Nanotech Database

Article Title:
The Implications of High-Rate Nanomanufacturing on Society and Personal Privacy

Rodrigues, Ruben

Journal Information:
Bulletin of Science Technology and Society
Vol. 26, Num. 1


The Constitution, while not specifically protecting a "right to privacy" does uphold protection from "unreasonable searches and seizures" by the federal government. Technologies push the boundaries of such protections, and Rodrigues lists cases which have done so in recent years. Nanotechnology may invade individual privacy in new ways -- particularly in improved surveillance, and in wearable detectors and sensors. The medical industry, too, may take advantage of new ways to gather data about individuals as will the military and Homeland Security. Furthermore, the mass manufacture of such devices will make is easy and cheap to conduct surveillance in fields and industries which previously found it prohibitively expensive to do so. Who is accountable for the misuse of such technologies? Rodrigues suggests new regulations could be needed. Among the options: block the technology entirely, simply allow the technology to make society transparent (according to Rodrigues, a less palatable alternative), make nanoscale devices more detectable, and expand existing regulations and regulate the distribution of nanotechnology. Rodrigues believes that "it will be possible to promote the benefits of high-rate nanomanufacturing and nanotechnology while minimizing any threats to personal privacy."