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Security & Privacy

Could Privacy Become a New Form of Currency?

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the latest digital technology is killing privacy. As Robert Scoble said at our latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, the future will be dominated by surveillance technologies like sensors, wearable computing, and location data.

So, I asked California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom what, exactly, does the end of privacy mean from the perspective of a politician?

Newsom was refreshingly blunt. “We never had it,” he replied. “So it’s like welcome to my world.”

In spite of all the hysteria over the NSA, Newsom isn’t too pessimistic. As a “new form of currency,” he says, privacy can be sold if we get something in return. Currently, Newsom says, there’s very little transparency about this exchange in “half the apps” he downloads.

So what we need, Newsom says, is a “debate about transparency.” While it won’t switch off the sensors or the location data, he insists, it is essential if we are to protect our right to privacy in our increasingly hyper-visible, data saturated world.

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