Privacy in a sharing, interconnected world

The PewResearch Internet Project has released a very long (over six individual, thematic webpages), very interesting, must read piece on the future of privacy.

2,511 respondents (“experts and Internet builders” including most people who are anybody in the net business) have given their view on security, liberty and privacy online.

Link: The Future of Privacy »

Here you will find the optimistic, the dystopian, the visionary, the defatist and the defiant voices. Among others.

Just a few quotes. Let’s start with Vint Cerf

“The public will become more sophisticated about security and safety. Corporations and service providers will feel pressure to implement practices including two-factor authentication and end-to-end cryptography. Users will insist on having the ability to encrypt their email at need. They will demand much more transparency of the private sector and, especially, their governments. Privacy conventions will evolve in online society—violations of personal privacy will become socially unacceptable. Of course, there will be breaches of all these things, but some will be accompanied by serious social and economic downsides and, in some cases, criminal charges. By 2025, people will be much more aware of their own negligent behavior, eroding privacy for others, and not just themselves. The uploading and tagging of photos and videos without permission may become socially unacceptable. As in many other matters, the social punishment may have to be accompanied by legislation—think about seat belts and smoking by way of example. We may be peculiarly more tolerant of lack of privacy, but that is just my guess.”

Justin Reich at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society…

“The risks of privacy violations are too abstract and distal, the benefits of surrendering privacy too immediate and valued. A very small number of organizations will continue to battle on behalf of the public for stronger privacy protections, probably having some success against the most extreme transgressions, but businesses will lobby against protections under the banner of consumer choice, and harms against consumers will remain too difficult to communicate. This might be different if we have a Hoover-esque government transgression. Broadly, people do not care about Internet privacy. And, as youth who grow up in a culture of exchanging data for service get older, the public will, on average, care even less about their privacy and data security by 2025. If the Snowden revelations do not shift public opinion, what will?”

Barbara Simons, a highly decorated retired IBM computer scientist, former president of the ACM, and current board chair for Verified Voting…

“Unfortunately, I think the most likely scenario is that technically savvy people might be able to communicate privately, but most folks will not have that option. I hope I’m wrong… It would help if people would stop saying that privacy is dead—get over it. There is no law of physics that says that it is impossible to have privacy. We can have privacy, if that is what we as a society choose.”

Nilofer Merchant, author of The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy

“Privacy will be reformed by 2025 by new ‘protocol’ leaders who advocate for new freedoms. Freedom in 2025 will be understood as being able to manage your data, your privacy.”

Jeremy Epstein, senior computer scientist at SRI International…

“Consumers do not care enough about their privacy to create the incentives necessary to protect privacy rights. As a result, I doubt that there will be a method for offering individual choices for protecting personal information. Consumers will continue to complain about privacy, but they will not be willing to do anything about it. We will still give up our information for a ten-cent discount on a cup of coffee or shorter lines at the tollbooth. It will be similar to the (mythical) boiling frog—we will continue to lose privacy one degree at a time, until there is none left at all.”

Niels Ole Finnemann, professor and director of Netlab, DigHumLab in Denmark

“The citizens will divide between those who prefer convenience and those who prefer privacy.”

And these are just a few of a huge number of interesting, insightful, thought-provoking responses and comments.

This is a must read piece. Really!

The Future of Privacy: Part 1 » | Part 2 » | Part 3 » | Part 4 » | Part 5 » | Part 6 »

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