Essays on Science and SocietyPERCEPTIONS OF SCIENCE ESSAY

Privacy and Property on the Net: Research Questions

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Science  05 Dec 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5651, pp. 1686-1687
DOI: 10.1126/science.1086471

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The Net, which consists of the Internet plus the parallel networks of commercial and military data communication, raises serious issues of personal information vulnerability and ownership of intellectual property. Peer-to-peer sharing of music files over the Internet, for example, challenges the existing system of copyright. Counterterrorism "data mining" systems hunt for signs of suspicious activity across vast databases of information about people who do not wish to be spied upon. This Essay advocates research by social and information scientists to clarify many such issues.