26 March 2010

Private lives

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Private lives
Our personal details are used everywhere. And it’s more easy to share, mine and exploit them than ever before.

This new report by the UK think tank Demos is an up-close and personal investigation into how people feel about the use of their personal information. The British public might not be as reserved as we like to think.

The database society is not inherently good or bad. The best we can hope for is that it is as democratic as any of the institutions, markets, and regulatory and legal systems that exert power over our lives. The rules governing information use will determine our power as individuals in the database society and the powers that the state, businesses and other people have over us. As the infrastructure of the database society passes through a formative stage, it is important to understand more about the use of personal information is understood by the people it affects.

Democratising personal information does not only mean giving people a voice in the debate. It means finding better ways of listening to what they say. This pamphlet is about what people think about the use of their personal information. It sets out the findings of Demos’ ‘People’s Inquiry into Personal Information’, revealing the opinions and ideas expressed over 13 hours of deliberation. The inquiry demonstrates how to engage in the conversations that bring personal information decision-making closer to the people it affects.

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