A Sane Person’s Privacy Nightmare

A LinkNYC wifi tower. Photo by Billie Grace Ward, via flickr, some rights reserved.

At Slate today I examine the potential privacy nightmare posed by the emerging healthcare sector that wants to use data gathered from smartphone use to spot mental-health crises early and intervene before they get bad. The idea has huge potential for good — and for privacy disasters that could make the recent Equifax leaks look minor.

“You fucking dungeon!” the man, well behind us now, yelled one last time.

It was only later, when I tried to make sense of what he was yelling, that I realized that his cries voiced one of the most difficult and vital questions about how to use connected technology to aid the distressed. Who will have access to our most intimate conversations? In this man’s dungeon lurked a riddle.

A Sane Person’s Privacy Nightmare, Slate, Sept 25, 2007