Date: Wed Jul 11 2001 - 12:24:20 MDT

Lee quoted Spike:
> I say to hell with privacy (my own, not other people's).
> Dont flinch, dont blush, live open, upload, share the files
> with anyone who cares to read them. spike

And responded:
>I'll add that it is something that we easily could get
>used to, and I think that we'll be better off for it

I don't disagree with this point of view, but it's a long-term view as far
as I can tell. As I've said repeatedly in discussions on this topic, it's
the short term that concerns me in this discussion. We can't get to our
grand and glorious future except by surviving the short and medium term.
Right now, many people are getting burned because society's institutions
assume some things are secret, and that whoever knows the secret is the
person who should have access to an account. Since privacy is being
eroded, the wrong people have access to too many things, and as a result,
assets are being stolen, credit ratings are being sullied, and all manner
of other bad things are happening.

When we get to a society in which people understand how much care has to be
taken to identify the rightful owner of something, or to correctly identify
someone in order to store information about a transaction, and they
understand how much reliance it is reasonable to place in those records,
we'll do fine.

The two things I'm most concerned about are (1) the backlash from people
who are afraid of progress or uncomfortable with transparency (because
their world view is based in recent past ability to protect privacy), and
(2) the kinds of regulation those people will impose in order to keep the
privacy situation from getting worse (in their view). It could get
seriously draconian in the medium term, and could make it very hard to work
on some of the kinds of things we favor.

Too much celebration of transparency, especially in terms of inevitibility
and "you'd better get used to it, 'cause you won't be able to stop it" will
fan the flames and make the backlash worse. I've been trying to find ways
to get the people I talk to to consider the possibility that change might
happen and think about whether that future would be acceptable. So far, I
have had inconsistent successes. Other than people who already "get it" on
most subjects, throwing transparency in people's faces hasn't worked for me.


Chris Hibbert                 protecting privacy in the computer age is            like trying to change a tire on a moving car.             --Colin Bennett
Yahoo Instant Message: ag_cth

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