Technology marches on from crime fighting surveillance to cell phones

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - We sat at our afternoon editorial meeting today and talked in matter of fact fashion about two stories that simply would not --could not--have happened in newsrooms not so long ago.

One involved the birth of the cellphone on this week in 1973. Most of us can't imagine living without one anymore. Our days, our lives, our most basic chores and social connectivity would hit tilt without it, or so it can often seem.

The second story involved an arson arrest at a Fort Pierce motel. Police caught their suspect because the unblinking eye of a surveillance camera caught him in action first.

Unrelated stories? Not at all. Both remind us how our lives are increasingly stitched together by technology. Both remind us that privacy is an endangered commodity.

When it comes to catching criminals many of us applaud the advances. When it involves the digital footprints all of us leave behind every day--with our phone use, our internet and credit card use--well, that can be quite a different privacy debate.

All of us --almost all of us--live on the information highway and the exit ramps are getting harder to find.

The technology rush seems to go faster each day. I wonder what they haven't imagined yet in the newsroom of 2053. Oh, wait, that would involve a time machine, and I know they haven't built one of those yet.



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