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?
1 Comment | tags: AI, Artificial intelligence, Big Connectivity, Big Data, Biometrics, DNA, Home automation, IoT, Personal data, Privacy | posted in Computing, Engineering, Industry, Philosophy, Politics, Science
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 …
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.
1 Comment | tags: Big Data, Data algorithms, Data apps, Identification Vector, IoT, IV, Personal data, Personal Identification Mark, PIM, Privacy, RIoT, SfP, Shazam | posted in Algorithms, Computer Science, Computing, Hardware, Industry, Politics, Programming, Software
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?
1 Comment | tags: Big Connectivity, Big Data, Integration, Internet of Everything, Internet of Things, Personal data, Privacy, Real Internet of Things | posted in Hardware, Philosophy, Politics, Software
The Shazam for People discussion revisited as an article, ‘Identity Voyeurism‘, in September 2015’s British Computer Society (BCS) IT Now Magazine, made all the more relevant by recent breaches of personal privacy …
There’s more than one type of identity ‘crisis’. Conventional identity ‘theft’ is one thing but what of identity ‘voyeurism’? How much of ‘us’ is ‘in the shop window’ anyway? Are we in control? What are the risks? And where’s it heading?
The next time you’re on public transport, try playing the ‘Prof on a Train’ (PoaT) game. (It doesn’t really have to be a train or an academic but it’s a good example to work with.) Take a look at the person opposite you. Armed only with your senses, intelligence, intuition and an Internet connection, how much can you find out about them?
Well, if they’re quietly dozing in the corner, unremarkably dressed, with no distinguishing features whatsoever, you’ll probably lose. However, any activity at all or any visible clues might give you a chance. Are they doing, reading, saying or wearing anything? Who’s with them? Are they easier to identify? Where did they get on and do you know where they’re going? Anything odd? Here’s the basic strategy, on which PoaT is based:
They’re reading an academic paper on a certain subject (X) and you know where they got on (Y). A quick look at the photos on the ‘Department of X’ webpage for the ‘University of Y’ might be enough.
8 Comments | tags: 'Prof on a Train', Big Connectivity, Big Data, Internet of Things, Personal data, Privacy | posted in Algorithms, Computer Science, Computing, Hardware, Philosophy, Politics, Software