On a recent visit to Washington, D.C., I had a series of meetings with people charged with helping the rest of us understand how technology is making life more livable. It is an essential strategy for those companies hoping to keep legislators’ eyes elsewhere. In particular, at a time when government surveillance and corporate data mining are stories being told daily, popular understanding of how much information is being created is not leading to popular acceptance.
For companies, consumers and their governments caught up in these stories, previous points of outrage like mobile device tracking capability and online behavioral advertising seem quaint. For legislators, surveillance technology shreds citizens’ (read: voters’) privacy. For consumers, big data makes the personal way too public. For government, the combination of the two — collecting and mining vast amounts of data — the task is to see but not be seen. More»