Privacy is an Illusion

3 Feb

At a recent event at OST, I had an opportunity to speak to STEM teachers about application development, technology and the opportunities students have in our industry.

One of the teachers asked me what keeps me up at night – and had a follow-up question on the loss of privacy.  My response is that privacy and personal information has shifted in that it used to be up to me to make sure that that my private files were locked, that my receipts were shredded, and that I kept personal information private within my own circles.  Now, my privacy is dependent upon the capabilities of the people and organizations I entrust personal information to – Target data breach, emails I send to executives at Sony, etc.

Today, in Science Magazine, there is published a series of great articles on privacy and personal information.  Applied mathematicians and MIT scientists using four random data points and anonymized personal meta-data were able to identify de-identified data with high fidelity.  As a technologist with interest in analytics and the social implications of technology, I find this fascinating and wanted to share it with you.   The associated articles on facial recognition and other privacy matters are also very interesting.

Jim VanderMey, Chief Innovation Officer at OST

Jim VanderMey has served as VP of Technical Operations, CTO and now Chief Innovation Officer for OST. Jim has provided the technical leadership and product strategic planning for the organization since the very beginning. Jim is a technology visionary who sets the long and short-term direction for OST. He specializes in seeing the “big picture” of technology, industry trends and the business objectives supported by IT. As OST has gained an international reputation, Jim has taught and spoken at conferences in Europe, Japan, and throughout the US. Lastly, we must confess that some of OST’s peculiar culture is a direct derivation of Jim’s unorthodox style.

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