As part of my job, I worked with sociologists at the
University of Toronto on network privacy and other
issues. Although there is much talk of privacy no one
including sociologists has a good idea of what the
issue really is. It seems to be a phrase that is used
to capture many concerns.
One clear finding in research done there is that most
people are completely indifferent to the issue of
disclosure of personal information on the web. It is
not that they support or oppose privacy issues, it is
that they do not care. They see the issue in terms of
potential harm that could be done to them. They report
that they find it highly unlikely that anyone would be
interested in their information so they do not care if
it is gathered or not. This was found for subjects
across age ranges, education, network experience etc.
This is an important issue because the potential value
of the network seems to depend on its ability to
identify the preferences, location, activity, and
other information about users. Only in this way can
the network adapt to the user and offer services
beyond the rudimentary. Most people according to the
research do not object to the gathering of this type
of pervasive information.
I am now creating a report describing a medical
application in which the availability of personnel
were tracked. Nurses and doctors were given wireless
communication devices. The system was able to
accurately locate users and provide indications of
their availability. In one instance, a pediatric
hospital required two psychiatrists to be on call at
all times with each supporting an individual floor.
This was required because a psychiatrist could not be
located in the required time in any other way. With
the locator technology, only one psychiatrist was
required to be on call to achive the same response
time. The system was also used to report the general
availability of resources (expensive equipment given
their own RF beacons) and people (both staff and
patients including confused patients given to
Supposedly there is general enthusiasm among staff for
systems such as this.
I find the text below illustrates one of the other
issues that I believe is contained in the catchword
privacy. This is the issue of identity. What I found
in my own work is that a personís identity is a
composite of multiple social roles. The required
behavior in each of these roles can be mutually
contradictory. For example, one could abruptly end a
meeting with a student to attend to another task but
to abruptly end a meeting with oneís supervisor would
to be career limiting. Any pervasive system must be
capable enough to accurately fulfill the needs of all
of the roles that comprise each individual userís
identity. If a system uses to coarse classifications,
it can not support a userís specific needs and will
indeed cause offense. The system will be requiring the
user to adapt to it and provide no benefit to
compensate for that. It will be rejected as indeed the
NY Times registration system seems to be below.
I suppose that this is just a way of saying that
network media have moved far beyond what Mcluhan
--- Richard Seddon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Dear List
> "Robinson Jeffers wants cyber access to the New York
> Let's see now. They'll keep my privacy.
> Good! I'd hate to lose that.
> Zip Code????? We'll come back to that.
> Household Income???
> Job Title?? What am I?
> I'm that Hawk soaring over Tor House!
> I need enough air to soar.
> No more than that.
> Back to the warm rooted earth, Robin.
> I've been a poet in the morning and
> a mason in the evening but most of all
> I've been that Hawk soaring
> Writer/editor? Never, never an editor.
> Skilled laborer then.
> I have labored long and hard at
> words and stones and
> well at both. My labors last.
> What Industry? Well
> Not academia for sure
> I've provided a few jobs there.
> Not that they seemed to learned much.
> Not allowed in
> The New York Times World.
> Homemaker. That will do.
> Job Function?
> Soar in the lifting air? Please!
> What a boring confining list!
> There is nothing here
> to do on your own. Everything
> has humanity involved.
> Women and men everywhere.
> Groups of men. No man alone.
> I want to soar on my own
> in the air over and among the trees.
> My job title then is "skilled laborer"
> In the Homemaking industry and
> My function is an "other"?
> The New York Times
> Isn't for Hawks.
> Maybe for Quail, but
> Not for Hawks.
> Soaring in the lifting air,
> And then resting among the roots.
> That is for Hawks.
> Rick Seddon
> McIntosh, NM
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