With emerging technologies, privacy and confidentiality of personal information is under assault, revealed an expert on IT laws. Eben Moglen, of Columbia Law School, founder of the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC), New York, and a long-standing Free software supporter, said, "A combination of the internet, Cloud and mobile devices, with data mining is emerging as a super machine that will soon know more about people than people themselves."
Moglen was speaking here at a session on 'Ethics and Emerging Technologies'. He said, "Mobile phones have become data-capture devices capable of capturing and uploading to the Cloud various user data such as location, browsing habits, shopping behavior, and even lifestyle information. It is likely that within the next one generation, entire behavioral aspects of humans will be transparent to such machines."
Moglen further added that on other fronts, such as military robotics, a 'robot infantry' will have profound ethical implications for the future. He said, "Throughout history, military forces have been guided by human values and ethics, but a non-human force may not be constrained by such ethical values while dealing with its victims. Significant changes are likely to happen in future, and the traditional notion of ethics of technology would be severely tested by this. The ethics of emerging technology will be the ethics of human privacy."
Mishi Choudhary, of SFLC New York and founder, SFLC India, said, "Many aspects of the digital lives of citizens are being monitored, and the end-user licenses that many of us accept without even reading them, actually gave the companies the permission to do so. The online behavior of billions of people are today visible to machines and to the companies that own them, and may be directly or indirectly influencing user behavior. All that has serious ramifications not just for commercial aspects such as online shopping, but even for democratic processes. This was one of the reasons why net neutrality was an important debate."
Satish Babu, director of the state supported ICFOSS, said, "Given the increasing role of software driven machines in the lives of people, it is important that people had control of such software. The only way to do this was through Free Software, which provided rights to the user community to use, study, modify and share the software that they used. It was therefore imperative that Free Software be mandated for use everywhere."