Rider surveillance poses threat to LGBTQ privacy
June has come and gone, and the absence of most Pride parades, parties, and other public demonstrations of solidarity with the LGBTQ community is palpable. These Pride events have become annual reminders of the progress we’ve made in the 50 years since the Stonewall riots. And yet, despite daily advancements in the fight for LGBTQ equality — namely the recent Supreme Court victory on workplace protections under the Civil Rights Act — we cannot rest on our laurels and must remain vigilant against policies that could take us backward.
Where can progress still be made? It’s not just in the courts, legislative chambers, or other government bodies. Businesses and corporate institutions also yield significant influence in shaping policies and public perceptions around LGBTQ issues. The tech industry, in particular, often goes unnoticed in terms of its significance to the LGBTQ community and what it can still achieve. Though significant challenges and concerns remain, and new unexpected tech-specific issues have arisen, especially around online privacy and safety and too many LGBTQ individuals being on the wrong side of the digital divide, many difficult aspects of growing up LGBTQ continue to be ameliorated thanks to technological innovation.
Unfortunately, the widespread adoption and proliferation of technology can also be dangerous to our community, especially when wielded by government entities with little or no oversight. Algorithmic discrimination, facial recognition and encryption are just some of the areas where we are disproportionately affected. Another emerging area of concern for the privacy of LGBTQ individuals is a data collection tool called the Mobility Data Specification (MDS).