Re: SOC: "The Reinvention of Privacy"

Date: Thu Mar 01 2001 - 15:39:44 MST

With all due respect to Greg, I think he failed to indicate the *really*
interesting aspect of the Atlantic piece he cited. Following the portion
Greg quoted, an unremarkable litany of the rising alarm over privacy, the
article continues:

"[S]omething very interesting is happening: the market for goods and services
that protect privacy is surging. Entrepreneurs are realizing that privacy and
technology are not fundamentally at odds—and that, in fact, expectations of
privacy have in large measure always been created or broadened by the arrival
of new technologies. People are coming to accept the notion that the
protection of privacy is a pervasive and lasting concern in the computer
age—and that, indeed, it may turn out to be the true enabler of the
information economy."

A long list of market-generated solutions to privacy follows that set-up.
The author's point--that market players stand ready to serve the demand for
privacy--merits celebration in its own right. But that same observation may
also have the legal effect of rendering new regulations unconstitution. For
that argument, see Tom W. Bell, "Pornography, Privacy, and Digital Self-Help
," 19 John Marshall J. Comp. & Info. L. __ (2000) (forthcoming; currently in
draft) available at <>.

In a message dated 3/1/01 5:49:16 AM, writes:

>Here's an interesting article from The Atlantic magazine (which seems to
>hit all the bases but Brin's:
>"New surveillance and information-gathering technologies are everywhere
>these days, and they're setting off all sorts of alarm bells for those who
>worry about the erosion of privacy. The result has been a clangor of dire
>predictions. Books have recently appeared with such titles as Database
>The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century (by Simson Garfinkel), The Unwanted
>Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America (by Jeffrey Rosen), and The
>End of Privacy: How Total Surveillance Is Becoming a Reality (by Reg
>Polls suggest that the public is gravely concerned: a 1999 Wall Street
>survey, for instance, indicated that privacy is the issue that concerns
>Americans most about the twenty-first century, ahead of overpopulation,
>racial tensions, and global warming. Politicians can't talk enough about
>privacy, and are rushing to pass laws to protect it. Increasingly, business
>and technology are seen as the culprits. "Over the next 50 years," the
>Simson Garfinkel writes in Database Nation, "we will see new kinds of threats
>to privacy that don't find their roots in totalitarianism, but in capitalism,
>the free market, advanced technology, and the unbridled exchange of

T.0. Morrow

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