GIS and the expectation of privacy

GIS is considered by some to be an invasive technology. Even though some of the “invasive” data like lot lines and ownership are in the public domain, the easy access to large data stores of personal information is a cause for concern among privacy advocates.

Some information is protected under federal laws like HIPAA, State laws (such as our own OPRA) often protect information that could be used to identify an individual. The Government Records Council has upheld redaction of information that personally identifies an individual. Any other information stored by a government entity (with exceptions) can be requested by anyone.

Google is now making the case that complete privacy does not exist. Some agree with Google. I personally feel that if it’s something that’s available to you but not readily accessible, making it accessible through the internet is not an invasion of privacy. What’s your take on privacy? Where should the line be drawn?

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2 Responses to GIS and the expectation of privacy

  1. aentchev says:

    “You have zero privacy anyway,” Scott McNealy told a group of reporters and analysts Monday night [January 26, 1999] at an event to launch his company’s new Jini technology.

    “Get over it.”

    http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/1999/01/17538

  2. John says:

    I completely forgot about that! I agree with part of that sentiment; just because it’s now accessible doesn’t mean it becomes invasive. If Google started cataloging faces and matching it up to Picasa accounts for secret “research purposes,” I’d be concerned. Isolated data is not that dangerous, it’s the unregulated corporations that maintain huge databases of personal data, cross referencing it with sensitive data like credit cards. It’s horrible when TJ Maxx loses thousands of credit card numbers, just imagine someone getting a hold of a DB with CCs along with recent purchases, browsing habits, pictures of family, etc.