Conversation with Gerd Leonhard: The future of privacy in a world of government data gathering


I recently spend some time with Gerd Leonhard recording some conversations about the future. After our video on Big Data, here are our thoughts on the future of privacy in the wake of the disclosures of NSA and US government data gathering.

Some of the points we made in our conversation:

* Digital data is like nuclear power – there is tremendous power yet if things go wrong we don’t know how to stop it.

* It is a Faustian deal, but we shouldn’t be surprised this is happening. There is currently no transparency or recourse.

* We can imagine two possible futures: in both individuals are completely visible, but we may or may not be see back into institutions of government and business.

* Even if data is gathered with positive intent, we may not necessarily trust those who inherit that data.

* We can vote political parties in and out of power, the mechanisms of government remain. It is becoming a self-running machine.

* We need to create mechanisms of transparency into government.

* Privacy banks and paying for services will give us more choice on how our data is gathered and used.

* The promise of ‘infomediaries’ is yet to be seen, and may not give us the degree of privacy we seek.

* We ares still discovering our social response to loss of privacy.