Good News: No Need To Trade Privacy For Security
from the have-your-privacy-and-eat-it-too dept
Benjamin Franklin once famously said that, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” This has been a mantra of many people opposed to the increasing use of surveillance technology in society and the disproportionate responses the government displays to any conceivable dangern. But, is liberty really at odds with safety and security, and is technology necessarily going to erode privacy over time? A new study by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering concludes that this needn’t be a problem so long as engineers design systems with privacy in mind. For example, the study notes, travel and shopping could be designed to allow for anonymity with greater use of things like loyalty cards not tied to an individual. This kind of thing is already happening a bit, as the use of gift cards is exploding, along with decentralized online identity systems like OpenID. Still, the study’s authors do seem a bit naive when arguing that the government should put more privacy rules in place on businesses, and make greater use of experts before designing centralized databases. While these suggestions sound nice, it’s hard to imagine that the government will ever become a leading force for better, privacy-oriented technology.