[PET] cognitive dissonance indeed

Michael Rogers michael at briarproject.org
Fri Apr 20 10:37:24 BST 2012

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Hi Matt,

Daniel J. Solove makes a strong argument that viewing privacy as a
property right fails to capture the kinds of power involved in control
over personal information (especially when aggregated in databases), as
opposed to control over possessions:

"The value of one?s Social Security number lies not in its intimacy, not
in its immediate revelations of selfhood, and not in the fact that the
individual has authored it or given it special value. Rather, the value
is in the power of this number over the individual; the ability it
provides to others to gain power and control over an individual, to
invade an individual?s private life, to make the individual vulnerable
to fraud, identity theft, prying, snooping, and the like. Because this
value is linked to uncertain future uses, it is difficult, if not
impossible, for an individual to adequately value her information. Since
the ownership model involves individuals relinquishing full title to the
information, they have little idea how such information will be used
when in the hands of others.
     Furthermore, the aggregation problem severely complicates the
valuation process. An individual may give out bits of information in
different contexts, each transfer appearing innocuous. However, the
information can be aggregated and could prove to be invasive of the
private life when combined with other information. It is the totality of
information about a person and how it is used that poses the greatest
threat to privacy."



On 19/04/12 16:53, Wright, Matthew wrote:
> Interesting article -- we just fought off attempts to censor the
> Internet in the US.
> Is the idea of owning one's data and enforcement of that through network
> protocols good for privacy? We can be sure that such a mechanism, if
> available, would be used for copyright enforcement. What affects would
> that have?
> The author argues that ownership of personal data is critical to privacy
> and goes from there.
> cheers-
> Matt
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/09/breaking_the_internet_no_property_no_privacy/
> _______________________________________________
> PET mailing list
> PET at lists.links.org
> http://lists.links.org/mailman/listinfo/pet

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