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Policy Issues
In the News

ITIF's Atkinson Appears on PBS Special Discussing Privacy Implications of Nanotechnology


April 08, 2008

In a new 3-part series, PBS explores how nanotechnology will change our world. Part 1, “Watching You, You Watching Me” taped at the Museum of Science, Boston, features a panel discussion moderated by John Hockenberry, Emmy and Peabody winning correspondent, NPR and NBC News, and including Rob Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Description of the show: Many security applications rely on information technology. The use of nanoscale features means that the distance information must travel within a computer is vastly reduced. The smaller the distance, the more rapidly information can be processed, opening the door for faster, better, and cheaper computers. Nanotechnology will allow convenient sensor surveillance and tracking technologies anywhere in response to our desire for security. Almost anyone could use many of these new technologies. Their applications run the gamut from keeping track of granddad on his more befuddled days to tracking teen buying behavior, to identifying and checking background on possible terrorists as they enter an airport or visit a “critical” part of a major city.

The hypothetical situations presented in this seminar confront us with issues society must address concerning the use of these technologies for security. Who gets tracked? Who has the right or authority to engage in such activities? Must those watched or tracked be informed? Who has access to the information? How do we take advantage of the benefits of these powerful new technologies, while exercising our right to decide who can share the personal details of our life? In this seminar, panelists, including ITIF President Rob Atkinson, wrestle with these knotty but essential issues.

Broadcast times vary around the nation, but include:

  • Boston/Springfield WGBY-World Fridays, April 11 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Denver KRMA Sundays, April 13 at 1:00 a.m.
  • Los Angeles KLCS Mondays, April 14 and 21 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Philadelphia WHYY Wednesdays, April 9 at 1:00 a.m.and WHYY Sunday, April 20 from 1:00 – 4:00 a.m.
  • San Francisco KCSM Wednesdays, April 9, and 16 at 9:00 p.m.
  • Washington, DC WETA Sunday, May 25 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Click here for more information and web video