Your physical private space, Internet of Things and Humane Technology

as a first very brief introduction to the topic: my work/research focuses on the triangle architecture-technology-dwelling. Rephrased: what are the consequences of increasing technology, e.g. the internet of things, to our private space and to our basic human values? We know private space - our home - as a protected area, as a place to be free, unwatched, contrary to public space. At the same time many (media)technologies and the it transform this spatial privacy into some hybrid space; an architecture as interface. Can we (re)think architecture - the adaptation of space to human needs - as an adequate answer to our need for privacy or redefine our spatial privacy.?


Mmm… topic a bit foreign to me, but would venture to say that our private and intimate space got invaded by technology. We own so many devices that can wake up on our pronouncing certain keywords, start recording audio, and upload those records to third parties.

Therefore, our private space is no longer private. Suggest adding a Faraday cage, where our devices will be securely locked up, lest they resume spying on our activities. No more Alexa please.

Yes, this is a very good topic for Humane Technology investigation!

Internet of Things is another of those technologies that are still in its infancy, and have huge potential to be introduced in ways that are not all that beneficial to us. Currently most IoT devices are security nightmares - there is no security-first mindset among developers - and oftentimes very, very invasive to privacy.

Mozilla recently started collecting gadgets with “Privacy Not Included” on a special naming & shaming page. See Privacy is fundamental to Humane Tech (and Democracy)!

In your home - Alexa’s and Siri’s apart - stuff is installed at build-time, where people are unaware that they infringe privacy, like smart thermostates. These things can record exactly what devices you are using. When your TV is on or off, how often you turn on your washing machine, etc. Just one example.

Same is true for smart lighting systems, Ring door systems, etc.
The lack of security creates a Valhalla for hackers.

@mpot it would be very interesting to hear some of your views and insights in this area!

(PS. I changed the topic title to make it more descriptive and easier to find).

@anon51879794, one of the main problems here is fact that in most European countries our private space is a legally protected space, So it is one out of two: either way we keep protecting that space, or we change its ontology. See.g. the EC’s Onlife Initiative in 2013: it is vital that we maintain a difference between public and private space. I do not have any moral judgment on both, but recognize the options for fundamental change in how we define and create private space. The whole development so far is based far to much on technological issues only; see for a more ethical framework the VIRT-EU project.

1 Like

Nevertheless, the issue is we’re being tricked, duped or even forced into “agreeing” to share the most intimate information about each of us. People don’t realise that when they sign up for a new service, they’re giving companies unlimited permission to spy on them, and to give information about them to an unlimited number of third parties, including governments, who have the right to keep and redistribute this information for all of eternity.

I would say the digital era requires new human rights that did not exist in the past, such as information about a person being given property rights, non transferability, guaranteed security, and a very limited rentention time after which deletion is required. Each piece of information about us should also be required to have a tracking id attached, so we can track people who are tracking us.

agreed; see/listen to what e.g. Jaron Lanier says about this…let companies etc. pay for your personal data.

1 Like

Note that we had a discussion about this before: Should we officially amend the Human Rights charter to account for tech?

1 Like

the human right to housing is in the UDHR; but I believe it says nothing on how to ensure its privacy and how this is defined. In the Netherlands anyway this originates in possible physical entry; not in some ‘digital’ entry. See e.g. :
Worth wile checking…will do so.

1 Like

Yes, that is a good point. We both need privacy rights for our physical homes with regards to ‘digital infringements’, as well as rights for our ‘digital homes’ that exist on the internet.