Woodrow Hartzog is a professor of the Northeastern University who specializes in privacy, data protection, robotics, and automated technologies. He shared his insights on scoring systems, the internet of things, and police body cameras in a gathering where online privacy was also discussed significantly. Recently he has testified before federal lawmakers about how to improve online privacy, warning that the current laws that govern privacy on the internet fall short of protecting users as much as they should. He discussed trends that he said pose concerns for privacy and offered cautionary warnings along the way.
Some experts such as Steve Rambam, a private investigator specializing in Internet privacy cases, believe that privacy no longer exists; saying, “Privacy is dead – get over it”. While internet privacy is widely acknowledged as the top consideration in any online interaction, public understanding of online privacy policies is actually being negatively affected by the current trends regarding online privacy statements. Users have a tendency to skim internet privacy policies for information regarding the distribution of personal information only, and the more legalistic the policies appear the less likely users are to even read the information.
“Videos that have been edited to superimpose someone’s face or voice on a video in a very convincing way” have been discussed by Hartzog as discussed deep fakes. Now, there are facial recognition services specifically designed for churches to track attendance and another that tracks how much toilet paper people are using in public restrooms. Hartzog pointed out that we have gone too far. Robots that act like humans were another target of Hartzog’s talk.
On a concluding note, he emphasised that we don’t have a lot of set rules. We have policies and there are places where you can look at cities’ policies about the regulation of these body cameras but we don’t really have a clean set of rules about when they can be used, when they should be turned off, when they capture very sensitive, for example, interactions. We must enact such rules for our safety and privacy in this era of the internet.