When was the last time you found yourself in the middle of a nuanced, insightful, and actionable debate about Siri, Alexa, or the other Omniscient Robot Butlers? Never.
Popular discourse (including that from the talking heads on cable news and various Buzzfeed listicles) suggests we have only two options when it comes to data privacy: (1) Plug into the Matrix so Amazon can predict down to the microsecond when you will need more soap, or (2) microwave your iPhone, retreat to the woods, and make your own soap.
Recognizing as much, The New York Times just launched The Privacy Project, an op-ed project that presents a variety of voices and perspectives on the rapid pace of innovation and the related data privacy issues. The essays are concise, well-written, and engaging. Coverage ranges from serious to light-hearted, and there is something for everyone regardless of your level of interest. The Project provides an explanation of the basic issues at play, as well as a glossary defining some of the code words you’ve heard referenced in previous Privacy Perils.
The Project also includes interesting features that reframe the privacy debate. One notable example lets you draw the line on the acceptability of several different types of data collection and compare your line to other readers. There are also ethical, legal and economic critiques on the privacy debate for the public intellectuals out there.
Regardless of your opinions on data privacy, one thing is certain: the decisions we make today about privacy in the digital age will impact not only us, but our children and grandchildren. Those decisions will be better if they are the product of the considered opinions of a large group of informed and interested people. Do yourself a favor by checking out this timely and important project. Who knows, you might even be able to inject some insight into your next conversation about (or with) Alexa.
Check out our series, Privacy Perils, to learn what steps you can take to guard your personal and company data. For more information about this topic and other cyber security concerns, please contact Bob Brewer, Tony McFarland, Elizabeth Warren or a member of our Privacy & Data Security team.