Technology UQ conference discusses privacy concerns with big data

UQ conference discusses privacy concerns with big data

A public forum organised by the University of Queensland’s Mark Andrejevic and Mark Burdon this week discussed the implications of society’s rising use and dependence on interactive tech.

Leading experts on privacy, including the The Hon Michael Kirby, Federal Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim and international speakers from leading American universities, this week considered the control of information and ‘big data’, and how it will be used in the future.

Big data and sensors have lead to technological advancements to help us better understand our world and ways to keep us safer. For example, a carpet predicting where we’re likely to fall, early warnings for chemical attacks using a mobile phone, or monitoring air quality, traffic flow and fish migrations.

The darker side, shows a concern for ‘smarter’ technology which monitors our every move, predicts behaviour and even our moods. Who is keeping this data and what’s it being used for?

The primary concern of the forum was who or what might control and decipher the truly staggering amount of data produced by humans every day – 2.5 quintillion bytes, or the equivalent of 250,000 Libraries of Congress. It’s far too much for humans to comprehend.

“These issues need serious consideration because it is clear there is no going back. Sensors and the forms of data mining they enable are now an embedded part of our lives and they will be more so in the future,” Dr Burdon said.

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