From Westworld to the Rest of the World: Time to Regulate the Mining of Third Party Data |

You do not have control over your ideas, your passions, or even your DNA anymore. Your biological material and your ideas may be taken without your awareness of it. You do not need to consent anymore, for people to take the products of your body or mind. This fact was highlighted in the Season 2 premiere of HBO’s Westworld, a show that echoes many of our high tech, dystopian fears of AI, robotics, and humans relieved of their civil veneer.

Before the show premiered in 2016, their website had a hidden “Terms of Use” for anyone who expressed interest in visiting the fictional park (a great marketing gimmick). According to Slate, under section 7(b):

“The terms state that once you enter Westworld, the company “controls the rights to and remains the sole owner of, in perpetuity: all skin cells, bodily fluids, secretions, excretions, hairsamples, saliva, sweat, blood, and any other bodily functions not listed here.” What’s more, it reserves the right to “use this property in any way, shape, or form in which the entity sees fit.””

In the latest premiere, we see a faceless drone swabbing the genitals of a robot (yes, robots have genitals in this world; a robot who presumably entertaineda human guest). The drone then sequences the sample’s DNA. What the terms of use suggests is that this amusement park is collecting biological samples from guests along with information about where they went and what activities they engaged in. As one of the main characters says, ““Are we logging records of guest experiences and their DNA?”” Since the right to do that is buried in the Terms of Use, the answer to that question is yes.