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Privacy opinion piece

17 Feb 10: Provoked by Buzz, Stephen wrote an op-ed on privacy in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

"An uphill battle for online privacy"
Stephen Wilson
Sydney Morning Herald
17 Februay 2010

The original text in full is available in the privacy section of the Lockstep library.

Some quotes

"The erosion of privacy suits the agendas of many [like politicians on a post 9-11 national security bender, or Internet entrepreneurs who seek to cash in on their eye-in-the-sky knowledge of their customers’ habits] but anyone asserting that 'privacy is dead' is trying to sell you something, be it ideology or a new pair of runners."

"Even if Facebook is not just a fad, how should we extrapolate from adolescent risk taking to sober privacy law making? We don’t let 21 year old P-platers set road safety policy, and we shouldn’t let them set privacy policy either."

"When people say "information wants to be free" they're not just talking about cost, but friction, too. Information is a super-fluid."

"The complacency of technologists and the easy contempt shown for principled privacy advocates means we face an uphill battle to retain control over our own affairs."

"Privacy advocates tend tragically to be caricatured as extremists, hippies or paranoiacs. They're regarded with suspicion, given the misconception that if you haven't done anything wrong, you've got nothing to hide. Privacy is far more complex than that; it's not just about secrecy, it's about control."

"Facial recognition may work perfectly in the movies but in real life biometrics are riddled with errors, with false alarms usually running at 1 or 2 percent. It would be only a matter of time before a data mining computer suggested I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The march of progress means the onus of proof will increasingly fall on the falsely accused to explain themselves."