[Tfug] ISO: UofA (or other) professor concerned with privacy issues

Bexley Hall bexley401 at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 7 12:02:56 MST 2013

Hi Yan,

On 9/7/2013 1:16 AM, Yan wrote:
> Are you specifically looking for local people or just people in general
> that are doing research in that area? Also, specifically professors, or
> graduate students as well?

Local is preferable in that I could, potentially, sit down over
"coffee" and interactively discuss issues instead of the slow
motion that accompanies email/forum exchanges, etc.  I've engaged
some people "via email" but its slow going.  A lot of these issues
quickly leave you in a blind alley -- unable to figure out which
direction to head off in.

Not even looking for folks "doing research" but, rather, folks
"keenly interested" in the subject -- so they have thought about
it in more than just a cursory manner.  And, have the "skillsets"
to be able to follow that sort of thinking "down the road".

E.g., I am interested in solving the problem of hunger around
the globe.  And, I've thought about it more than "just cursory".
But, I haven't the skillset to know how to think about it more
than enough to be frustrated by my INability to adequately
identify the causes and potential remedies.  So, I'm ineffective
at that goal.

I suspect there are folks who are similarly frustrated regarding
"war", "inequalities", "cancer", etc. -- and incapable of doing
anything more than "fret" over these issues.  "Write your congressman".
"Get plenty of exercise".  etc.

Wrt privacy, you can naively assume that the "solution" is to *just*
pass legislation that *protects* privacy (whatever *that* means).
In practice, that's like saying we've "solved" the murder problem
because we've made murder illegal!  :-/

(Actually, its far more insidious than that as murder is pretty hard
to hide!  :>  OTOH, I can gather "personal" information about another
party and you'd be hard pressed to *prove* I had done so!  Or, fully
understand the "advantage" I had gained in doing so!)

When I was in school, we had courses like "The Socioeconomic
Consequences of Computers and Technology" (paraphrasing).
Issues that straddled the "humanities"/"technology" fence.
I guess I was hoping something like this might still be part
of today's curriculum?  (OTOH, I know absolutely nothing at
all about what/how the UofA teaches)

Sherry Turkle's name comes to mind but I think she approaches
these sorts of issues more from a philosophical angle than a
*practical*/engineering one.  I think I need to find folks a bit
more "paranoid" as that would imply "motivated"  :>

I'm more than willing to chat with folks you think would be
interesting/interested.  But, I've found this is one of those
REALLY HARD problems to address.  Each person that I've approached
has been distressed by how *little* they've grasped the nature
of the problem ahead.  Or, too naive in their idea of a
solution ("make it illegal", "release the source code", etc.)

PM if need be.


More information about the tfug mailing list