Friday, 30 November 2007

Data Doesn't Kill People, People Kill People

From AVC's post Facebook and The Privacy Backlash this morning

"My point is that there is way more good to be done with this data than evil. I am happy when I see the beacon popping up on my screen these days"

Let me give a scenario:

- I go to Cuba in the winter because there are great cheap deals at Expedia.

- I buy a cute Che handbag and have pictures uploaded to Flikr with me and the bag

- I shop at Amazon and buy my nephew a bunch of philosophy books because that's what he's into these days. Marx is one of them.

- I write a blog post referencing the Dixie Chicks "Shut up and social network"

- I join a facebook group in support of Amnesty International.

- I twitter a comment that I saw The Daily Show last night and what an idiot Bush or an equivalent public figure is.

All pretty mundane stuff. As well, i've life streamed about a gazillion other things including my trip to Vegas, my purchase of cook books, joining the I love the Wii facebook group, twittering the weather, etc. Data. Who cares.

But wait, where there is data, there is filtering technology. And worse, there are people who can use those filters to pick and choose from your life stream to build a story of their own construction.

Remember this guy?

And if you think that was then, and this is now and it can't possibly happen in the US or Canada? Well it has as people like Mr. Arar can attest. And no one will think their being evil. It will all be done in the name of truth and justice.

If history tells us one thing, it's that data isn't evil, but people? That's another story all together.


Paul McEnany said...

damnit! I didn't think about that angle. Although, I think if McCarthyism makes a comeback (like it already has to a point), as long as you have control over your own data we should be fine. So maybe that's what we should be moving towards.

Really, the more open a person is, the more I trust them. So maybe all this free information floating around makes it a more utopian place. At least it's better than the anonymous web. People are crazy over there.

Leigh said...

Truth is, if I am a wealthy VC in NYC, I probably don't have to worry too much about my data and what it says about me.

But for the rest of us slogs....totally agree with you that control of our data is mandatory. Then I can make my own choices about what I worry or don’t worry about and how open or closed I want to be about my life streams.

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