Privacy / Security

Privacy and technology: How simple photos are leading to full profiles of ordinary people

We’re no longer just strangers in a crowd. Imagine any street corner in any Bay Area town where, let’s say, four people — Alexandria, Larry, Cory and Cameron — are lost in private thought.
Without a single conversation, without even knowing their names, we could learn that Alexandria’s angry ex-boyfriend posted her photo on a “revenge porn” website. That Larry is mourning the death of his daughter. That Cory is trying to scrub her image from friends’ social networks. That Cameron picked the wrong place to hide from police.
In each case, a simple photograph of the four strangers, combined with the power of data, opens the door to deeply personal details. That’s one of the many ways digital technologies are turning our once-personal lives into a global show-and-tell and redefining our expectations of privacy — the subject of the latest installment in our series on how technology is transforming our lives.

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