Privacy in a world of indiscriminate tracking

By General

privacy lockHow do we understand privacy in a world full of tracking? This week Julia Angwin spoke at the Shorenstein Center (recap here), and offered a high level overview of some of the privacy concerns specific to the data-rich world we  inhabit today. These ranged from the specter of government surveillance drones over U.S. cities tracking your every movement to car dealers fully briefed on your online research before you enter the showroom, so they know what to sell you. (Personally, I find the car dealer scenario more ominous.)

Angwin spent some time describing behaviors that are legal but problematic for our current social norms. How buried can the fine print of authorization and consent be on websites and applications? I don’t know many people who click through Apple’s 50-odd screens of Terms & Conditions before they update their iPhone software, nor do I find it easy to retrospectively find one-click agreements for YouTube channels. Can corporations argue that this constitutes informed consent, or is this a kind of specious authorization that should be regulated?

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