Privacy concerns, location monitoring, surveillance culture – especially relevant given the recent “Privacy is for Paedos” line spun by an ex-editor of the News of the World at the UK phone-hacking inquiry.
- BBC News: How much privacy can smartphone owners expect?
- ZDNet: Privacy Commissioner to hit leakers harder
- Money CNN: Carrier IQ: Your phone’s secret recording device
- The Verge: Carrier IQ tracking on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, and more: the story so far
- No Right Turn: Spy Files – Wikileaks latest data dump: a collection of information on the global interception and surveillance industry
- The Age: Facebook settles privacy breaches
- ZDNet: ISP code a US-style privacy sell-out
Categories: ethics & philosophy, linkfest, technology
I can’t help but think that privacy is fast becoming a luxury item – or an anachronistic one. So many groups appear to believe they’re entitled to access to data about our every move, our every action – what we do, what we say, what we buy, where we go, when we go there. About the only form of privacy one can realistically hope for in this brave new world of ubiquitous surveillance is the privacy that comes from not standing out from the crowd – of being just another random blotch of zeroes and ones in the datastream.
It’s possible to choose less disclosure, but I sincerely doubt it’s possible to manage zero disclosure. Which is depressing in a way. But then I remember: data without interpretation is just noise. It isn’t until the data is interpreted that it becomes information – and too much data can be just as hard for the interpreters to deal with as too little, if not more so.
This! So much privacy is being violated in the name of selling us stuff more effectively. Creepy as hell.
Thanks for the roundup tigtog. I’m just glad I’m never planning on becoming a politician with all the data floating around me on the interwebs. A well placed bribe to Facebook and I’d be sunk!
I’m put in mind of the Ben Elton book Blast from the Past, where the candidate chosen for a position was the one least interesting. I’m also wondering how much of his stuff I could read without noticing what I know know that I didn’t have to think about then.
Thinking about the good old days where there was such a thing as village gossip and having a bad reputation could ruin a person’s life. Where shame was a powerful force and certain things were just not talked about. I think we’re progressing, though there’s still a long way to go. Way better than it was though.
Ah yes, the good old days. Of course our modern conception of privacy is very modern indeed – pre-modern people were far more used to their immediate family and neighbours being all up in their business as a matter of course, but there was also the expectation that if one moved a few dozen miles away then one could pretty much start life anew with a blank slate in a novel society. Advances in communication technology have changed both sides of that equation: it is possible for people to be in the bosom of their family while communicating privately with an invisible friend whom the family knows nothing about, and moving to a new town or even a new country doesn’t mean that one’s reputation won’t follow one.
The boundaries were always porous and shifting, but technology has made this fluidity more obvious.
You might find these interesting — a couple of articles by Daniel J. Solove that look at the concept of privacy itself and rebut the “nothing to hide” argument: “’I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy” (condensed into an opinion piece, “Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’”) and “Understanding Privacy”.
Solove’s articles also (slightly) negate the consolation that Megpie71 raises (this is why I remembered them) — the idea that ”too much data can be just as hard for the interpreters to deal with as too little, if not more so”. It might be more difficult when we’re talking about traditional kinds of information (maybe), but having a large pool of data might also enable the extraction of information that would have hitherto been impossible (because it was a small effect in a large population, because it required analysis of a huge network of transactions…).
The other problem is distortion. The more data an organisation has (on an individual, on a population) the more accuracy or significance that organisation might ascribe to conclusions based upon that data. If they’re only been collecting a certain kind of data, or in a certain way, it’s just as distorted as having very little data — but bad decisions will be made on that basis, and justified on the sheer quantity of data that was used.