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The End of Privacy?

This months issue of Scientific American is a single-topic feature on The Future of Privacy. There is a ton to read- 11 different articles covering topics including online security, wiretapping, RFID tags, genetic privacy and social networking. I really appreciate that they do bring a distinction between privacy and security to the discussion, which is really important as privacy is a much more flexible matter of preferences and cultural norms, whereas security can be a much more serious matter of protection for individuals and/or groups of people.

In terms of web-related information, I thought the article asking Do Social Networks Bring the End of Privacy? was worth reading for anyone using (or building) a social network now. It notes the following key concepts:

1. Social-networking sites allow seemingly trivial gossip to be distributed to a worldwide audience, sometimes making people the butt of rumors shared by millions of users across the Internet.
2. Public sharing of private lives has led to a rethinking of our current conceptions of privacy.
3. Existing law should be extended to allow some privacy protection for things that people say and do in what would have previously been considered the public domain.

If you dont have time to read the articles but want an audio-overview of the content, check out this weeks SciAm Science Talk podcast, Whos Watching You: The Future of Privacy.

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