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June 14th, 2007

Nanotechnology, surveillance and your privacy

Surveillance technologies could miniaturize to the point where privacy becomes an issue.

That's according to James Moor, a professor of philosophy at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, who specializes in the ethics of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology will someday enable all kinds of devices to become very small. That includes, for example, the radio ID tags that let you EZPass through a toll both, or let retailers track packages and inventory. Such tiny devices might create a privacy issue.

James Moor: At checkout you could simply scan it and it would have a total when you arrive, and they would know exactly which items had been sold. It's a privacy issue because you're gathering information in ways that people may not be aware of. Of course, that can change over time as the tech moves along people become more aware of what's possible.


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