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Security and Privacy. Too Much Concern or Not Enough

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Security and privacy. Are we too concerned... or not concerned enough? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. At the beginning of the year, Microsoft launched a new push for what it calls trustworthy computing. The digital age has made it easier than ever to collect and store all kinds of information about individuals. Microsoft wants to ease public concerns about who has access to that information. But the man in charge of the initiative... Microsoft's chief privacy officer Richard Purcell says where the line should be drawn is not always so simple to determine...

"What we have seen in terms of customer behavior is pretty contradictory in many ways. If you ask any consumer, any person in the marketplace, if they're concerned about their privacy they'll say yes. Yet at the same time, you offer them a small discount on their groceries if they sacrifice a lot of personal information when they shop, they'll also say yes. So, where's the beef of the privacy concern in the marketplace. And we think it's about control and autonomy rather than distancing themselves from all data collection whatsoever."

And controlling all of that personal information becomes even more complicated when computers are involved...

" You and I may be able to establish a trust relationship as people. How to we get our machines that communicate with one and other to establish trust with one and other. And that's a very large question that we're working very hard on."

And Microsoft may have a hard time convincing some people that it is part of the privacy solution... and not part of the problem.