[FoRK] moar change we can believe in!

Koen Holtman k.holtman at chello.nl
Mon Sep 14 16:58:01 PDT 2009

On Sat, 12 Sep 2009, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> This is a complicated topic and goes way beyond RFID.  The world is  
> very rapidly becoming pervasively wired with network-connected  
> sensors, and the state of this reality is far beyond what most people  
> imagine it is. 

In my day job I work a bit on pervasive networked sensors and RFID.  In
fact the introduction of these has been less rapid than I would have
predicted 5-10 years ago.  When you get down to it, making a solid
business case to roll out this type of technology on a massive scale is
not that easy.  What we really need is an irrational sensor bubble but I
am not holding my breath.

The actually existing scary pervasive network-connected sensor device is
otherwise known as the internet enabled mobile phone.  Data mining
user-generated internet traffic is also a lot easier than collecting lots
of camera/sound/sensor/rfid data and correlating it to people afterwards.  
The good news is that, at least for this type of scary pervasive sensor,
the companies that are technically best placed to capture and mine all
data generated are still somewhat regulated when it comes to privacy.  

Nevertheless technology is on a path where it becomes more and more easy
for institutions to gather massive amounts of data about individuals.  
This is a threat to the correct functioning of states and markets, because
it creates new opportunities to game the system for the benefit of a few.  
I can't see a purely technical fix.  The only way to counter-balance this
technical trend is by legislation and citizen/consumer education.

Memes that will become increasingly useful:

- All data about me is my own property, not the property of the people who
managed to collect it.

- They might happen to know this, but is it not legal for them to act on

- Nobody is perfect.

- If buyer and seller have hugely different access to information you 
cannot have a fair market.

- Shouldn't my every word and gesture by covered by copyright law?  After
all I am at least as good an artist as <fill in here>.


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