Privacy is doomed, warns incoming university librarian

Surveillance and privacy are waging a full-on arms race as technology advances, says Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, UC Berkeley’s incoming university librarian and chief digital scholarship officer. And surveillance is winning.

Jeffrey MacKie-Mason

Jeffrey MacKie-Mason

Speaking Wednesday (Sept. 23) at the School of Information, MacKie-Mason warned that in a developing world of “radical transparency,” everyone “should get used to the fact that we can’t count on any information about ourselves being private.”

He based his conclusions on an economic analysis of the relative costs of privacy and surveillance, and on estimates of the trajectory of technological advances in both areas.

A pioneering scholar of the economics of the Internet and online behavior, MacKie-Mason officially assumes his post at Berkeley next week (Oct. 1). Previously, he served on the University of Michigan’s faculty in information, economics, and public policy, and was dean of Michigan’s School of Information for the past five years.

Click to read a full account of his talk at South Hall. You also can watch a video of the presentation or listen to a podcast of it.