Privacy-Sensitive Tracking of Behavior with Public Information Systems: Moving Beyond Names in a Globalizing Mass Society

Privacy-Sensitive Tracking of Behavior with Public Information Systems: Moving Beyond Names in a Globalizing Mass Society

Chris C. Demchak (University of Arizona, USA) and Kurt D. Fenstermacher (University of Arizona, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-051-6.ch005
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Abstract

This chapter explores the roles of names and name equivalents in social tracking and control, reviews the amount of privacy-sensitive databases accumulating today in U.S. legacy federal systems, and proposes an alternative that reduces the likelihood of new security policies violating privacy. We focus on the continuing public-authority reliance on unique identifiers, for example, names or national identity numbers, for services and security instead of dissecting a better indicator of security threats found in behavior data. We conclude with a proposed conceptual change to focusing the social-order mission on the behavior of individuals rather than their identities (behavior-identity knowledge model, BIK). It is particularly urgent to consider a different path now as increased interest in biometrics offers an insidious expansion of unique identifiers of highly personal data. E-government can be wonderful for central government’s effectiveness and efficiency in delivering services while also being a disaster for both privacy and security if not regulated legally, institutionally, and technically (with validation and appeal processes) from the outset.

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