Cory Doctorow: Is Your Search History Really Anonymous?





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Uploaded on Feb 8, 2010

Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2009/10/31/Rethinking_...

Boing Boing editor and blogger Cory Doctorow warns that Web searches are more difficult to "anonymize" than is commonly believed, citing AOL's accidental data disclosure in 2006. "Would it harm you if those queries were broadcast to the world?" he asks. "I think the answer is an unequivocal yes."


The increasing reach of information technology into all areas of life, from social networking websites to data sharing in public services, has thrown up a number of questions about privacy. Information about our medical records, financial circumstances and shopping habits is increasingly likely to be stored in electronic media that are out of our control.

Some argue we are seeing a fundamental shift in attitudes to privacy, with a whole new generation growing up at ease with sharing pictures and information about themselves online with loosely-defined "friends." Meanwhile, we are increasingly suspicious of goings-on "behind closed doors," and the demand for privacy often seems a cranky hang-up of those with something to hide.

In this context, what does it mean to insist on a right to privacy? Should we look to privacy laws to protect those who are less keen on sharing all? Where is the line between public and private today? Do we need to redraw this line and why is this so politically important? - Battle of Ideas 2009

Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction novelist, blogger and technology activist. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing (boingboing.net), and a contributor to Wired, Popular Science, Make, the New York Times, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. A visiting senior lecturer at the Open University, he was formerly Director of European Affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (eff.org), a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. In 2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.

His novels are published by HarperCollins UK and simultaneously released on the Internet under Creative Commons licenses that encourage their re-use and sharing, a move that increases his sales by enlisting his readers to help promote his work.


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