Sumit Sharma

My rant on privacy

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A cultural shift is occurring, and we’ve witnessed it in recent history. Look at human society and its history of social networking. Look at the evolution of human social behavior in the recent century. A century ago, there were conservative values – we only mingled within our families, had a very filtered group of friends and married within our tight micro communities. Eventually, with evolution of modes of transport came the broadening of our networks which eventually broke down the filters and notions we lived by. Our friends were from diverse backgrounds, and we began to see inter cultural mixing. With the internet came along a further breaking down of barriers in the form of online dating, chats and online social networking. The cultural shift has happened and it will continue to happen – the common thread has been a gradual breakdown of cultural norms and we are beginning to see a further breaking down of the wall of privacy. Today we are able to browse each others Facebook profiles and see each others personal information to a very large extent – this is becoming to way of doing business – through maintaining and fostering trust based relationships. It is inevitably going to be the case where we further let our guard down and begin to share our activities

There has been an exaggeration of the negative effects of sharing your lives with others, and notably in certain movies this has been creatively portrayed to negatively infiltrate the degree of control we will have on our lives. Those that are threatened or scared by such a notion of the new webs of data are probably now aware of parallel initiatives that mirror similar behavior and in addition, may not fully understand the power of the power and benefits of sharing personal data.

With the privacy concern being a legitimate one, we should be aware that it such infiltrations of privacy are already occurring in the examples of various products: GM onStar, Remote burglary monitoring systems, Airlines reservations systems, Credit Card companies’ logs of our activities and so on. There already is a big brother out there so there is no stopping it, and of course there can always be a negative twist to anything in life, but with the appropriate regulation, control and security, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

It is like getting scared of a box of matches (for creating fire) because now we won’t be able to spend 4hrs lighting up a fire through rubbing sticks. Why do we need to rub sticks when we can easily be more productive and valuable by enjoying the fire created and putting our minds to greater use? That’s all that is being done here, we’ll have a means for a higher quality of data, appropriate to us at the appropriate moment, which will be complementary to our nature, lifestyle and thoughts – we’ll get what we’re truly looking for, in the most efficient and effective manner. Privacy won’t be an issue in the long term. Initially sure it may appear intrusive or annoying to have irrelevant information or recommendations enter your life but as soon as these chinks are get ironed out – as intelligent systems learn what we like and don’t like they will surely adapt to providing us appropriate and relevant information at the right time at the right place. Having said that though, there is always the option to opt out of such means of consuming data and that will always be a choice.


Written by Sumit

November 18, 2009 at 7:14 am

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