Friday, December 28, 2012

"Human intuition about what is private is not especially good"

--- privacy researcher Frank McSherry, quoted in a Simons Foundation survey of differential privacy, Privacy by the Numbers: A New Approach to Safeguarding Data by Erica Klarreich, December 10, 2012

Quote in context:
“We’ve learned that human intuition about what is private is not especially good,” said Frank McSherry of Microsoft Research Silicon Valley in Mountain View, Calif. “Computers are getting more and more sophisticated at pulling individual data out of things that a naive person might think are harmless.”
The piece also discusses the exhaustible nature of privacy; a database can only support a finite number of queries before any pre-determined amount of privacy is lost. As McSherry put it, “Privacy is a nonrenewable resource. . . Once it gets consumed, it is gone.”