The Pirated "I" or How Privacy Can't Exist on a Lawless Semantic Web

author: Abraham B. Hsuan, Irwin & Hsuan LLP
introducer: Marko Grobelnik, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Jožef Stefan Institute
published: July 7, 2011,   recorded: June 2011,   views: 4315


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An explosion of digital information about us exists and persists in the databases of the businesses, governments and networks we engage with daily. Most all of it does not identify us personally. Existing legal regimes approach "privacy" by regulating how specific bits and bytes of Personally-Identifiable Information (PII), such as names, addresses, government-issued IDs, email addresses, etc., can and should be used, stored and shared. However, advancements in knowledge discovery and data-mining (KDD) technologies and the advent of the semantic web mean that PII is no longer needed to know with sufficient certainty an individual's likes, dislikes, socio-economic status, residence, politics, religion, addictions, etc. As we use our mobile devices, surf the web, send messages, shop for necessities like food, clothing and medicine, consume media, or simply walk on the streets of any large city in the world (and many small towns as well), we open ourselves up to having our identities "pirated" for both wanted and unwanted purposes. What can the law do about this fast-arriving future when we can no longer reasonably expect our privacy to be protected or protectable?

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