RE: FYI: MEDIA & Greenpeace

Hal Finney (
Thu, 5 Dec 1996 16:15:57 -0800

From: Crosby_M <>
> BTW, David Brin's latest novels (recently finished the brand-new
> _Infinity's Shore_, second book in a trilogy) explores this mentality as
> embodied in a religion that sees the Path of Redemption to be a return to
> pre-sapience.

I wonder if we will see David Brin begin to push this notion on his own.

Normally I would not suggest that a character's (or even a culture's)
views would mirror the author's, but in the case of Brin I am not so
sure. He wrote a book, Earth, which had a society which was built on
the premise that privacy was bad. I thought it was an interesting if
unlikely concept. (Actually it didn't seem that effective in the book,
since many of the key events did take place as a result of secrecy.)

Now Brin himself has come out seriously proposing that privacy is evil,
and that we should restructure society to prevent it! He has an article
in the December, 1996 issue of Wired magazine pushing this idea. He
believes that privacy and anonymity shield criminals, that they allow
misbehavior by powerful elements in society, that they are more available
to the rich than the poor and therefore are a destabilizing influence.
He is also, as a result, against the use of cryptography and similar
technologies to protect privacy.

I exchanged a few letters with him on this topic two years ago, but neither
of us managed to change the other's mind. I think it is such a totally
misguided notion that it was hard even to find ground to discuss it.

It's possible that his writing technique involves such a detailed
visualization of the society that he is describing that he can't help
but begin to adopt the mores and customs he is writing about. If so,
maybe in a couple of years Brin will become an advocate of the Human
Degeneration movement.