May 26, 2022

Video: UC Berkeley’s Incoming University Librarian, Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, on Why Privacy is Doomed

Jeffrey MacKie-Mason will begin his new job as UC Berkeley’s University Librarian and Chief Scholarship Officer on October 1st.

From UC Berkeley News:

Surveillance and privacy are waging a full-on arms race as technology advances, says Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, UC Berkeley’s incoming university librarian and chief digital scholarship officer. And surveillance is winning.

Speaking Wednesday (Sept. 23) at the School of Information, MacKie-Mason warned that in a developing world of “radical transparency,” everyone “should get used to the fact that we can’t count on any information about ourselves being private.”

He based his conclusions on an economic analysis of the relative costs of privacy and surveillance, and on estimates of the trajectory of technological advances in both areas.

From a Text Summary the Presentation:

The key issue is the growing scale of our information networks. As our private information is spread wider and wider in more places, there are more points of vulnerability.


And de-identifying or anonymizing our data isn’t the answer, either. “A lot of important information can’t be de-identified,” he points out. “And even if it is, the more information we have, the easier it is to re-identify someone. And we’re collecting exponentially more about everyone all the time.”


The bottom line is that we’ll soon be living in a world of “radical transparency,” MacKie-Mason believes — probably in our lifetimes. “We should get used to the fact that we can’t count on any information about ourselves being private.”

Read the Complete Text Summary of Jeffrey MacKie-Mason’s Presentation


1. Listen to Presentation (.mp3)     

View Presentation

See Also: From Michigan to California: UC Berkeley Names Jeffrey MacKie-Mason University Librarian (June 13, 2015)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.