Sunday, November 30, 2008

Privacy and your digital data trail

Today's New York Times has a very interesting article on "sensor data" (such as your cell phone, blackberry, GPS, etc) and privacy. It starts with a discussion about an experiment giong on at MIT were researchers are minutely tracking study participants and goes through a range of privacy issues about the digital data trail that we leave in our wake every day.

There's an interesting quote from the MIT researcher who suggests that wider access to telemetry data may be in the public good:

At the same time, he argued that individual privacy rights must also be weighed against the public good.

Citing the epidemic involving severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in recent years, he said technology would have helped health officials watch the movement of infected people as it happened, providing an opportunity to limit the spread of the disease.

“If I could have looked at the cellphone records, it could have been stopped that morning rather than a couple of weeks later,” he said. “I’m sorry, that trumps minute concerns about privacy.”

See: You’re Leaving a Digital Trail. What About Privacy? -

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