Recent reflection has prompted me to ask if quantum mechanics might help illuminate a path towards better dialogue about the Internet and data privacy in particular. Are network technologies tools? Or landscapes? Is the Internet a tool you use or a place you go? Perhaps the networked technologies exhibit properties of both, depending on the beliefs and perspective of the observer.
I consider this question in the instance of defining "personal data," and conclude personal data exhibits quantum properties in the following ways:
1) It can be in more than two places at once, or at least appear to be. The same data element can be both “private” (treated as confidential) and “public” at the same time.
2) The trajectory of data is not always subject to the same mechanical laws of physics that allow for relatively simple predictions of motion;
3) Data are “entangled”: one data element can be influenced by another unrelated and seemingly disconnected data element, even at a distance