Online Privacy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

 Nisha Pandey
  Dec 07, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the power to gather and analyze data from multiple sources at a scale and level that is unprecedented. It has enhanced information-gathering power like never before. But this also brings with it a concern for privacy. The growth of AI has sent out positive signals in different industries. To the consumer, it means opening up new avenues for storing your personal information. Different types of devices are becoming smarter because they have access to more data.

Artificial Intelligence

Imagine AI’s capabilities in an era when it can process vast data sets, pick out patterns, and apply the patterns to make predictions. AI is entering into an area where the line between data collection for useful purposes and invasion of privacy is no longer clear.

AI & Privacy

There are 3 different areas that have been addressed by AI for information gathering:

  • Speed
  • Automation
  • Scale

AI is already faster than any human beings in carrying out computations. It can become even faster by leveraging the power of more hardware. It has also emerged as the most effective technology for processing big data in an efficient manner. Eventually, it can carry out tasks without the need for human intervention. And this means it is capable of having an impact on your privacy in so many different ways. If you want to protect your online privacy, it is recommended to rely on something much more than your anti-malware software. Something like should help encrypt your data and hide your identity whenever and wherever you go online.

Identify & Track Users

AI is capable of identifying and monitoring people on different devices. Personal data is typically anonymized. However, AI can decode anonymized data by analyzing it and making inferences about user location and behaviour from multiple devices. It can study patterns whether you are at home, work, or elsewhere and identify you as a specific user. So no matter what the laws say, AI can identify and track you.

And the level of identification doesn’t just stop at your behavior and location. The technology can also identify you based on your voice and facial characteristics. These capabilities can compromise your privacy in the public domain. Imagine government agencies, especially law enforcement, being able to find and locate you using facial or voice recognition systems without reasonable cause or suspicion and without going through proper legal procedures.

Make Predictions

Imagine someone being able to predict your political views, which you desire to keep secret, based on your online activities, location, and other relevant metrics. AI relies on advanced machine learning algorithms to analyze information and make predictions that can stun any human being. Besides your political views, it may also be able to infer your sexual orientation, your healthy, and other sensitive personal information that you may not want to share with others.

Profile People

Artificial intelligence is also capable of categorizing people based on many factors. And this can be done without you ever giving your permission. The technology can sort, classify, rank, or score people based on the information it has gathered and the predictions it has made. This information may then be used for limiting your access to social services, employment, credit, or other essentials.

Nowhere to Hide

Artificial intelligence is all about optimizing data to achieve desired goals. Machine-learning algorithms undergo regular training while evaluating the massive volume of datasets from humans. The goal of the training is to predict different aspects of human life. The future of AI-based technology means an era of ever-present surveillance and cognition. It can prove to be a disruptive force, the impact of which can get amplified in the technology is not regulated.

You can expect to see increased integration of AI systems into all aspects of your life including your:

  • Home
  • Workplace
  • Gadgets
  • Your own body

In fact, it is not the widespread application of AI technology that is the problem, but the privacy-security threat that arises out it that creates concerns. An interconnected system based on AI is going to optimize all aspects of your life. This includes your personal data, financial data, your face, your environments, and even your emotions, your medical, and even your genetic data.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will always be there in the background, always capturing data and optimizing it. Whatever way it will be used, it is going to be a threat to your privacy and security. Today, the general masses don’t have the understanding or ability to realize the risks posed by this threat to privacy.

Impact on Free Expression

Machine-learning algorithms are already having an impact on your life. And it is mostly taking place without your knowledge, control, and/or understanding. Social media sites, search engines, other technology companies, and even governments are using AI to keep an eye on hate speech, false news, and all of your online user activities.

From apps to modern home appliances, every software enabled system today is capable of generating and processing your data. And AI can have access to this data, as all these smart systems are interconnected. You can never know how much data is being shared by your smart devices and appliances. Thus, online privacy has become a major concern in this era of artificial intelligence. If you want to protect your data, you should use reliable systems that themselves don’t pose any potential threats.

Author Bio:

Nisha Pandey is a certified SEO professional and experienced blogger specializing in the field of IT and technology. Her blogs are focused on keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in the field. Visit her new blog.

Online Privacy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Nisha Pandey

Nisha Pandey is a certified SEO professional and experienced blogger specializing in the field of IT and technology. Her blogs are focused on keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in the field. Visit her new blog.

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