Snowflakes a threat to your privacy?
Last week, I had the privilege of opening a series of seminars in Flanders on “ICT and multimedia in higher education“. Of course, I talked about snowflake: if you want to see me explain the concept in Dutch, the video is available.
There were some interesting questions at the end, notably one about the ethical implications of snowflake. The question started with the introduction that no technology is ever neutral in ethical terms – a remark I’ve heard before but am not completely sure about… In any case, the work we do on attention metadata is certainly not without ethical implications. In a more general context, mainstream search engines are getting more pushback because of civil rights worries – see the recent post by Teemu Arina on monetizing privacy or Cory Doctorow’s Scroogled story… It seems clear to me that we will need to regulate this in some way or other. If we don’t, Something Really Bad is going to happen, people are going to be Very Upset and will demand that these technologies be forbidden. And that would make it impossible to snowflake your life!
Teemu mentions my proposal to require total transparency, so that we can all do what google or some government can do. Another approach would be to impose constraints similar to the ones that prevent the mobile phone operators from sharing your location with anybody who would ask to know where you are.
Do you share these concerns about privacy? Do you have other proposals on how to deal with them? Send me a note or leave a comment: I need to understand this better! Help me learn…