In his importance of privacy speech, Alessandro Acquisti notes that with the advent of the Internet, the public and private spheres of one's life are no longer easily distinguishable. Acquisti discusses why recent facial recognition technology and social media data make for a dangerous combination, citing a study that proves it is possible to match a face with publicly available information, and from that, go on to infer non-public information.
Acquisti cautions against a “future without secrets,” suggesting that greater information will not necessarily make us immune to biases. He maintains that transparency laws, while important, are not sufficient in protecting privacy because they can be misdirected by big businesses. If this model continues, he warns that organizations will have so much knowledge about us, they will be able to infer our needs and desires before we even form them.
Though we benefit from technology advances and social media – which provide us with free content – it is important to regain our sense of autonomy. According to Acquisti, big data does not have to come at the cost of privacy.