Amitai Etzioni - Yes - Issue 16

Amitai Etzioni - Yes - Issue 16 - Know Techn Pol (2007)...

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ORIGINAL PAPER Are New Technologies the Enemy of Privacy? Amitai Etzioni Received: 15 February 2007 /Accepted: 15 April 2007 / Published online: 9 August 2007 # Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007 Abstract Privacy is one good among other goods and should be weighed as such. The relationship between technology and privacy is best viewed as an arms race between advancements that diminish privacy and those that better protect it, rather than the semi-Luddite view which sees technology as one- sided development enabling those who seek to invade privacy to overrun those who seek to protect it. The merits or defects of particular technologies are not inherent to the technologies, but rather, depend on how they are used and above all, on how closely their use is monitored and accounted for by the parties involved. In order to reassure the public and to ensure accountability and oversight, a civilian review board should be created to monitor the government s use of surveillance and related technologies. Proper account- ability requires multiple layers of oversight, and should not be left solely in the hands of the government. Keywords Luddite imagery . Surveillance society . E-ID An Arms Race Versus a Luddite Imagery The relationship between privacy and technology should be viewed as akin to the relationship between security and technology or prosperity and technology rather than approached from a Luddite perspective. However, much of the literature on privacy follows this second track. It depicts various technological developments, such as electronic databases, comput- erized searches, and surveillance instruments, as attacks on privacy (for some of the latest writings on technology as eroding privacy, see Whitaker 2000 ; Garfinkle 2000 , and for more reasoned examinations of privacy and technology, see O Harrow 2005 ; Solove 2004 ). Indeed, the more alarmist accounts speak of a surveillance society and the death of privacy. Although these alarmist critics recognize that there is no way to turn back the clock to a pre- digital age, they bemoan the rise of privacy-invading technologies criticisms similar in tone and terms to the complaints that the Luddites lodged against the development of industrial equipment, from the loom to the steam engine, in the nineteenth century. And like the Luddites, today s critics have, thus, sought to curb these technological advancements if they cannot be eliminated altogether. Before showing that such critics misunderstand the relationship between privacy and the new technolog- ical developments of the digital age, I should reiterate a point that I have spelled out elsewhere: Privacy is Know Techn Pol (2007) 20:115 119 DOI 10.1007/s12130-007-9012-x A. Etzioni ( * ) School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Gelman 703, 2130 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20052, USA e-mail: etzioni@gwu.edu
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merely one good among many others (Etzioni 1999 ). It always has been and needs to be weighed against
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This note was uploaded on 08/31/2011 for the course STS 302 taught by Professor Nkriesbert during the Summer '08 term at N.C. State.

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Amitai Etzioni - Yes - Issue 16 - Know Techn Pol (2007)...

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