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Future of Privacy

Insights From the Internet Technical Community

As part of an ongoing effort to bring Internet technical expertise into the policy debate on privacy, the Internet Society is collecting innovative, thought-provoking, forward-looking perspectives on the Future of Privacy. We’ve been collecting insights from individuals, groups and organisations within the Internet technical community with expertise in Privacy, Data Protection, Identity Management and other related field.

Our goal is to ensure that this is an ongoing discussion and we want to hear from you – what are your views about the Future of Privacy?

One Response to “Insights From the Internet Technical Community

  1. Privacy has two primary dimensions: data out and data in.

    Data Out — Personally I view almost all information that I release as public. I keep in mind that whatever I say, write, do, can be captured and represented in any public venue. This keeps things simple and honest. It also requires that I am not concerned with the opinions which others may hold of me. If I were a ‘public persona’, such as a politician or performer, I would have to manage people’s impressions of me, like, say, Lady Gaga, who does this as a principal art form, or President Obama who does it of necessity. The interplay of their actions and their ‘public’ is intense and must be professionally scrutinized. For a ‘private person’ this is not an issue, so much. (For the origin of the concept, ‘private person’, see Vera Keller at McGill.) In this dimension privacy may become unimportant to most of us in the near future, if for no other reason than that it’s too much trouble to manage for the gain realized.

    Data In — This dimension affects all of us. We don’t have to care what people think as long as we don’t have to hear about it. Of course the common gripe is ‘spam’, but this also includes identity theft, fraud, harassment, theft of innovations, loud music nearby, assault, and all kinds of unpleasantness. Here we draw the line, and I expect we will all invest considerable effort to create appropriate barriers. This sort of privacy will be a continued need as long as society endures.