Saturday, April 22, 2006

Panel discussion

With two weeks to go before I present (at a conference on privacy), there is a panel discussion that I will be involved in with two other academics. The theme of the panel discussion is Privacy: inroads and threats to privacy. One is reminded of Scott McNealy's famous words back in 1999 "You have zero privacy anyway--Get over it".

We should not forget that privacy is not absolute and the law (Art. 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights) provides for exceptions to the protection of privacy. Has technology eroded privacy? To a greater extent - examples I can think of include RFIDs; mobile phones which have a camera facility as well as a possibility of revealing the location of individuals; computer databases of individual profiles etc. One book worth reading is Daniel Solove's book entitled The Digital Person. Technology has moved on in great strides with legislation trailing behind. In any case, I'm not entirely convinced that legislation is necessarily the best approach to deal with the protection of privacy. In other words, let technology deal with technological problems. For example, if you find spyware on your computer, you use software to remove it. Laurence Lessig's book on Code and other laws of cyberspace is also another book worth reading!

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