6 “Scary Stuff” Privacy Terms IT, Info Sec and Privacy Folks Should Know

Robert Ellis Smith sent me an email yesterday to let me know about his most recent article in Forbes magazine, “Scary Stuff.”
It’s a very interesting read and highlights some terms that, to date, I have not seen in print that much. However, they are some terms that information security, privacy and IT pros needs to acquaint themselves with:

* ambient technology“: “refers to an environment in which electronic devices support human beings in their daily activities in a way that conceals the computers’ inner workings. This will involve embedding tiny chips inside the body, customizing them to the individual and anticipating needs of the individual.” A few months ago I saw a news show talking about the growing numbers of people that are embedding chips in their arms to use to automatically unlock their car doors. Is your company using anything like this? Do you know?
* “ubiquitous computing“: “European officials are using terms like ubiquitous computing and pervasive or invasive computing.” I’ve seen this term used many times within technical journals and university research papers. However, it is noteworthy that it is now a concern of law makers…they are starting to see the related privacy issues. Is your company using invasive computing technologies? Do you know?
* “ingest¬≠ible bugs“: “an RFID identifying chip that may be swallowed by humans” UGH! Eww…This must be for fairly short-term monitoring.
* nanotechnology: “a miniaturization of technology allowing applications originally deemed impossible.” True, this is not a new term. However, as Smith points out, it is being used more widely by governments and lawmakers. Most companies are probably using some type of this technology.
* “biobanking“: “in the words of an IBM developer, ‘aims to empower researchers with unprecedented access to critical molecular and clinical information to accelerate a more personalized paradigm of medicine.'” This is very intriguing. It has great potential for both good and bad privacy impacts. If you’re a healthcare company, do you know if you’re using this?
* “uberveillance“: “Michael G. Michael, a theologian and technology historian at the University of Wollongong, in New South Wales, Australia, says that he originated the term uberveillance to describe the new environment. The stem “uber” means “over” or “super” in German. He thinks the pervasive monitoring will lead to increased cases of insanity and mental distress.” Have you seen any symptoms of this in your organization?
Think these terms, that are not already in the dictionary, will make the Merriam Webster new word list this year? 🙂
Smith’s article is thought-provoking and will likely make you think about how your own organization is planning to use new technologies that impact privacy. Especially if you have customers or employees in countries outside the U.S., where it is reported these terms are being used more widely than within the U.S.

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