Friday, November 18, 2011

Trade-off of the Day: business opportunity vs privacy.

After watching yesterday's Lunch Talk video, where Jeremy Bailenson warned against posting high resolution personal pictures on the net, I find this trade-off described in a recent NYT article lacking in imagination:
But facial recognition is proliferating so quickly that some regulators in the United States and Europe are playing catch-up. On the one hand, they say, the technology has great business potential. On the other, because facial recognition works by analyzing and storing people’s unique facial measurements, it also entails serious privacy risks.
The trade-off is false. You may not lose your privacy in a lopsided commercial exchange, but you will definitely lose your money. For example, according to Bailenson, once advertisers know your unique facial measurements they can construct a highly convincing social networking ad that dramatically increases the probability of you buying their product or service. It's very concrete money in your wallet that are at risk, not some abstract privacy rights. Having access to private information is one thing. Manipulating the information to gain psychological and business advantage is another.

tags: privacy, commerce, control, detection

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