latsot
lookatthestateofthat.com

I'm Latsot, also known as Rob Smith, a computer scientist at The University of Leeds, where I work on privacy, particularly in public service mashups and healthcare.

We often have to make privacy bargains when we access services: we have to give up private information for some percieved benefit.  For example, the price of entering a competition might be divulgance of contact details or agreeing that our data can be sold. 

One problem is that humans are notoriously bad at making privacy bargains. We don't have a very good intuitive grasp of the value of our privacy. Another is that companies and governments want to collect and exploit as much data about us as possible. They tempt us to give them our data with the promise of shiny things and of course once we release it, we lose control over what's done with it.

My work is about building technical infrastructure to help people make more informed decisions about the privacy bargains they make and helping them to manage how their data is shared and used.  Fun, isn’t it?

I’ve considered myself a skeptic and an atheist for more than 30 years.  I’m one of those horrible atheists who likes to tell believers that they’re wrong and tell people who say nice things about religion that they probably shouldn’t. But that’s OK because I’m also one of those horrible skeptics who thinks the movement should care about social justice as well as UFOs and Bigfoot.