WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 - Most Americans have a negative view of data gathering and feel that they have little control over what information is available to businesses and the government, according to a poll released Thursday by Allstate and National Journal-Heartland Monitor.
However, many Americans also recognize the benefits, including connecting with friends and receiving personalized information about products and services of interest.
The implications of the poll were discussed at a conference here on privacy in the internet age.
“The most promising opportunity is technology that will allow consumers to protect their own privacy,” he said.
The second keynote speaker, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., also spoke of empowering consumers to protect themselves.
“What we need to make certain is that our constituents have the ability to protect their ‘virtual you,’ as I call it,” she said.
Blackburn laid out two important steps consumers should take to facilitate the creation of more acceptable environment. Consumers should be sure to read any privacy agreements, and they should engage with companies to help the industry come forward with a set of privacy standards. Despite this emphasis on standards created within the industry, she also noted that Congress is likely to consider privacy legislation in the near future.
The event concluded with a discussion among a panel of experts on a number of privacy-related topics including government transparency, the recent revelations regarding National Security Agency information gathering, and the trade-offs between privacy and social benefits.
Nigel Jacob, board member of Code for America and co-chair of the Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, described how his work toward transparency had produced numerous benefits in Boston. He asserted that this transparency had enabled public-private partnerships, built trust, and helped drive community unity.
Marc Rotenberg, president and executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information, had a number of sharp criticisms for the NSA. He questioned the constitutionality of the data gathering under the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits the unreasonable seizing of information. The NSA’s defense of their actions has also been weak due to the use of anecdotal evidence which supports their argument rather than comprehensive statistics that would show the actual effectiveness of the program.
“There are a lot of ways to promote accountability through the publication of statistics,” Rotenberg said.
The panelists also discussed trade-offs that could be made of privacy for social benefits, such as the use of medical records for research purposes.
Evan Selinger, associate professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, noted that such issues often carry disproportionate weight in the privacy debate, silencing privacy advocates who fear being labeled as opponents of progress. Rotenberg argued that the idea of trade-offs presented a false dichotomy, and that people can maintain their privacy while still benefitting from applications of data.
“I think we need to raise our expectations that we can enjoy the benefits of technology and enjoy privacy,” he said.
- Advocates for Rural Broadband Providers Commiserate on Flaws in Federal Approach to Funding
- Facebook and Google Are Also Participants in Broadband Public-Private Partnerships
- Hostile Reactions to Trump’s Section 230 Proposed Changes, AT&T and Standalone 5G, No More ‘High-Touch’
- Breakfast Media Minute: September 23, 2020
- Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 — Champions of Broadband: Robert McDowell
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Fiber4 months ago
Fiber Networks Hold a Cybersecurity Advantage Over Rival Co-Axial and Wireless Technologies, Say Panelists
Congress4 months ago
Senators Introduce Healthcare Broadband Bill as House Companion, Proposes $2 Billion Telehealth Expansion
Artificial Intelligence3 months ago
Brookings Panelists Emphasize Importance of Addressing Biases in Artificial Intelligence Technology
China5 months ago
China Expert Predicts that Nation’s Flawed Coronavirus Response Will Damage the Power of Chinese Communist Party
Infrastructure6 months ago
Broadband Breakfast Live Online Will Stream Every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET on ‘Broadband and the Coronavirus’
Education6 months ago
Online Elementary Education is No Spring Break for Parents Teaching from Home
Artificial Intelligence3 months ago
U.S. State Department Employing Artificial Intelligence Against COVID-19 Misinformation
Rural5 months ago
Why the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is So Significant, and How to Succeed in Applying For RDOF