Sunday, December 28, 2008

let. to ed. re. "You’re Leaving a Digital Trail. What About Privacy?" -- NY Times

John Markoff's article on the arrays of sensors digitally recording our trails was very informative. The piece's upbeat assessment of collective intelligence refreshingly focuses more on the wisdom of crowds than the tyranny of the mob. And while the piece acknowledges some personal privacy concerns along with collective intelligence's many benefits, it fails to address a very real complication: how one person's digital acquisition of their environment through these sensor arrays impacts another's privacy, particularly those who have not yet acquiesced to the emerging privacy attitudes of the MySpace generation. Although I may be content to memorialize and broadcast my surroundings, what of all the other people inadvertently caught in my digital dragnet of sensors? Are they comfortable with having this information recorded and shared? Shouldn't we be equally if not more concerned for their privacy as we seem to be for those who have actively submitted to these technologies?

Dov Greenbaum JD MPhil PhD
Mark Gerstein, PhD

The above is an unpublished letter in response to:
John Markoff's "You’re Leaving a Digital Trail. What About Privacy?"
Nov. 29, 2008, NY Times
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