Unraveling Privacy: The Personal Prospectus & the Threat of a Full Disclosure Future

The linked paper was written in 2010 but was recently surfaced by Evgeny Morozov and others.  Essentially it argues that some if people benefit from voluntarily disclosing information about themselves. (For example allowing your car insurance company to track you to in return for a discount if the data proves you are a ‘good’ driver.) Then eventually everyone will be coerced into disclosing private information even if doing so harms them since not disclosing data is assumed to imply that you have something really really bad to hide. (That is premiums and prices increase and job offers and relationship opportunities decrease for those who refuse to disclose).

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The result is a society where algorithms increase inequalities by automating personalized discrimination and where subtle assumptions made by corporations and programmers about what we mean by “good‘ shape society more than laws, culture or democracy.

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