Tag Archives: Big Data

You’re Not My Dad! (The Kettle Said So)

So what are the chances of a global, on-demand, real-time, publicly-accessible DNA database?  (Or what are the chances of stopping it?)

The increasing simplicity and speed with which DNA testing can now be performed has already changed lives.  Not only can simple issues of parenthood be resolved (sometimes disproved) quickly – often causing great distress, the gradual expansion and combination of DNA databases has exposed relationships previously unrealised and even potentially compromising in private and working lives.

How far could this go?

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Call for Papers: ‘The End of Privacy?’

I’m editing a special edition of the journal, Information, with the title, ‘The End of Privacy?’

https://www.mdpi.com/journal/information/special_issues/End_of_Privacy

Contributions welcome!

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 December 2019

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We all know how hard technological forecasting can be. The technology itself, even in isolation, can be difficult to predict a few years into the future, but taking into account the wider social, legal, political, economic, environmental and demographic fallout, and throwing in some ethics and morality too, it becomes next to impossible. There’s too much to think about. Whilst some of us might have an idea of where, for example, the Internet of Things might be in five years’ time or, separately, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, big data analytics, network connectivity, etc., putting it all together into a vision of this fully-automated, AI/big-data-driven, always-on/always-connected world is probably beyond most of us.

Thus the plan here is to focus on one issue that all these factors impact upon, personal privacy, and to pose a fairly simple question: Will it be possible to have personal data (secrets) in the world that future technology will bring us into? What possibilities (benefits and threats) will new technology open us up to? From individuals up to governments and corporations, how easily will information be shared and (how) can it be secured? To what extent can we realistically be protected by legislation? Where will politics and economics be brought to bear? Ultimately, what control will we have? Continue reading


No More Privacy Any More? (Just putting this out there)

OK, some of this material isn’t new but I’ve been asked to edit a special (Information) journal edition on (something like) ‘Will AI, Big Data and the IoT Mean the End of Privacy?’  The plan is to circulate a ‘discussion paper’ to encourage submissions.  What follows is an early draft of that (extended from The Prof on a Train Game) so it won’t hurt to get it ‘out there’ as soon as possible.  Comments welcome below, by email, message, whatever …

Abstract

The embodiment of the potential loss of privacy through a combination of AI, big data and IoT technology might be something like an integrated app capable of recognising anyone, anytime, anywhere: a sort of ‘Shazam for People‘, but one capable of returning seriously personal material about the individual.  How credible is such a system?  And what might stop it?

Introduction: A Future Scenario?

It’s 2025 or thereabouts.  You meet someone at an international conference.  Even before they’ve started to introduce themselves, your IoT augmented reality glasses have told you everything you needed to know … and a lot more you didn’t.

Jerry Gonzales. Born (02/11/1970): Glasgow, UK, dual (plus USA) citizenship; 49 years old. Married 12/12/1994 (Ellen Gonzales, nee Schwartz), divorced 08/06/2003; two daughters (Kate: 23, Sarah: 17); one son (David: 20). Previous employment: Microsoft, IBM, University of Pwllheli; current: unemployed. Health: smoker, heavy drinker, recurrent lung problems, diabetic, depression. Homeowner (previous); now public housing. Credit rating: poor (bankruptcy 10/10/2007); Insurance risk: high. Politics: Republican. etc., …,  Sport: supports Boston Red Sox and Manchester United FC. …,  Pornography: prefers straight but with mild abuse …,  etc., etc.

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Is it Time for the ‘SuperApp’?

If our privacy is going out of the window anyway, let’s go the whole hog!  Why let the Big Data/Internet of Things future be a plethora of individual apps/processes when it could be just a simple ‘global identity’ for each of us? [‘tongue-in-cheek mode’ enabled]

Let’s concoct a future scenario (extended from a passage in the book) to work with … You’re out for an urban stroll.  You buy a bottle of orange juice along your way, and drink it as you’re walking.  Half a mile down the road, you throw the empty bottle in a bin.  Not that inspiring?  OK, let’s IoT/big data it up a bit …

Your exercise is being monitored as you walk.  When you buy the bottle, the cost is automatically debited from your bank account.  Also the juice’s nutritional information is fed into your fitness tracker along with your steps.  At the same time, the juice/bottle’s carbon penalty is added to your personal carbon footprint.  If you dispose of the empty bottle in an approved recycling bin, some of that carbon penalty is credited back to you.  The balance is your carbon tax to pay, although this is mitigated by an adjustment against your health tax: calculated from your fitness tracker’s juice and steps data.  The net cost is also taken directly from your bank.

So, how might that all work?

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