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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How Technology Has Helped Privacy

Little Discussed Ways That Technology Enhances Privacy

Joshua Bleiberg & Darrell M. West | May 26, 2015

In a recent paper Benjamin Wittes and Jodie C. Liu highlight issues with how people evaluate the gains or losses in privacy that come along with a new technology. Many describe privacy as a value that is distributed uniformly across entire populations. For example technologies that enable government surveillance or corporate uses of Big Data are treated as negatively impacting every person’s privacy. Wittes and Liu argue that new technologies may both enhance and degrade privacy differently for individuals depending on their specific preferences. Many people have concerns about unwanted surveillance from the government or large companies. But, others are far more concerned about potential privacy violators like family members or work colleagues. The paper describes three categories of privacy gains offered by new technologies.

<more at; from the introduction to the above referenced paper by Benajmin Wittes and Jodie Liu: The domestic and international debate around privacy issues often overstates the negative impacts of new technologies relative to their privacy benefits, argue Benjamin Wittes and Jodie Liu. Many new technologies—whose privacy impacts we frequently fear as a society—actually bring great privacy boons to users. Wittes and Liu assert that society tends to reap the benefits of privacy without much thought while also tallying and wringing its hands about the costs. People have privacy today with respect to so many types of content, they observe, for instance in the areas of medical information, politically sensitive publications and purchases, erotic materials, and secret communications. And such privacy is the result of, paradoxically, a series of technologies, which are the subject of endless anxiety among commentators, scholars, journalists, and activists concerned about—ironically enough—protecting privacy in the digital age. See full paper at:>

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