Welga, and most other people, have swarms of microdrones that follow them everywhere. They are used both to give the individual multiple viewpoints and a visual record of their life, and to share a live feed with fans online or their family members. As a shield, Welga has a modest fanbase that give her tips when her fights are particularly impressive. Welga also feels connected to her family because she keeps open feeds from their microdrones and home cameras.
Privacy had gone the way of the dodo during Welga’s childhood. Some part of her always remembered the cameras. In Marrakech, the caliph’s network blackout had unsettled her more than the potential for violence—the lack of communication, the inability to see and hear what others were doing. It would take a million lifetimes to watch every minute of every public feed, but she had a sense of security knowing that she could look out for her people, and they’d do the same. Losing that had felt like walking around with one shoe: doable but not at all comfortable. (p. 13)
People used to be ridiculously shy about their personal lives. Bodies did what they did. Her parents had made her cover her knees when they dragged her to Mass, and they told her she’d understand when she was older, but that hadn’t happened. Ironically, her parents’ generation had been the first to deploy camera swarms. They’d been in every public space since Welga could remember, and plenty of homes, too. Door thresholds couldn’t catch every microcamera, and many people in Europe and North America didn’t even bother with them. No one had time to watch every couple have sex. Hell, most people weren’t worth watching. Shields, however, had to look good, and there was no sense wasting an opportunity to earn tips while having fun.