Bob Barr, formerly a member of the House of Representatives and the Judiciary Committee, recently published an editorial on FindLaw asking the questions “Can We Protect Our Privacy Through Legal Solutions? Or Is Technology Now Beyond Our Control?” He points to three key evolutions in technology that threaten privacy:
Three technological shifts account for the today’s new paradigm on the privacy front: size, speed, and threat. …The combination of shrinking size of storage space, and immensely increased speed of sending and retrieval, now means that literally anyone with a computer and a phone line can become a data warehouse, limited in size only by the number of bytes their hard drive will hold.
Barr’s insights match up well with how the theory of “privacy as contextual integrity” focuses on shifting norms of information flow.
Barr’s conclusion is also worth noting:
There are real, pragmatic solutions to this challenge, and we should implement them as quickly as possible. More important, perhaps, we should demand that the Congress forego its standard, knee-jerk, headline-grabbing mode, and engage in a deliberative, long-term, substantive process to address the clear and present danger posed by recent instances of data theft.