McNealy -- Get over it, Part Two (was Re: BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 05/30/2001)

Arnold G. Reinhold reinhold at
Thu May 31 08:38:09 EDT 2001

At 10:10 AM -0400 5/30/2001, R. A. Hettinga wrote:
>At 9:01 AM -0400 on 5/30/01, BNA Highlights wrote:
>> Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems, who earlier stated that
>> there is no privacy and that people should get it over it,
>> now claims in a Washington Post editorial that absolute
>> privacy policies are disasters waiting to happen, writing
>> that the private industry has done a pretty good job so far
>> of regulating itself.
> >

Scott writes: "I have agreed to let my car company, for instance, 
track my every move through GPS satellites. Some people might 
consider that an invasion of privacy, but I find it comforting to 
know that, should my air bag deploy, they know where I am and can 
send help."

Why is it necessary to track a car's exact location at all times just 
to know it's position when the air bag deploys? The radio that send 
the message "Air-bag deployment on car US CA 9XYZ123"  can simply 
include a position report. Yeah, it's a few more bits, but the radio 
had better be pretty survivable if I'm going to rely on it for crash 
reporting and, anyway, the cellular system that receives the message 
can do a location check as well.

Another benefit Scott suggests to compensate me for letting myself be 
tracked is the ability to be told of nearby restaurants and other 
services, based on my preferences.  But again, why not just let me 
push a button that says "I'm hungry" and send out a position report 
then? Why do I have to be tracked 7/24?

Arnold Reinhold

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