Re: Transparent Society

Wei Dai (
Thu, 6 Nov 1997 17:05:40 -0800

On Wed, Nov 05, 1997 at 11:48:08PM -0800, Damien R. Sullivan wrote:

> } I don't know how David Brin proposes to achieve his transparent society.
> } It does not seem like a future that is reachable from the present. I think
> Actually, Brin posits that it will simply happen, driven by technology.
> Cheap, small, mobile cameras; quantum computers; advances in cryptanalysis.
> For city streets the cameras are already here. I think some place may
> have put recorders on its police cars, as well.

Even if these technologies are invented, how does Brin propose to prevent
the following things from happening?

1. Privacy becomes more costly so only the rich and powerful will have
privacy. They will be able to afford private messenger services, houses in
the country, bug-proof offices, etc.

2. Those who control the surveillance technology/infrastructure will use
it for their own purposes instead of giving it away to everyone. Are we
supposed to expect the government to install all these cameras and then
allow everyone to use them? Who is going to pay for all of the
cryptanalysis and why would they then give away the plaintext?

It seems to me advocating a transparent society has the effect of making a
surveillance society much more likely while not greating affecting the
likelihood of a transparent society which is very small to begin with.