Among the sessions at this years Davos meeting of the World Economic Forum was a panel on "The new digital experience". Interesting stuff. In particular I think Craig Mundie of Microsoft has a very succinct description of the real issue regarding managing privacy:
"The technology will result in us collecting and remembering a huge amount of data, and over time we will ultimately find beneficial ways of using this. People can certainly speculate that there are evil ways to use and exploit data, and the question I think will become: how can we find a manageable way for people to declare their intent about each class of data and each class of service that they subscribe to?
And to the extent that we can get that agreed on and that becomes platformized, so you’re not facing a hundred different ways to express that intent, then I think these issues will come under control.
There are definite business tensions, because it’s easy to build certain business models that presume that you have almost surreptitious collection of information – and of course government intelligence business, that’s what they do for a living.
So at some level you have to realize the world is going to be a sea of data, and the real question related to privacy is going to be, how does the user get to specify what they think their ownership rights are in that data - no matter who collected it.
And I think these are questions that are not clear in the law and in the policy and that’s really gotta be the focus of the discussion. "
Here is the link to the podcast