capabilities of phones have come. He says he is confident that the best days of technology may be yet to come in things like education and health care.

“Between the cell phone and medical technology and the internet, we are going to do something to conquer disease,” he said Monday at MWC.

Cooper, whose invention was inspired by the character Dick Tracy's wristwatch radio, said he also envisions a future in which cell phones are charged with energy generated by the human body.

All of that is a long way from where he started.

Cooper made the first public call from a handheld cellular phone on a New York City street on April 3, 1973, using a prototype his team at Motorola had begun designing just five months earlier.

To take on the competition, Cooper used the Dyna-TAC prototype - which weighed 2.5 pounds and measured 11 inches - to call his rival from AT&T-owned Bell Laboratories.

“The only thing I was worried about was, 'Will this thing work?' And it worked,” she recounts.

That call helped launch what would be a cell phone revolution, but looking back on that day, Cooper acknowledges, "We had no way of knowing that this was a historic moment."

He spent the better part of the next decade working to bring a commercial version of the device to market, helping launch the wireless communications industry and with it a global revolution in the way we communicate, shop, and learn about things. the world.

Still, Cooper says he's "not crazy" about the shape of modern phones, blocks of plastic, metal and glass. He believes that phones will evolve to be "distributed throughout your body," perhaps as sensors that "measure your health at all times."

In the future, batteries could be replaced by energy generated by the body.

“You eat food and you create energy. Why not have this ear receptor embedded under your skin, powered by your body?” he imagines.

And as he dreams of what the future might look like, Cooper is attuned to today's industry challenges, particularly around privacy.

In Europe, where there are strict rules on the use of private data, regulators are concerned about apps and digital ads that track user activity, allowing companies to create comprehensive profiles of users.

“It's going to work out, but it won't be easy,” Cooper says. "Now there are people who can justify recording where you are, where you make your calls, who you call, what you search for on the internet."

But limits are needed, Cooper says, especially around children's phone use. One possible solution could be to have "multiple websites, curated for different audiences."

Five-year-olds should be able to use the internet to help them learn, but "we don't want them to have access to pornography and things they don't understand," he warns.

As for how he himself uses his phone, Cooper says he checks his email and looks up information online to resolve certain arguments that come up over dinner.

However, “there are many things I haven't learned yet,” he admits. "I still don't know what TikTok is."

Author Profile

Nathan Rivera
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nathan Rivera, a dedicated journalist who has had the privilege of writing for the online newspaper Today90. My journey in the world of journalism has been a testament to the power of dedication, integrity, and passion.

My story began with a relentless thirst for knowledge and an innate curiosity about the events shaping our world. I graduated with honors in Investigative Journalism from a renowned university, laying the foundation for what would become a fulfilling career in the field.

What sets me apart is my unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth. I refuse to settle for superficial answers or preconceived narratives. Instead, I constantly challenge the status quo, delving deep into complex issues to reveal the reality beneath the surface. My dedication to investigative journalism has uncovered numerous scandals and shed light on issues others might prefer to ignore.

I am also a staunch advocate for press freedom. I have tirelessly fought to protect the rights of journalists and have faced significant challenges in my quest to inform the public truthfully and without constraints. My courage in defending these principles serves as an example to all who believe in the power of journalism to change the world.

Throughout my career, I have been honored with numerous awards and recognitions for my outstanding work in journalism. My investigations have changed policies, exposed corruption, and given a voice to those who had none. My commitment to truth and justice makes me a beacon of hope in a world where misinformation often prevails.

At Today90, I continue to be a driving force behind journalistic excellence. My tireless dedication to fair and accurate reporting is an invaluable asset to the editorial team. My biography is a living testament to the importance of journalism in our society and a reminder that a dedicated journalist can make a difference in the world.