“People who say that tracking their fitness or location is merely an affirmative choice from which they can opt out have little knowledge of how institutions think. Once there are enough early adopters who self-track—and most of them are likely to gain something from it—those who refuse will no longer be seen as just quirky individuals exercising their autonomy. No, they will be considered deviants with something to hide. Their insurance will be more expensive. If we never lose sight of this fact, our decision to self-track won’t be as easy to reduce to pure economic self-­interest; at some point, moral considerations might kick in. Do I really want to share my data and get a coupon I do not need if it means that someone else who is already working three jobs may ultimately have to pay more? Such moral concerns are rendered moot if we delegate decision-making to ‘electronic butlers.’”

Evgeny Morozov, in MIT Technology Review, on the future of big data, privacy and what it means for democracy. Read more from Tech Review.


Photo: gauravonomics, Flickr

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