Privacy Panic Cycle

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has released their analysis of how privacy advocates trigger waves of public fear about new technologies in a recurring “privacy panic cycle.”

The report is an interesting read and makes some valid points. In general, people fear new things more so than things we are familiar with. Like the person who doesn’t fly much being nervous about the flight when statistically the most dangerous part of the journey is the drive to the airport.

While a privacy panic for emerging tech is indeed common, we can’t summarily dismiss that panic as having no basis. The key is to look at it from a principled basis, and compare the risks to existing technology.

New tech may very well have privacy issues that need to be looked at objectively, and should be designed into the tech (called privacy by design).

Even if the privacy fears are overblown, purveyors of the technology need to understand the panic and find a way to deflate the concerns.

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