Ramblings on having privacy in public spaces

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Here are some ideas that I've thought of that could maybe aid us in designing to be let alone in the days of everyware.

From a system point of view

Avoiding the Google-Yahoo! Scenario

  • Government may subsidize the use of RFID systems to companies that are small, to encourage them to offer better services and compete with larger companies.
  • This way, with healthy competition, people will always have a choice to choose rather than submit to whims and fancies of a handful of oligopolic organizations.
  • An ISO certification may be created that allows for following strict privacy measures. This keeps open the checklist for measuring privacy trade-offs and which can be modified and added to by experts over a period of time depending on context. People should be allowed to participate democratically in this as well.
Ensure Trust through smaller groups
  • We could create small panchayats, or clusters which understands its people. This way the individual is protected by outsider invasion into his or her privacy. And can still protect her or his individuality in the group. Smaller systems have smaller issues of privacy because a certain trust is ensured.

Creating a point-of-sale value

  • Privacy can be used as a tool to market a company. For instance "We dont tag and monitore our employees" or "Your information is safe with us", may be used as an advertising strategy to promise customers.

Reduce Crime Rates

One of the main reasons to increase pervasive technology is in the name of offering security, from crime, terrorism. This is a good way to convince any society to allow to be tracked.
If crime rates can be reduced through other means such as
  • "adoption is a good option"
  • Solving terrorism, not through war, but by using peaceful negotiations (being too Idealistic?)
  • By removing dependence on oil, which has been the reason for recent wars and provoked terrorism
  • Increased literacy, which encourages “reasoning”, through worldwide programs, and self-help groups
Use Feminism for Activism

  • Women in society tend to be more conscious to be private simply because of the hassles they face from anonymous strangers, and threats to their integrity. They also prove to be more proactive than men in the office environment. Which suggests that maybe we could target a female audience in someway and convince them to take this case further, in the form of protests, filing suits, spreading the word etc. If current issues can be solved, we might be able to create further consciousness with time as everyware begins to spread.

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