Sunday, March 23, 2008

Surveillance Arms Race

I've been discussing with Jason of the Bellman whether privacy will exist in the future. If I understand him correctly, Jason claims that we are approaching a 100% surveillance world and that privacy is dead.

Danah Boyd makes an interesting observation about privacy and teens on her blog.

There's an arms race going on: parental surveillance vs. technology to assert privacy. We aren't seeing the radical OMG technology ruins everything stage. We're seeing the next in line of a long progression. And it's just the beginning.

The arms race is heating up. As parents implement keyboard tracking, kids go to texting. How long until parents demand that companies send them transcripts of everything? What will come next? We are in the midst of the privacy wars and it's not so clean as "where's my privacy" vs. "kids these days are so public."

The very nature of publicity and privacy are getting disrupted. As kids work to be invisible to people who hold direct power over them (parents, teachers, etc.), they happily expose themselves to audiences of peers. And they expose themselves to corporations.

They know that the company can see everything they send through their servers/service, but who cares? Until these companies show clear allegiance with their parents, they're happy to assume that the companies are on their side and can do them no harm. |how youth find privacy in interstitial spaces - Apophenia|
Some of the commenters refer to this as layered privacy, which is an interesting term of art.

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