Privacy in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing

Jason I. Hong
UC Berkeley Group for User Interface Research

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University March 5, 2004

In 1991, Mark Weiser described his vision of "Ubiquitous Computing", a world in which computation and communication would be invisibly enmeshed in all aspects of our everyday lives. Advances in sensors and wireless networking are taking us closer towards this vision, enabling us to gather and share information at unprecedented levels in real-time. A simple example of this is E911, where 911 emergency calls are augmented by the caller's current location. A more radical version of ubiquitous computing was portrayed in the recent movie Minority Report.

However, while there is great promise in terms of safety and efficiency, there are numerous concerns about privacy in such a world. In this talk, I outline some ongoing work in privacy and ubiquitous computing that our research group has been investigating. This includes surveys and interviews we have done to understand the nature of people's concerns, some pitfalls we have encountered in designing for privacy, and some applications we have been developing that make it easier for people to manage their personal privacy.

Jason I. Hong is a Computer Science PhD student in the Group for User Interface Research (GUIR) at the University of California at Berkeley. His research interests are in Human-Computer Interaction, specifically in sensor-based context-aware systems, multimodal interaction enabling richer kinds of input and output, information technology and privacy, and applications for streamlining emergency response. He is also an author of the book The Design of Sites, a pattern-based approach to designing customer-centered web sites.


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