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New Dimensions In Privacy: Spatial Privacy In The Geographic Information Age

3148 words - 13 pages

New Dimensions in Privacy:
Spatial Privacy in the Geographic Information Age

The conceptualization of privacy as a right in the United States has most decidedly been an evolutionary work in process throughout much of the 20th century. There is some indication, however, that it has been more of a revolutionary process than an orderly evolution. According to Berry and Linoff, (1997), "Now is the era of another industry revolution driven by data running through computers, networks and databases." The literature, including the legal press, academic journals, and the popular press argue that advances in spatial technology have become a major threat to individual privacy. However, ...view middle of the document...

Even though much of what has been proposed in the realm of direct invasion of privacy may seem to be untenable to the uninitiated, there seems to be little doubt that the technologies with spatial capacity will continue to escalate the perception of real and eminent threats for location privacy issues. Growth in the social, political and economic importance of the spatially-aware systems and the commodification of the products of these systems beg that the new generations of pervasive technologies must not only meet the many technical challenges but must also meet the social concerns.
As indicated, policy-makers, academics, and technology architects are grappling with these issues. Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has identified location privacy as an important issue precisely because of the lack of available materials detailing approaches to the problem (White, 2003). In order to devise appropriate and effective privacy policies for these environments it is vital that we accurately identify the consumers' perceptions of privacy... explicitly with location based or geo-technologies (Adams, 1999). These results will provide empirical data that should deepen the understanding of all interested parties (e.g. producers, consumers and policy makers).
The objective of this research is to investigate the penumbral issues surrounding spatial technology and to directly address consumers' perceptions and concerns about privacy in the spatial domain. Spatial privacy is of specific interest because of the developments that have been made in technology and the widespread diffusion of tools that can easily collect, store, and disseminate individually identifiable dynamic location information. To adequately address these issues it is imperative that certain concerns be investigated. This research will look at:
* The current perceptions and concerns of consumers toward the handling of personal spatial information by businesses and government.
* Specific concerns about the potential for privacy invasiveness of these spatial technologies.
* The effects on consumption, use and protective measures resulting from technological awareness - determining an actual level of technological awareness of spatial technology.
* What impact does the level of awareness have on the reported concern for these technologies?
* Given the perceptions and the concerns, what kinds of spatial privacy policies should those handling consumers' personal spatial information adopt?

Based on the many surveys from various sources of the past ten years the public has indicated that privacy is an important issue. As indicated by Bennett and Regan (2002), if privacy is not the defining issue of the next decade, (quoting the Canadian Privacy Commissioner) " is certainly an issue whose time has come." It is however not at all clear what the full breadth of the public concern for the issue of spatial privacy will elicit.
The public now lives in a computer-based society with a...

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