Tech on privacy: offender or defender?

Friday, 11 April 2003, 7:27 PM EST

For example, video surveillance could be made more palatable if it worked more like an episode of "Cops," with people's faces blurred out. Only if a crime occurred would the more detailed images be made available. Massive databases designed to root out terrorists, meanwhile, might feel less intrusive if the actual names associated with the information being gathered were kept in a separate file that required a warrant or other authorization to access.

These were among the ideas that came up during a gathering of 150 academics and researchers this week at IBM's Almaden Research Center here to explore ways of protecting privacy amid an explosion in the amount of personal information that is being tracked electronically.

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