Changing Context and Data Reuse

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Changing Context and Data Reuse

  • "I rejoice in the tremendous amount of data in the world "

    I'm kind of spooked by the term rejoice.  Massive amounts of data has become a drug, and any problems seem to be simply a matter of more data. The very substantial threats to privacy (no kind of law will really stop that) are immense. But additionally the assumption that 'more data is better' is seductive and dangerous, when actually good data, well understood data is really what is needed. All kinds of bad actions can be argued from large amounts if poorly understood or misleading data. And yet this is the 'easy fix' that dominates.






    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • While we're on the topic of digital data posted on the web getting used out of it's original context, one major issue is meta-data embedded in the files. For example, most mainstream social media and photo sharing services likes FaceBook, Flikr, and Instagram automatically strip out meta-data (timestamp, GPS, Creator name, etc.) from uploaded images. Great, I think that is a very good thing to do by default, because most social media users don't realize how this information could be used by 3rd parties or don't even know it exists in the first place. However, I suspect that websites like Facebook still capture and index the meta-data for their own purpose, before they publish the cleansed version for public consumption. Also, many professional photographers actually don't like their tags getting stripped out, because they feel it diminishes their attribution and copyright.



    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Personally identifying data should be protected and regulated like hazardous material. Even with the owner's consent, there should be guidelines regarding how the data is stored and used. For example, if you donate your blood, transferring ownership outright, the hospital still can't do anything they want with it. Blood is blood, and the clinic (for ethical and public safety reasons) can't dump it in the back parking lot, sell it, or use it in a human cloning project. In the same way, data is a tangible thing that can be potentially abused through misuse in ways that affect not only the individual but society in general. I reject the notion that because it digital and because it's on the internet, then it's somehow outside the domain of common law.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

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