Mixed reality: How social networking is evolving

The physical is being fused with the digital world in new applications. But this fusion will bring with it new privacy problems.

A blurring of the dividing lines between the real and digital worlds as social networks evolve will bring about new security challenges, according to a senior Nokia researcher.

Dr. Petros Belimpasakis, speaking at the ENISA conference in Greece, said that mixed reality' applications are already being developed that combine reality and the virtual world.

He talked about mirror worlds' which he described as informationally enhanced virtual models of the physical world, as evidenced with applications such as Google's Street View.

Another example of mixed reality is life-logging' - the capture, storage and distribution of everyday experiences and information for objects and people.

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There is also augmented reality' such as Nokia's Point & Find' where users can access information on the internet by pointing a camera phone at a physical object. Belimpasakis then proceeded to play a video of some other possible applications in the future.

Belimpasakis said that augmented reality, social networking, life-logging and web mash-ups could all be combined to provide new ways to find information.

However, he said there could be major privacy issues, including opening up personal information to different kinds of networks such as free wireless connections.

"It is very important information that, if misused, could cause very problematic cases," he said.

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