This morning the New York Times online's technology section looks like a war zone. Most of the articles, both produced by the NYT and aggregated by their affiliated blogs, focused on conflicts over technology, either between consumers and producers, the government and producers or producers vs. each other.
Last year I co-wrote a technology assessment about credit cards, writing that the three biggest tradeoffs at the consumer frontier of electronic information are privacy, security, and efficiency. To differentiate between privacy and security, privacy is the idea that your electronic identity is not shared with third parties, whereas security is the idea that the transaction will not be compromised (why you trust Amazon.com more than a shady website with graphics from the 1990s). You can read some of project partner and my musings about credit cards here.
As electronic technologies advance, the trade-offs between these three concepts cause friction that can lead to lawsuits or federal regulation. So let's take a look at the headlines related to privacy, security, and efficiency of electronic technologies:
- An iPhone That’s Cheaper, but Fake
- AT&T Customer Wins $850 in Data-Throttling Case
- Not just Google: Facebook also bypasses privacy settings in IE
- White House, Consumers in Mind, Offers Online Privacy Guidelines
- Homeland Analysts Told to Monitor Policy Debates in Social Media
- Chinese Computer Games: Keeping Safe in Cyberspace Keeping Safe in Cyberspace (paywall)
- Behind the Google Goggles, Virtual Reality
- Selecting a Seatmate to Make Skies Friendlier
- Why It’s So Hard to Transfer Cash to Your Friends
In addition to the half-dozen headlines related to battles over consumer privacy, security, and efficiency, there are the disputes between companies over intellectual property, copyrights, and trademarks.
- Flickr disables Pinterest pins on all copyrighted images
- Amazon Pulls Thousands of E-Books in Dispute
- Microsoft Files Complaint Against Motorola in Europe
- Apple Case in Shanghai Is Suspended
- The Week the Cloud Won
So... maybe I should drop out of grad school and become a patent lawyer?