Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"A Casualty of the Technology Revolution: ‘Locational Privacy’"

A commentary in today's New York Times, citing the Electronic Frontier Foundation, outlines and raises concerns about widely-used technologies that make it easy to record our every movement - probably not news to readers of this blog, but possibly an eye-opener to many people.

Here are the recommendations from near the end of the commentary.
What can be done? As much as possible, location-specific information should not be collected in the first place, or not in personally identifiable form. There are many ways, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes, to use cryptography and anonymization to protect locational privacy. To tell you about nearby coffee shops, a cellphone application needs to know where you are. It does not need to know who you are.

When locational information is collected, people should be given advance notice and a chance to opt out. Data should be erased as soon as its main purpose is met. After you pay your E-ZPass bill, there is no reason for the government to keep records of your travel.
Are these measures adequate? How can they be implemented? Please share your thoughts and comments.

Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director

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