The Big Brother Awards

So yesterday I went to The Big Brother Awards and participated in the debate.
I’m not feeling like writing a big block of text that nobody will read so here are the things that came to my mind:

Everyone was worried about the government, in the whole debate private companies were mentioned twice. In my opinion that’s a bad balance. Should we worry about governments? Yes. Should we worry about companies? Definitely yes!

It took about 5 minutes before someone mentioned the Nazis. That made me wonder, what was the opinion of people on the government collecting date before World War II?

People seem to think that the government is really interested in everything they are doing.
Guess what? You’re not special! They don’t care!

Technical issues: fingerprints aren’t always correct and data can be leaked. Those seem more technical issues than privacy issues, aren’t they?

What’s wrong with cameras on the public road? It’s a public road, it’s not your living room.

Some sort of compromise was shortly mentioned: there should be some way of communication to the citizens about what is currently collected and how it used by the government. More transparency seems to be the trend here. A simple online portal could be a solution.

Also making certain things expire appeals to most people. For example if you didn’t get speeding tickets in the last X months, all your information could be erased from the license plate tracking system.

People seem to keep talking about all the cons of the government collecting information like finger prints, license plates etc.
So here are some other scenarios:

  • A kid got kidnapped, some witness reported the license plate. The police can act immediately because they know where the car is.
  • A terrorist left a bomb at a public event. On the shrapnel a partial fingerprint is detected. The police can round up a list of suspects, investigate those suspects and find the actual terrorist.
  • There’s a natural disaster. Because of the biometric data stored in databases, family and friends can be notified that they friend or family member is safe. Or a bit worse: he/she might be dead but to identify the body they don’t need go trough the full inventory of the morgue to identify…

I personally like to see some things more divided. There’s a big difference between:

  • Information you share on social network sites.*
  • Information collected by the government.
  • Information collected on the background by companies.

Hmm apparently I did wrote a big block of text 😛

Last but not least: my complements to Bert Gabriels who made it an interesting evening and who’s a great discussion leader.

*Did you ever wonder what words they are scanning for on social media?
Well there’s a document with a big list: Analyst’s Desktop Binder.
Page 21 is the list. Page 24 handles about protecting privacy.