ChelleChelle writes "Participatory sensing technologies are greatly expanding the possible uses of mobile phones in ways that could improve our lives and our communities (for example, by helping us to understand our exposure to air pollution or our daily carbon footprint). However, with these potential gains comes great risk, particularly to our privacy. With their built-in microphones, cameras and location awareness, mobile phones could, at the extreme, become the most widespread embedded surveillance tools in history. Whether phones engaged in sensing data are tools for self and community research, coercion or surveillance depends on who collects the data, how it is handled, and what privacy protections users are given. This article gives a number of opinions about what programmers might do to make this sort of data collection work without slipping into surveillance and control."
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