Always Watching You...

There's been a lot of talk about the NSA watching everyone's every move. While there's absolutely a legitimate concern there it's amazing the amount of information we share freely (or for access to Candy Crush). I'm not exempting myself - googling myself reveals a ton of information, some going as far back as the mid-1990's. There's not anything particularly embarrassing out there, but that's not fully the point.

I've begun pursuing my Master's Degree at Brandeis University in Strategic Analytics, dealing with a ton of data science related topics. One of the topics we are going over this week is ethics in data science. Our source material included an Alessandro Acquisti Ted Talk on the loss of privacy. It's a really engaging video - I'd absolutely encourage checking it out.

While this video is in some ways filling me with an urge to buy a small cabin somewhere in the Northwest Territories of Canada, it does serve as a useful reminder as to what a double-edged sword how small the world has gotten. I love the community aspects you can find at various social media sites. My gaming group now consists of people from multiple states and I've grown to become close with a number of people I've met online. I have some online relationships that go back to the 1990s. I like being able to download or stream books, movies, music, etc. I'd not want to see us go back to the days before the internet as we know it came into being. At the same time, there's some absolutely terrifying implications to our loss of privacy. As the video details, it's not just about embarrassing pictures of us going online - for example, a company would be more likely to hire a woman without kids and searching for pictures of a candidate might give them access to this information.

I don't have a magic answer to these sorts of issues. I'm probably not going to be buying that cabin in the wilderness but I certainly have some food for thought.

Image/Video Credits

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