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Futurist Keynote, Greece: The Future of Privacy, Boussias



In the future you’ll be able to buy Privacy as a Service, because today your online and offline privacy is being eroded like never before in new and unbelievable ways.


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Firstly, thank you to Vicky for asking me to be this years keynote at Boussias’ annual Data Privacy and Protection conference, which originally was due to be held in person in Greece but ended up going virtual as the Coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, continued to disrupt everyone’s best laid plans.


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During the keynote I discussed the Future of Privacy – a topic that I find both intriguing, because of the significant benefits and upsides it could bring us all, and worrying as I watch many of the exponential technologies I discuss becoming commercialised for corporate gain with little to no regard for people’s right to privacy both online and offline, and then weaponsised by dystopian rogue states and used as a means of suppression.

When combined together today’s exponential technologies, which include everything from AI and machine vision through to new imaging technologies and sensing technologies, are helping companies everywhere cbuild an incredibly powerful and sophisticated “surveillance apparatus,” and how we think about our right to privacy often depends how the companies who are collecting our data from all these sources are using it – their purpose and intentions.


Watch the keynote in full

For example, if I use the data I collect from your wearable device or from the conversation you just had on your smartphone to predict you’re about to have a heart attack and then I automatically dispatch an ambulance that saves your life I’d like to think you’d be thanking me for my timely intervention. However, if I use that same data to adjust or terminate your health insurance policy before the attack takes place, thereby saving myself from having to pay out on your policy, then I doubt you’ll be so appreciative. Am I right or am I right? In both of these examples I’m stripping away your privacy but my purpose and intentions influence how you feel about that privacy “invasion.”

Now, what if I use the data I gathered on you to approve your mortgage loan, protect your family, or suppress your freedom, or decline your job application – what then, and millions of other possible utopian and dystopian examples …


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In this keynote I discuss just how far both your online and offline privacy have already been eroded, often in surprising ways, and the implications that that has for you and society at large.

Furthermore, as all of these exponential technologies improve, as the sensing systems around us become millions of times more sensitive and can pull secrets directly out of your head all of this is just the beginning, which in turn makes it more important than ever that governments understand the path we’re on, the capabilities of the technologies that are coming down the line, and put the appropriate regulations and policies in place to protect our rights. But, unfortunately for us, the majority of policy makers today live in the dark ages – even by Facebook standards – so the only thing you can be sure of is that organisations everywhere will be watching you …

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