5th Oct 2015

Should we trust the smart world?

Phones became smart, cities are becoming smart, and in the words of Irving Berlin in Porgy and Bess- the living’s easy. But is it? Have we considered how much of our own privacy and personal data we’re prepared to give up for the ease of living?

All the time we’re sharing obvious information – our Facebook posts, our fitness activities - but we’re also sharing our location, our waking hours, our views, religion; perhaps our sexuality, our membership and affiliations, our purchases – some of which may be problematical. Is it as simple as “If you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve not nothing to fear?”It may be, sometimes, but I wonder if it can be all the time for any of us.

The European law tends to sit strongly on the side of protecting personal information – allowing people their privacy unless they agree to share it. Even then – how much are we aware, how far or how much we’ve agreed to share?

Other areas of the world are more in other directions – making data much more freely available, for governmental or commercial use.There are historic and cultural reasons behind the differences.

We can and should celebrate the benefits of technology in easing our lives. We should be under no illusion though about the extent of the deal we make when we allow the full benefits to flow – because they don’t just flow in the direction of the liberated individual.

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