Privacy in the brave 3.0 World

I’m big on privacy issues, partially because I think I understand the risks better than the average Joe. And while privacy is no by means related only to computers and the internet, the major threats to it are by far, the result of the widespread use of those two. And that’s why I’m linking here a small essay written by Bruce Schneier, because in his own words:

Note: This isn’t the first time I have written about this topic, and it surely won’t be the last. I think I did a particularly good job summarizing the issues this time, which is why I am reprinting it.

And he is right, it is a particularly well written text. The was one aspect that was cause to some reflection. I’d generally thought that with technology becoming ever more pervasive and powerful, governments / law enforcement would seize the opportunity to establish deeper and longer peeks at what once belonged to the private realm of an individual’s sphere. They would do this because they could, because it would increase their power and because it would make their jobs easier. And that would be the source of the problem. But I might have been wrong: instead, the problem seems to be that computers produce, well, data:

Welcome to the future, where everything about you is saved. A future where your actions are recorded, your movements are tracked, and your conversations are no longer ephemeral. A future brought to you not by some 1984-like dystopia, but by the natural tendencies of computers to produce data.

Data is the pollution of the information age. It’s a natural byproduct of every computer-mediated interaction. It stays around forever, unless it’s disposed of. It is valuable when reused, but it must be done carefully. Otherwise, its after effects are toxic.

And just as 100 years ago people ignored pollution in our rush to build the Industrial Age, today we’re ignoring data in our rush to build the Information Age.

The metaphor with pollution seems far-fetched? Then read the article, it will change your mind.

And speaking of things that change minds, here’s another possible one 😉


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