Property, privacy and personhood in a world of ambient intelligence

Ethics and Information Technology 12 (1):57-69 (2010)
Profiling technologies are the facilitating force behind the vision of Ambient Intelligence in which everyday devices are connected and embedded with all kinds of smart characteristics enabling them to take decisions in order to serve our preferences without us being aware of it. These technological practices have considerable impact on the process by which our personhood takes shape and pose threats like discrimination and normalisation. The legal response to these developments should move away from a focus on entitlements to personal data, towards making transparent and controlling the profiling process by which knowledge is produced from these data. The tendency in intellectual property law to commodify information embedded in software and profiles could counteract this shift to transparency and control. These rights obstruct the access and contestation of the design of the code that impacts one’s personhood. This triggers a political discussion about the public nature of this code and forces us to rethink the relations between property, privacy and personhood in the digital age.
Keywords Ambient intelligence  Data protection  Personhood  Intellectual property  Privacy  Profiling  Property  Transparency  Transparency enhancing technologies  Ubiquitous computing
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DOI 10.1007/s10676-009-9211-0
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Edwin C. Hettinger (1989). Justifying Intellectual Property. Philosophy and Public Affairs 18 (1):31-52.

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