Friday, December 7, 2012

Unforeseen consequences of re-purposed technology

When I first uploaded my photo to a web service like LinkedIn I never imagined that one day there would be facial recognition technology which means that anyone with access to my photo from a different context can pull up the information about me from LinkedIn.

And then link from there to other databases about me, once they have my name and other key information.

Now the UK Government is planning to join up records across a number of government-owned databases as an alternative to the scrapped Identity Card scheme. Links will be made between the Royal Mail, the Student Loans Company, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Education Department, the Welsh Government, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority and more.

This will prove a super way of authenticating claims to individual voter registration, and is apparently cheaper than the scrapped Identity Card scheme. And for the stated purpose of voter registration it's probably not controversial in a country where it's obligatory for voters to register, even if they don't exercise their vote.

However, how will this technology be unexpectedly re-purposed in the future?
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