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VEDANTA MASS MEDIADigital invasion of privacy just a step away: Experts  







               Digital invasion of privacy just a step away: Experts


               By Venkata Vemuri




     London, Sep 5 (IANS) Digital invasion of privacy is a step closer to reality, thanks to an increasingly intrusive technology that can track every single movement of ours or the words that we whisper.


     The combination of information and communication technologies and pervasive computing will soon help continuously monitor individual activity, beyond what was feared by George Orwell in 1984, warned social psychologist Saadi Lahlou and other experts in a special report.


     What Lahlou termed "the system" - referring to the mass of interconnected data-collection devices from mobile phones, to internet sites, to surveillance cameras - can search, compare, analyse, identify, reason and predict the movements, motives and actions of individuals, he warned. Even such a transient event as an innocuous gaze is now traceable.


     Besides, several systems for tracking movement, position or activity are combined - for example, combining GPS information with phone signals or triangulation with wireless internet signals - then individuals stand little chance of being able to hide their position or actions.


     "We are creating a system that will be aware of all that we do: when we turn on the washing machine, what we write and to whom, where we go and what we do there, what we buy and when with whom and how we use it. And this virtually from cradle to grave. The system as a whole will know more about us than we know about ourselves," Lahlou wrote.


     But while many surveys show that such developments leave users concerned about privacy, they are not taking appropriate measures to protect themselves or their data.


     Lahlou explained this discrepancy by invoking what he calls the "privacy dilemma": the fact that social interaction through new technologies requires disclosure of personal data: information is fed into the system precisely to get better or customised service.


     Surveys of system designers also show that although they seem as privacy-concerned as system users, they do not prioritise protection measures in their products, citing reasons such as lack of moral responsibility or the necessity to prioritise maximum efficiency of the system.


     And, argued Lahlou, because current guidelines - which advise limitation of data collection, protection of collected data, limitation of use to initial purpose, right of access, etc - are negative rather than positive, i.e specifying what designers should not do rather than what they should, they do not help promote respect for privacy into new technologies.


     He proposed a new definition of privacy as something he terms "face-keeping": "We all have many faces (combinations of role and status), but each one is used only in some settings," he explains.


     Privacy breach, Lahlou argued, is being presented with a 'wrong' face, one that is not consistent with the situation (e.g. being seen at work in a family role).


     So, reasons Lahlou, given that continuing technological advances will leave few with the option of withholding information about themselves, users' privacy should be protected by employing an approach to design in systems that helps users to wear exactly the face they want to show in the domain at hand and nothing more.


     These findings were featured in a special issue of Social Science Information on cognitive technologies, published on Friday by SAGE.



     Indo-Asian News Service




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International Yoga Day 21 June 2015
International Yoga Day 21 June 2015




















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