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Building Trust 24 February 2015

Postal Services: The Future of Digital Trust? – Interview on Privacy, Data Ethics, and More

Robin Wilton
By Robin WiltonTechnical Outreach for Identity and Privacy

Last September I was invited to speak at the Universal Postal Union’s Post-Expo in Stockholm, Sweden. For an IT geek, the Expo had everything: carbon-neutral delivery vans, state-of-the-art posties’ bicycles, RFID-trackable mail crates, robot arm “parcel picker-uppers”, and – best of all – actual working automated sorting machines, where you could watch letters and parcels whizzing along on rollers and getting neatly slotted into the correct hoppers. It was the grown-up <cough> version of going to Hamleys toy shop in London, as a kid, and staring at their huge model railway layout.

However, they eventually dragged me away from those to give my keynote, which was about digital ethics, and the opportunity for postal services to innovate as trusted intermediaries and authoritative sources of personal data.

I must have done something right, because shortly afterwards the UPU followed up with an interview request for a piece in their Newsletter, Union Postale. The subsequent interview ranged far and wide, over topics like pervasive monitoring, harm as a privacy metric, trolling, the Internet of things, cross-border regulation, and the privacy impact of social media… but I think Vincent Landon, the journalist, did a great job of turning my ramblings into something very readable. You can find it on page 26 of the newsletter, here (pdf).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to look at a model railway catalogue…

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