A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a great lecture by Mireille Hildebrandt at LSE on profiling. I have since found this great paper that describes the profiling practices. Moreover her lecture linked this into privacy the DPA deficiencies in this area, and also offline profiling that includes RFID, sensor technologies, etc., thus turning the offline world online!

Imagine a biometric behavioural profile such as a ‘smart car’ that knows when you get tired. A ‘smart car’ that either refuses to start or pulls over to the side of the road when it detects this. What about a ‘smart home’ that detects your needs based upon your behavioural patterns? I think she called this ‘environment profiling’ that anticipates your needs maybe even before you do yourself. In order to do this the environment must know enough about you in order to be able to make decisions for you, this means the collection of personal data -either knowingly or unknowingly- using online or offline technologies…..

So what does that mean to us? Simple, choice is taken away, our environment anticipates for us what we need or should need. I wonder if this means that in the future our children could develop with a reduced capability to make decisions, if simple daily choices disappear? Maybe this is nothing, and could be compared with the use of the pocket calculator and the reduced capability of my generation and beyond for mental arithmetic? However I do wonder if children in 20 years time will understand what it means to have privacy?