Thursday, June 28, 2007

Data ReUse

Read the whole thing, but here's the conclusion:

Both the Japanese internment and the Florida voting-roll purge demonstrate that laws can change ... and sometimes change quickly. We need to build systems with privacy-enhancing technologies that limit data collection wherever possible. Data that is never collected cannot be reused. Data that is collected anonymously, or deleted immediately after it is used, is much harder to reuse. It's easy to build systems that collect data on everything -- it's what computers naturally do -- but it's far better to take the time to understand what data is needed and why, and only collect that.

History will record what we, here in the early decades of the information age, did to foster freedom, liberty and democracy. Did we build information technologies that protected people's freedoms even during times when society tried to subvert them? Or did we build technologies that could easily be modified to watch and control? It's bad civic hygiene to build an infrastructure that can be used to facilitate a police state.

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