Cnet’s sponsored panel at SXSW (News - Alert) this week made privacy a hot button topic in “big data.” From advocacy groups supporting tech, panelists got together to dish out matters on regulation and consumer protection.
“We have a difference of opinion of when government should get involved,” said Brian Szoka, president of the non-partisan, non-profit, tech policy think tank TechFreedom reports Cnet.
The topic is pretty timely considering all the headlines Google has made in particular with its newest privacy settings.
Google contends that the new rules don't veer from previous privacy policies. The company says the changes make it easier for users to see what information the company has collected about them while they use Google's free search engine, Gmail service, maps, browser and Android-based smartphones.
It’s these moves that have had Google, as well as Twitter (News - Alert) and Facebook, under fire for their privacy policies.
Jay Stanley, an attorney for ACLU specializing in privacy, says he’s all for “dynamism,” however government has to be at the helm otherwise it becomes a problem of oversimplification.
“One of the real potential harms [is that] big data has huge potential to do great things...cool things,” Stanley said. “But it also has the potential to invade our privacy by revealing things we didn't choose to reveal.”
Therein lies the problem with updated policies like Google’s. Critics have said that the new policy gives Google free rein to parse together a user's personal information to find out what she is interested in, who she talks to, where she goes and, basically, who she is, and that is ultimately the issue Stanley spoke about.
In light of privacy changes, Google has maintained that there are ways for users to get around having their information culled and stored.
Edited by Jennifer Russell