The end of Privacy

Jim Barnebee (
Sat, 27 Jun 1998 14:16:13 PDT

Pardon me if this is not completely timely. I get the digest version
of the list once a day.As such, I would appreciate any responses be
cc'ed to me at

While I agree that the governmental systems that are currently
invading our privacy, and will increase in doing so, are problematic,
they are the knee-jerk reaction of people who believe in power-over. The
Heinlein quote is "Any society populated enough to require ID's is
headed towards decline". It's very true. I believe you will see magnetic
strips, centralized Databases, infobuttons (see dallas semiconductor),
smart cards, and soon, DNA scans and chip implants. Given the state of
most industrialized societies (especially amerika (sic)) it is
inevitable that the government will attempt to restrict, and track what
freedoms are afforded to the masses. The purpose of a government is to
restrict individual freedoms to insure societal continuation. Given the
heterogeneous nature of American society, more governmental restriction
is an inevitability.

Fortunately, we (I include the members of societies such as
extropians) are not the masses. Any system that can be designed by
people, can be overridden by people. If you are concerned that you might
be one of the individuals in an upcoming pogrom, do something about it.
Encrypt everything. Join the EFF or other groups dedicated to preserving
privacy in the system. Write (continuously) to people in power critizing
them for their actions which hurt privacy in the system, and
complementing them for making appropriate decisions. As a last resort,
expatriate yourself to a country or place with strict privacy laws.

It is necessary to realize that most of the individuals making
decisions (particularly in America) don't have a through understanding
of the issues involved in building an information society/economy. {Newt
Gingrich has his email printed out so he can read it, and he is one of
the most cyber-savvy on the hill}

As we change from an industrial to an information society, the
socioeconomic stratifications of the society are changing from the
have/have nots to the knows/know nots. Given that this is true, the
knows group is going to be the focal group of any power structure
wishing to control the society. To quote an old friend of mine, Daniel
Glesenkamp "Be uncomfortable: be sand, not oil, in the machinery of the
world". As extropians, transhumanists, et all, we are all aware that all
of life is (should be) based on conscious decisions of will. If you
disagree with things that your government is doing, work to change it,
or work around it. As much as repressive totalitarianism frightens me,
the American government is not one at this time, and mechanisms do exist
to make your voice heard, especially for the cyber-savvy. Use them. If
you truly feel that this is unattainable or counter productive, utilize
the resources available to us to change your situation so that your can
be perceived to conform while preserving the privacy you so crave.
Heinlein again (paraphrased )--Rubbing blue mud in your belly button, if
that is the societal norm, may be necessary. You don't have to believe
in it--.

The bottom line is that most of us are smarter than most of them.
That implies power. If we utilize this empowerment to create power-with
in our society, the tantalizing possibility exists to create a utopia
rather than a "Brave New World".

I'm sorry if this has been a bit long winded, but I couldn't
resist getting up on my soap box on this one.

Jim Barnebee

BTW- My DSS and PGP public keys are available at my website.

"The future has arrived; it's just not evenly distributed."
-William Gibson

Jim Barnebee
e-mail :
By US Code Title 47, Sec.227(a)(2)(B), a computer/modem/printer meets
the definition of a telephone fax machine. By Sec.227(b)(1)(C), it is
unlawful to send any unsolicited advertisement to such equipment. By
Sec.227(b)(3)(C), a violation of the aforementioned Section is
punishable by action to recover actual monetary loss, or $500,
whichever is greater,for each violation. All nonsolicited
commercial E-mail sent to this address is
construed as being sent to a fax machine and subject to a $500 fine.

Get Your Private, Free Email at