From public data to private information: The case of the supermarket

In Maria Bottis (ed.), Proceedings of the 8th International Conference Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiry. Corfu, Greece: Nomiki Bibliothiki. pp. 500-507 (2009)
Authors
Vincent C. Müller
University of Leeds
Abstract
The background to this paper is that in our world of massively increasing personal digital data any control over the data about me seems illusionary – informational privacy seems a lost cause. On the other hand, the production of this digital data seems a necessary component of our present life in the industrialized world. A framework for a resolution of this apparent dilemma is provided if by the distinction between (meaningless) data and (meaningful) information. I argue that computational data processing is necessary for many present-day processes and not a breach of privacy, while collection and processing of private information is often not necessary and a breach of privacy. The problem and the sketch of its solution are illustrated in a case-study: supermarket customer cards.
Keywords privacy  data  information  big data  data protection
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