Sunday, February 23, 2014

The End Of Privacy. The Beginning Of Transparency.

It is becoming abundantly clear that our personal privacy has come to an end. Not through the information we willingly share in social media,  but in the information that is gathered about us. From our Web history to the GPS in our cars, targeted advertising, or searches; the list of our digital footprints is vast.

Nor is there any way to avoid using digital technology or do anything about the information gathered without our knowledge or consent. Big companies are simply too powerful to engage in privacy lawsuits.  Applicable digital privacy laws are not in place and are unlikely to catch up to the development of digital technology,  which surpasses our understanding of it.

Many are not aware that digital information is transmitted at 1/3 of the speed of light or that the stock market for example,  is virtually out of the hands of humans; many trades occur through computer algorithms, also known as microtrading or high frequency trading.

Another significant problem is that much of our most sensitive information (medical, financial) entered about us is handled far beyond the comprehension and training of those put in charge to store and protect it. Especially problematic is when the information entered relies on verbal communication or is entered incorrectly,  whether through human error or for unethical personal gain.

The revelation about the NSA should not have come as a surprise to anyone.  Technology is only as good or evil as the intent of those who use it. As it develops and we become increasingly globally connected, the speed of new technology advances faster than anyone can keep up with.

I do not foresee a Borg-like totalitarian system of control that so many are frightened of, but a more transparent future in the digital age. Ideally,  NSA like watchdogs will develop that will actually benefit the majority and monitor verbal and digital communication to help prevent crimes against humanity.

19 comments:

  1. Have you ever read David Brin's, "The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us To Choose Between Privacy And Freedom?"

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    1. No, are you recommending it? I'm assuming it's non fiction. Much of the science fiction that I've read lately has been too dystopian.
      Would be nice to come across a more utopian vision of our future.

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    2. It is an interesting non fictional take on surveillance penned in the 1990s. His premise is partly that the the ability and low cost of the surveillance panopticon will be good because while the powers that be are watching us, we are able to watch them. There is a reasonable summary of his views here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Transparent_Society

      I don't agree with him mostly, by the way, but his view is interesting.

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    3. Based on his blog, which is probably a more up to date version considering the current technological development and in very general terms, I do agree with him.

      I wonder if he truly meant "watching" them, but a powerful enough watchdog could lead to transparency and thus accountability.

      Either way we have an opportunity to finally get things right.

      I also heart science fiction.

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  2. Similar thoughts have been in my mind recently too. I'm not sure that information gathered will always be held by benign masters of our societies or used for benign or positive means to benefit the majority, but I do have hope it will be so.

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    1. Global thinking, I think.
      I think that if we do not avail ourselves of technology in a positive way, the world will become too chaotic.

      Delete
  3. It's a scary world out there, but I'll take my chances with technology. I revel in the anonymity of the masses. :)

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    1. There a lot of us, 7 billion and counting. A lot of data.

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  4. You know "they" are probably reading this too, right? Heck! They're probably even reading my comment as I type... Wait! Did my webcam suddenly turn itself on?

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    1. Probably. Skynet giving you trouble again?
      "They" should read, it's good content.

      Delete
    2. Of course they're reading this. And probably watching us via our computer's little camera. Which is why I always wear pants when I write now.

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    3. :)
      Al, the day may come where we always have to look our best.

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  5. Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. I believe in people with imagination.

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    1. Agreed. Without imagination we wouldn't have discovered or invented anything. Imagination is what we should invest in.

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  6. I think you're absolutely right. Even though I couldn't care less who knows what about me, I'm sure opening our figurative doors wide could mean trouble. But, I'm not naïve enough to think that that has not happened already. Plus, while I sincerely hope all this transparency leads to good, there's nothing in human history that would convince me that man will always use knowledge for good. Man, I just depressed myself.

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    1. At present time our information is often misused. I do not think that individuals will tolerate this much longer.

      It's time we grow up, evolve and stop repeating the past.

      Delete
  7. I know I've said this before, but I really enjoy coming here. Your intelligent comments always make me think and become more contemplative than developing new fart jokes. Thank you.

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    1. I may have said this before, but it truly means a lot coming from you. Thank you.

      Dude, someone needs to lighten the load.*grins*

      Delete
  8. Applicable digital privacy laws are not in place and are unlikely to catch up to the development of digital technology, which surpasses our understanding of it.

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