RE: Brin on Privacy

David Musick (
Mon, 16 Dec 96 07:20:03 UT

I agree with Mr. Brin that it would probably be best for everyone if we could
all keep an eye on each other, so that we could especially watch those who
have a great deal of power, so that we can be aware if they are planning to do
anything dangerous to us, so that we can take action to stop them. I sort of
agree with his point that not having privacy is a good thing. However, what I
have not read from Mr. Brin is *how* we can realistically prevent people from
having high levels of privacy, especially the powerful. How can we stop
people from using encryption? The people who are conspiring against us are
the ones who will most desire privacy and secrecy, but I don't see any
realistic way of preventing them from attaining a sufficient level of secrecy
to keep their conspiracy private. Advanced encryption is profoundly difficult
to even detect or crack. How do we stop the powerful from developing and
using such technologies? How do we even know that they are using such
technologies? Sure, we can voluntarily refrain from keeping our own affairs
private, but how can we ensure that *everyone* does this? Mr. Brin, are you
advocating *forcing* everyone to be public with every detail of their lives?
Or are you just hoping that everyone will see the sense you argue in not
having too much privacy and willingly avoid being secretive? What about those
who have a real interest in keeping their affairs secret, such as the
powerful? What are you proposing to do about them?

Mr. Brin, you preach the virtues of a society without privacy. I would like
to hear your plans for actually implementing this idea. It's one thing to
argue that your idea is a good idea, and it's quite another thing to actually
have concrete plans to implement the idea. I don't see how your idea can be
implemented. Do you?

- David Musick

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