The University of Southampton

New book looks at the end of privacy

Published: 21 April 2008

A new book by two ECS academics considers the changes in our private and public lives that have been caused by pervasive computing and the Web.

In the book,'The Spy in the Coffee Machine (The end of privacy as we know it), the authors Dr Kieron O'Hara and Professor Nigel Shadbolt of ECS consider our new state of global hypersurveillance. They suggest that as we increasingly resort to technology for our work and play, our electronic activity leaves behind digital footprints that can be used to track our movements. In our cars, telephones, even our coffee machines, tiny computers communicating wirelessly via the Internet can serve as miniature witnesses, forming powerful networks whose emergent behaviour can be very complex, intelligent, and invasive. The question is: how much of an infringement on privacy are they?

Exposing the invasion of our privacy from CCTVs to blogs, Dr O'Hara and Professor Shadbolt explore what — if anything — we can do to prevent it from disappearing forever in the digital age.

The book is published by Oneworld Publications.

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