Do we have any digital privacy left? New series examines questions

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In a hyper-connected world–where e-mailing, posting, and checking in online is the norm–do we have any digital privacy left?

That’s one of the key questions we ask in our new video series on privacy. In partnership with The Walrus TV, we explore the complex issues surrounding privacy in a time when almost all of our information, photos, and conversations are online.

Topics discussed include: can lost innocence ever be regained; revenge porn; is Big Data the new Big Brother; differentiating anonymous and Anonymous and what we’re willing to give up for our online selves.

The series features hard-hitting questions and thought-provoking insights and from Ontario privacy commissioner, Ann Cavoukian, author and MIT professor, Sherry Turkle, author Clay Shirky, Forbes online editor and privacy columnist, Kashmir Hill, chair of Law and Business Department at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Business, Avner Levin, feminist activist Steph Guthrie, and others.

Where are the new philosophers?

“We need some more philosophers in this debate, it can’t be just engineers, it can’t be just product managers… we need to make sure that technology in today serves society and empowers us, makes us better people and make the world a better place,” says Jules Polonetsky, director of the Future of Privacy Forum.

And the time for new thinkers is now. As more privacy issues arise, more attempts at regulating online activity are made. Just recently, Canada announced a law that would make it a criminal act to share explicit photos without a person’s permission.

The new law has opened up a debate about the importance of individual privacy versus collective privacy. Does one trump the other?

Before we get any clear answers, it seems a lot more questions need to be asked. But even if the road ahead is unclear, Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian says it’s crucial not to write off the issue entirely.

“People often think with the enormous growth of online social connectivity, ubiquitous computing, wifi, position systems, surveillance everywhere, I guess we have to say goodbye to privacy. I just want to ask people not to give up on privacy when they think about the future.”

Follow the conversation on our blog, in the Walrus and the hashtag #rprivatelife.

 

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