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Berners-Lee: You've Got Our Data, Show Restraint 76

Posted by Soulskill
from the facilitating-the-blackmailing-of-ourselves dept.
itwbennett writes "Your browsing behavior may reveal more personal information than you'd tell your own mother. Which is why Tim Berners-Lee is urging technology companies to 'show more restraint' in how they use the information they hoover up. 'We're moving towards a world in which people agree not to use information for particular purposes. It's not whether you can get my information, it's when you've got it, what you promise not to do with it,' said Berners-Lee, speaking out against the U.K.'s proposal to allow government intelligence to monitor digital communications."
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Berners-Lee: You've Got Our Data, Show Restraint

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  • hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CSMoran (1577071) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:45PM (#39747985) Journal
    Isn't that like asking a lion not to eat us?
  • Re:Getting creepy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nschubach (922175) on Friday April 20, 2012 @02:08PM (#39748279) Journal

    The best part is that you just bought a couch... it's not like you are going to buy another.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday April 20, 2012 @02:21PM (#39748431) Homepage

    Tim Berners-Lee: "Please show restraint with everyone's personal data."
    Shareholders: "Please find a way to monetize everyone's personal data as quickly as possible to increase our share price."

    Guess which one the CEO is going to listen to?

  • Re:Good analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday April 20, 2012 @03:16PM (#39749067)

    There's no stopping it, EXCEPT by not giving them the data in the first place. They cannot abuse what they do not have.

    And even that will get harder and harder as time goes on. People make tons of "noise" and technology is getting better and better at making sense of it. Regulate government and corporations all you want; it won't matter in twenty years when I can buy a handheld gadget that can spy on you right through your walls.

    In fact, mandating privacy will probably hurt us in the long run, because when we hide all our 'ugly' bits it's easy to start assuming they don't exist at all, and overreact when something happens to leak out. The more we hide and the more we polish our images, the more damaging any leak becomes—like having your career ruined because OH MY GOD somebody took a nude photo of you years ago. Privacy is like a suit of armor; it can protect, but it's very restrictive to keep on all the time, you soon feel completely naked and exposed without it, and you live in constant fear of someone finding a chink.

    So I agree with Berners-Lee. Keeping everything secret from everybody is not a long-term solution. Responsibility is a long-term solution. We need to stop ourselves from obsessing over details we discover of other peoples' lives. We need to realize that no one is perfect and reject the spotless public images the wealthy and powerful can afford to manufacture. We need to promise to be considerate with the information others reveal to us. And most of all, we need to stigmatize the governments and gossips and paparazzi and anyone who trolls personal information seeking harm or humiliation. Such activity needs to be not simply unlawful but morally reprehensible, regardless of what it might dredge up.

    Because in the end, if we can't go about our daily lives without constant fear of those around us, society has failed.

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