Hyper-Public-conference-logo.0.jpgJackson Heights, New York, May 25, 2011 - On June 10 we’ll be participating in a most important conference: Hyper-Public: A Symposium on Designing Privacy and Public Space in the Connected World. For a glimmer into the corporate world’s concerns about the issues to be addressed, read this email  responding to an inquiry by Google’s founder Larry Page:

“I cannot stress enough how important Google’s wifi location database is to our Android and mobile product strategy,” Google location service product manager Steve Lee wrote. “We absolutely do care about this … because we need wifi data collection in order to maintain and improve our wifi location service.”

Or imagine - as Google and Apple and Microsoft and Verizon and AT&T and VISA and Master Card are doing - what it will be like as we are identified in public spaces, with our mobile buzzing and beeping us about nearby marketing “deals.” And beyond marketing, there are a multitude of civic and livability issues necessitating our corralling this new technology, as hinted at in the event’s official description:

Hyper-Public: A Symposium on Designing Privacy and Public Space, hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, will bring together computer scientists, ethnographers, architects, historians, artists and legal scholars to discuss how design influences privacy and public space, how it shapes and is shaped by human behavior and experience, and how it can cultivate norms such as tolerance and diversity. (See conference details here.)

One can fantasize about rejecting the new tech, but to do so will have consequence equivalent to rejecting credit cards or EZPass. (See Opt-Out Google.) But the reality is that our primary communication device is moving into our pockets, and if we don’t get involved with that object’s design, we’ll be little more than an audience.

There’s no indication the conference will be streamed, but if you’ve got questions or suggestions, post them below or email our director. In the days after the conference we’ll conduct a long overdue update of our wiki’s privacy and security and community and trust pages. Stay connected.

[NOTE: Circumstances precluded our attendance at the event.]

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

  1. Assaf Biderman - Within the Internet of Things context, would a transparent universal tagging regiment help?

    Comment by Thomas Lowenhaupt on May 29, 2011 at 11:12 pm

  2. Beatriz Colomina - Architecture and the grid.

    Comment by Thomas Lowenhaupt on May 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm

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