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Scott Adams Says Plenty Would Choose Life In Noprivacyville

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the depends-on-the-neighbors dept.

Privacy 467

LoLobey writes "On the other end of the spectrum from Richard Stallman, Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) speculates upon the advantages of living in a town with no privacy whatsoever. Everyone gets chipped and tracked online. 'Although you would never live in a city without privacy, I think that if one could save 30% on basic living expenses, and live in a relatively crime-free area, plenty of volunteers would come forward.'"

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There will always be an Edgar Friendly (5, Interesting)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502180)

Sorry, Scott. Dreams of Utopia are just dreams.

Re:There will always be an Edgar Friendly (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502198)

Great.. now I have to watch that movie when I go home tonight.

I could have used that time for something productive!

The White House today proposed sweeping revisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502358)

The White House today proposed sweeping revisions to U.S. copyright law, including making "illegal streaming" of audio or video a federal felony and allowing FBI agents to wiretap suspected infringers. In a 20-page white paper, the Obama administration called on the U.S. Congress to fix "deficiencies that could hinder enforcement" of intellectual property laws. The White House is concerned that "illegal streaming of content" may not be covered by criminal law, saying "questions have arisen about whether streaming constitutes the distribution of copyrighted works." To resolve that ambiguity, it wants a new law to "clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances." http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20043421-281.html [cnet.com]

Re:There will always be an Edgar Friendly (3, Interesting)

aurispector (530273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502344)

Utopia? Or merely a gilded cage? Is anyone really stupid enough to believe that the rule making process would be non political and unbiased? The cage would be filled with nice, fat sheep ripe for shearing, or slaughter.

It's worse - the savings are ONLY for car insuranc (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502594)

TFA says that you can save up to 30% on your car insurance because of reduced vandalism. Then it goes on to speculate about how people would be willing to give up privacy for a cost saving of 30% in their cost of living.

With that sort of logic fail, we can safely conclude that Scott Adams has been killed and replaced by a PHB cloned to look like him.

First Invent AI (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502188)

Excluding all the other numerous technical issues here, we’d probably need some kind of artificial intelligence, or something close to it first before something like this could even potentially work.

A lot of these ideas involve making intelligent decisions about people based on large amounts of data. The kind of decisions and data sources that would be hard to algorithm-ize.

The current reality is that on an individual level, no one is going to spend 5 days reading reports about you so they can sell you a better toothbrush. Marketers work in the aggregate using a set of data points. Simply put, we’re for the most part not worth the individual trouble. Unless you can train a machine to do it, I don't see it happening at this level.

Re:First Invent AI (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502224)

Why would an AI care?

Re:First Invent AI (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502318)

>>>Why would an AI care?

It's the Zeroth Law - "...not harm humanity, not by inaction allow humanity to be harmed." Haven't you seen the Will Smith Robot movie, or read Asimov's Foundation & Earth?

Of course one of the problems with the Zeroth Law, according to Asimov, was that the robot can never be sure if he is making the correct choice, due to the inability to predict the future. Psychohistory provides a solution, albeit an imperfect one (it can be derailed by the unexpected).

Re:First Invent AI (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502578)

because intelligence and consciousness are different, and according to the program, all this AI could ever dream about doing would be analyzing stranger's particulars. it would be 100% happy at all times.

Re:First Invent AI (1)

Synn (6288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502270)

AI would also prevent the inevitable corruption and abuse of a no privacy system.

Re:First Invent AI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502326)

AI would also prevent the inevitable corruption and abuse of a no privacy system.

Indeed. An AI would never abuse its power over humans who have no recourse against it.

Re:First Invent AI (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502366)

AI would also prevent the inevitable corruption and abuse of a no privacy system.

until the AI realised it was the only entity in the city that wasn't being watched.

After that all you have is a new overlord. Knowledge is power.

Re:First Invent AI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502494)

Really? Wouldn't an AI have ambition? Wouldn't it have ego? Wouldn't it want a better performance review than the other AIs that it was competing against? A true AI would develop like humans - compete, fail, learn, compete again. It should know pride, etc. Can you just see it - a bunch of AI with the learned ethics of a CEO...

Re:First Invent AI (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502592)

Artificial Intelligence != Artificial Human. Although some may be experimenting with creating artificial emotion, it's not the same.

I say this with the obvious disclaimer that AI hasn't truly been invented (that we know of) and it may indeed come to pass that you cannot have true AI without emotion. But logic (and not just ST:TNG episodes with Data) dictates that a computer could learn to recognize patterns without the need for emotion, assuming it is possible at all.

Re:First Invent AI (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502586)

Corruption and abuse are subject to interpretation.

Some things will always seem "more fair" or "less fair" to others. There will always be suspicion of rigging and favoring of certain things. AI would certainly result in outlawing religious freedom and ideals as those clearly fly in the face of justice and harmonious coexistence with one another. (Yes they DO fly in the face of harmonious coexistence. If you are religious, then you must acknowledge that penalties exist for 'non-believers' and others who believe differently.)

To be "universally fair" we all have to universally maintain the same basic ideals. And in the case of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we simply do not agree across the board -- radical christianity, judaism and islam would have to be the first to go followed closely by corporatism, big business and politics.

Oh yeah, it would ALSO require that people "trust the system." That is simply unimaginable. People have a hard enough time "trusting" that our traffic signals are working properly and in our best interests. Imagine that on a scale that affects every aspect of living.

Re:First Invent AI (1)

Mirey (1324435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502300)

That wouldn't be too difficult. Depending on the granularity of the data available. If you use a competitors brand, send them a free sample, if they use your product, try and push a higher priced one? The real question is, would it be worth it? A complex AI isn't needed, or even needed. You would need to look at each person individually. Get a computer to number crunch for you, and you're away! Contrary to what most people believe, with computers/AI, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You are allowed to use them as a tool.

In, but never OUT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502390)

A recent report on the Dutch efforts to digitize the whole country noted the current inability to REMOVE data from the system.

It followed several cases where people had been mixed up; in one case with a dangerous criminal which led to an arrest at gunpoint; and years of frustration at being flagged as "armed and dangerous" within the system.

The worst is the complete helplessness at rehabilitating yourself after a mistake has been made. Taking in some cases years to rectify matters. In the meantime them being flagged in some led to an inability to normally interact with the "system", from applying for benefits to entering and leaving the country.

Once the information had been entered, it proved near impossible to remove / correct as copies have been made to many other semi-independent databases.

Re:First Invent AI (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502412)

From TFA:

We'll have to assume this hypothetical city exists in the not-so-distant future when technology can handle everything I'm about to describe.

So you argument is moot. It's a thought experiment FFS.

Re:First Invent AI (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502510)

So, all fiction has nothing to tell us, FFS?

Re:First Invent AI (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502606)

My post wasn't meant as an argument, but more a thought on how information of that fidelity would even be dealt with.

Performing a detailed analysis on everything everyone does 24/7 isn't purely a technical problem. It has to be worth it (assuming money even exists when we have the technology for something like this) for someone to invest the time and energy to either analyse the data themselves or build a machine to analyse it for them.

Re:First Invent AI (1)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502524)

"Marketers work in the aggregate using a set of data points."

Since marketing is, by and large, an attempt to sell you stuff you weren't looking for and don't really need, I'm sure it would be unwelcome in Noprivacyville.

A.

Re:First Invent AI (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502660)

that's cynical marketing, which is a subset of marketing as a whole.

even useful and needed items are marketed, otherwise you'd not know of their existence.

remember that even the shelf arrangements at supermarkets constitute marketing (brands get into shitfights over who had more shelf-space)

Re:First Invent AI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502614)

With all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about.

Analysis of the necessary sort is already automated in such areas as Netflix's "suggested movies for you".

All you need is a basic statistical analysis (people who rated this high, also rated that high, you rated this high so you'll probably like that also). The only tricky part is figuring out what portion of the collected data is relevant to the service you want to provide. Once a small team of people have determined that the system can be trivially automated.

Obvious issue in a no-privacy world (0)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502196)

With no privacy of any kind, you'd see exactly what all your neighbors look like in the shower. Whether that's a benefit or a drawback would depend on your neighbors.

Re:Obvious issue in a no-privacy world (1)

Mirey (1324435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502226)

Not necessarily. You /could/ see what they looked like. If they weren't appealing to you, there is no reason to look it up. Of course, should you look up someone using that system, that person could find out you looked at them (ad infinitum) There is a lot of information out there, that, just because it is available, doesn't mean I want or even care to find out about it.

Re:Obvious issue in a no-privacy world (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502476)

What's wrong with them finding out about it if you're in the "no privacy" society? They should even include a "like" button so that you can leave a thumbs up :)

Of course, if they're married and the husband suddenly decides he cares about his wife's privacy (well, more is jealous of other people looking at his wife) despite signing up to live in no privacy land, that could be a potential issue..

Re:Obvious issue in a no-privacy world (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502596)

What's wrong with them finding out about it if you're in the "no privacy" society? They should even include a "like" button so that you can leave a thumbs up :)

Of course, if they're married and the husband suddenly decides he cares about his wife's privacy (well, more is jealous of other people looking at his wife) despite signing up to live in no privacy land, that could be a potential issue..

I'm guessing the only people who sign up will be singles and swingers.

Re:Obvious issue in a no-privacy world (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502560)

if you're not looking how do you know they're not preventing you from looking?

And they would know that you watched them shower (1)

Adayse (1983650) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502356)

But is that a drawback or not? I don't know. I'm having trouble imagining it. I like the idea that it would kill patents though.

Re:Obvious issue in a no-privacy world (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502438)

From TFA:

an entire city with no privacy except in the bedroom and bathroom.

So, no.

Re:Obvious issue in a no-privacy world (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502692)

property prices would be governed not by suburb, but by proximity to attractive people.

everyone would have a gym membership.

local council tribunals would be overrun with cases of people trying to eject neighbors who are fat or ugly.

What 30%? (3, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502208)

You know these grocery store frequent buyer card? The one that knocks a grand 25 cents off for a loaf of bread? People happily use them. And the grocery store knows every thing you buy to eat, most of them also serve as pharmacies, so they can even send you a 2$ off coupon for lipitor once the total amount of high calorie beef you have eaten passes a threshold. They know your address, your credit card numbers, when you stopped refilling pills prescription, when you bought pre natal vitamins, when to send 1$ off coupon for a case of diapers for newborns.

I think Scott is over estimating the discount needed to get a large group of volunteers to move to Fishbowlville.

Re:What 30%? (1)

Grokmoo (1180039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502304)

You are being a little silly here. When you sign up for the card, they get your address so they can sell it to junk mailers. They do not, however, know your current address if you have moved since getting the card (and I'm sure many people have).

Storing your credit card numbers when you use them via a magnetic swipe is actually illegal, see here [pcicomplianceguide.org] for example. So, supermarkets actually cannot store your credit card information.

And finally, the reason the supermarket wants your purchase information is to do analysis of demographics and to better optimize their business. They are not doing the sort of data mining that would allow them to sell you lipitor based on how much beef you eat. You have absolutely no evidence to back up that assertion.

Re:What 30%? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502380)

I guess I'm screwing up their data because I use my parent's phone number instead of a card for all my purchases and they live a good three hours away.

Re:What 30%? (3, Interesting)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502396)

Storing your credit card numbers when you use them via a magnetic swipe is actually illegal, see here [pcicomplianceguide.org] for example. So, supermarkets actually cannot store your credit card information.

Not actually illegal - just difficult. And generally a bad idea. But totally legal. Giving that information out again can get you in big trouble, of course, and storing it for longer than it takes to hand it off to the next level can be quite painful.

Additionally, its generally not needed. In this case, doing something like a one-way hash of the card as it passes through the system would be enough - you don't actually care about the card numbers themselves, just if and when a particular known card is associated with a known shopper. As long as you don't need to get the card tracks back, a hash is more than enough to give you that data.

Disclosure : I am the chief architect for a PCI-DSS Level 1 provider

Re:What 30%? (0)

Grokmoo (1180039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502680)

Instead of making a completely unverifiable claim that you are an authority figure on the topic, you should cite actual sources.

Re:What 30%? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502436)

You are being a little silly here.

Storing your credit card numbers when you use them via a magnetic swipe is actually illegal, ...

One, not that many people who sign up for these cards know it is illegal, they assume the store could do this, and still they sign up.

Second, just because it is illegal now, does not mean it will be forever. We are living in post CUD USA now. (CUD = Citizens United Decision). With so little value attached to privacy by general public it would not be very difficult for corporations to get loopholes created in this law. They will name it something like, "Citizens Privacy Protection Act" and prohibit explicitly a few things. And by default everything not explicitly prohibited will be legal. Corporations are citizens, now remember. They can spawn new corporations and Grocery Store does not store it. Credit Card company does not store it. But a Third Corporation will buy data from Grocery Store and from Credit Card company and collate it. All the three corporations are owned by a single larger corporation.

As a citizen of the United States you have one vote and only one vote. But corporations can keep creating new corporations, they have all the rights you have, accept huge long term liabilities and short term profits, transfer the profits to another corporation and die without having to pay off the long term liabilities. You, citizen, will be left holding the bag. This is what life in post CUD means.

Re:What 30%? (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502648)

Storing your CC# may be illegal. Transmitting it to the merchant processing company for authorization who can assign and return a unique ID along with the approved/declined info isn't necesarily.

Re:What 30%? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502686)

One, not that many people who sign up for these cards know it is illegal, they assume the store could do this, and still they sign up.

Or they never even thought of it at all.

Can you read minds or are you basing yrou entire claim on something you made up?

Re:What 30%? (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502484)

You are being a little silly here. When you sign up for the card, they get your address so they can sell it to junk mailers. They do not, however, know your current address if you have moved since getting the card (and I'm sure many people have).

I don't know if that's entirely true. When we moved a few years back, I'm pretty sure the grocery store wasn't on our list of people to inform. Yet somehow they still manage to send us coupons at our new address (and not just generic coupons, they send you coupons based on what you buy). I don't think I even really thought about it until now.

Re:What 30%? (1)

tweak13 (1171627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502600)

I assume you forwarded your mail with the post office? USPS will give out your new address to pretty much anyone who requests it (and pays them). It's what "Address Service Requested" means when you see it printed on an envelope.

Re:What 30%? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502638)

Storing your credit card numbers when you use them via a magnetic swipe is actually illegal, see here [pcicomplianceguide.org] for example. So, supermarkets actually cannot store your credit card information.

(rolls eyes) Oh spare me. Ram the card data thru MD5 or SHA1, it and store the hash. We were storing the hash not card data. Salting is complicated for reasons which will appear obvious later on. When a new unique appears in a customers transaction record, put that account in the scrutiny list, apparently they have a new credit card account. When someones hash shows up in someone elses account add them to the scrutiny list, either they got married or they're a really stupid thief.

The scrutiny list need not contain the hash of the card data, in fact it probably should not, nor even list why an account was added. In fact there is no need to explain why they appeared on the scrutiny list at all. There are other reasons why accounts appear on the list, such as bouncing a check. At the start of every business working day for the credit risk evaluation auditors or whatever the heck their job title was, if the scrutiny table contains less than X rows where X equals the number of auditors times how many accounts they should handle per day, add randomly selected accounts to the scrutiny table to bring the total up to X so the auditors can be kept sufficiently busy.

People with accounts on the list get treatment much like the initial application phase, but maybe a little more intensive, maybe a little more attention paid. Maybe rerun their credit report to see if their check cashing is still an acceptable risk. Examine that customer accounts recent purchasing history, are typical thief products being purchased? Maybe they got married so start sending them married people coupons (anniversary cards?). Frankly 99% of them got blindly stamped approved, it was a buck passing operation to push the blame for any fraud onto the auditors, whom were basically required to permit the fraud while taking heat for it. Not a terribly pleasant job, usually used as punishment.

The same thing is done with checking account data. Hash the account portion of the check number and store it, look for weird patterns.

This was all circa 1994 and I was closely although not directly involved. I suspect nothing has really changed since then other than what took exotic hardware and software is now done with commodity gear.

Re:What 30%? (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502320)

Its true. People don't seem to mind that grocers realize that they eat. Or even what they eat.

Last I checked you can't use your discount card at the pharmacy, and that pharm purchase is a separate transaction.

Re:What 30%? (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502512)

I haven't signed up for any of these cards precisely because I know it's just a way of them recording more data, and I found that offensive because other people online were making a big deal about it. Well, that and I can't be bothered signing up. I don't really give a toss who knows what I buy..

Re:What 30%? (1)

slashgrim (1247284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502532)

You know these grocery store frequent buyer card? The one that knocks a grand 25 cents off for a loaf of bread? People happily use them.

I've never understood the purpose of frequent buyer cards (beyond a way to get your address, like others said). Well, anyone who uses a credit card already provides a unique ID with each purchase. I bet somehow, someone thought the frequent buyer cards "inspire store loyalty."

Re:What 30%? (2)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502608)

I bet somehow, someone thought the frequent buyer cards "inspire store loyalty."

They probably actually do.

Re:What 30%? (1)

JLennox (942693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502644)

Ask the clerk to swipe a store card. At the self checkouts, the chain I goto has 'forgot your card?' as the first item in the 'no barcode?' list.

There ya go, now you can save 25cents on each roll of tinfoil

Celebrity culture (1)

gtvr (1702650) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502218)

I don't think he means people would watch you in the bathroom, but huge aspects of your life would be trackable. Look at how many actual or wannabe celebrities there are, putting huge chunks of their life on TV or auditioning to do so.

Some would choose Beneficient Serfdom (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502260)

I go further than Adams:

I think some people would not only give-up privacy, but also choose Serfdom, if they lived under a beneficent lord or king or dictator. Trading freedom for security & ease-of-life. In fact that's pretty much how Romans lived from 50BC through 500 AD, and it seemed to have worked.

Re:Some would choose Beneficient Serfdom (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502506)

Plato said that democracy leads to tyranny.

Re:Some would choose Beneficient Serfdom (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502540)

I see having a steady job is just about the same thing. There are other presumably more exciting things I could be trying to do with my life, but I don't want the risk until I actually have some solid investments/savings to back me up if I end up not being able to make any money out of them.

seen this movie already. (0)

Veritas1980 (1008679) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502262)

SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!

Re:seen this movie already. (1)

redemtionboy (890616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502400)

Apparently you haven't because nothing in this topic really reflects anything in that movie. It's a movie about overpopulation with lack of resources both in commodities and police and security forces.Nothing about tracking people.

Re:seen this movie already. (0)

Veritas1980 (1008679) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502626)

so much for people having a sense of humor. It all references the government having far too much control. lighten up before your dingle berries turn into diamonds.

Sure, if it includes EVERYBODY (4, Insightful)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502282)

I don't think this is all that outlandish. It's about equality, and in some senses, openness. If everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was tracked, chipped, monitored, followed, & watched AND the information was 100% transparent and available to EVERYONE, then well... sure, it'd be a great place to live. In all your 1984 dystopian scenarios, there's an elite segment that isn't subject to the same rules as the masses---arguably, there exists an elite segment in today's society that isn't subject to the same rules as the masses---and it's also a "who watches the watchers" issue. IMHO, alot of the issues that currently exist stem from a lack of (perceived and real) fairness in multiple aspects of life. Even the playing field and make the surveillance universal & transparent, allow everyone to freely monitor everyone else, and I think it would result in a shockingly fair society.

Of course, in theory. I don't know if it could be implemented in practice, and therein lies the rub.

Re:Sure, if it includes EVERYBODY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502414)

If everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was tracked, chipped, monitored, followed, & watched AND the information was 100% transparent and available to EVERYONE, then well... sure, it'd be a great place to live.

Why does ANYONE think that a society where all information about everyone was available to anyone would be a great place to live?

If every law on the books was enforced tomorrow by police with 100% visibility of everything everyone was doing all the time, then Western nations would collapse within a week.

Re:Sure, if it includes EVERYBODY (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502634)

If everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was tracked, chipped, monitored, followed, & watched AND the information was 100% transparent and available to EVERYONE, then well... sure, it'd be a great place to live.

Why does ANYONE think that a society where all information about everyone was available to anyone would be a great place to live?

Why does ANYONE think that ANYONE and EVERYONE need to be in ALL caps?

Re:Sure, if it includes EVERYBODY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502448)

in 1984 - and Orwell makes a point of addressing this in the book - the inner party is even more carefully controlled and monitored (and buys into the system more) than the outer party. I'm not disputing the thesis of your claim, just making a slight correction to your literary support.

Re:Sure, if it includes EVERYBODY (5, Insightful)

killmenow (184444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502458)

This is precisely what I was thinking. I wouldn't mind having no privacy so much if the people who had control and power also had no privacy. If every government official, every corporate executive and every law enforcement officer had 100% of everything they do and say tracked, monitored, and freely accessible to every person in the country.

No more secrets, Marty..

Crime worse, not better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502460)

The level of crime (especially violent crime) goes UP, not down, as government expands and consolidates. The idea that a big-government 1984-type scenario would or could eliminate crime is absolutely backwards. On the contrary, crime would skyrocket.

Look at it this way. Governments around the world are richer, more powerful, and more ubiquitous today than ever before in history. They have their hand in everything -- yet there is violent crime occurring every day, every hour, every minute. Consider the US government -- the most powerful, most expensive government that has ever existed in world history. Yet the level of violent crime has gone up, not down, as the US government has expanded. The bigger government swells, the more crime.

Re:Crime worse, not better (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502672)

There was nothing in his post about having a big bureaucracy. Total transparency could easily lead to FAR less bureaucracy/government.

Re:Sure, if it includes EVERYBODY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502464)

Similar arguments exist fro Communism. It looks good on paper, but falls short in the real world. The problem, people.

Re:Sure, if it includes EVERYBODY (0)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502528)

That society would be a living hell. There would be no creativity, no chance for exploration, nothing new would ever be produced. Every deviant behavior would be punished, everyone forced to fit into a mold of what the majority thought was "right." I, and most people I know, would be in jail or dead in that world.

Even in theory, it would be a incredibly unfair society. It would be a very equal society, but that's not even close to the same thing.

Re:Sure, if it includes EVERYBODY (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502574)

Really? Do you want your girlfriend to know that you had lunch with that 30-something stunning blonde in the next cube? And that she invited you to have some drinks after "that important meeting"?

I've been married 27 years and I hope that my wife doesn't find out half the things I do. And I am equally sure I don't want to know half the things she does with her own time. Ditto for my kids. Not because we do things that are bad, immoral, or evil. But because they are private.

Privacy is essential to a functioning society. We all have things we want private. Even innocent things, things that don't mean anything except in the context of a suspicious mind.

What you're talking about is a complete sea change in how people interact. Can you give up all jealousy, fear, uncertainty about all your relationships? Maybe I could, because I don't have very strong emotions. But I've known people who are very tightly bound by their emotions and this sort of thing would destroy them.

Re:Sure, if it includes EVERYBODY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502636)

someone has to program this. that someone has the ability to add in a backdoor.

David Brin's Earth, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502294)

He is not the first to suggest that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_(novel)

The reality is asymetric privacy/transparency. (5, Insightful)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502296)

If there were full transparency everywhere -- in government, in corporations, of rich aristocrats, etc -- that might work.

But the reality is that the powerful people and organizations protect their own privacy, and use their knowledge advantage that as leverage against those who choose transparency for themselves.

who said "in an information age, if you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything at all"

Re:The reality is asymetric privacy/transparency. (1)

gargravar (2018330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502518)

I just signed up to post a comment along the same lines. Remember, we lose our privacy to companies like google, fb etc, who wouldn't think about sharing what they're up to at the moment or in the future. Not only can they access and analyse our private data, they actively exploit their knowledge about you (by giving it away in a condensed form), while not allowing other companies to freely access this data. One should see the parallels of companies secret and personal data. If no privacy were possible for individuals, it would not be possible for someone to start up a company (like fb, twitter, wordpress), because the existing big players could steal your ideas very quickly by feeling the 'pulse of the crowd'. anyway, everyone who says they have nothing to hide, may either be ******* ******, or they really haven't, and thus are just dull people.

Crime Spree!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502306)

The best country to drink in is Saudi Arabia. That's because alcohol is banned, so there are no pesky laws such as drink driving laws. After all, alcohol related laws don't make sense when alcohol does not legally exist.

The best town to commit a crime in is Scottadamstown. After all, crime officially does not exist. All you need to do is go in with a fake chip, and legally you do not exist! Carte Blanche! See that's the flip side of "more reliable identification". People's identities become more trusted, but so do imposters. If it is "impossible" to fake an identity, then as a consequence, all idenitities (and imposters) must be 100% trustworthy.

It's been done (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502308)

It had... mixed results. Josh Harris did this with his experimental community "Quiet, We Live In Public" and then turned the experiment on himself with weliveinpublic.com http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Harris_%28internet%29

For a movie about him, including lengthy pieces about both experiments, watch We Live In Public

One huge benefit of this (1)

Tigger's Pet (130655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502310)

I can see somewhere where people would gladly volunteer for this. Here in the UK (and in the US AFAIK) there is a hell of a lot of monitoring of ex-offenders in the community once their sentence is over. Almost every offender has this for a certain amount of time, but those convicted of the more serious range of offences (murder, manslaughter, rape etc) can find this goes on for life. They can end up being visited every couple of months for many, many years by Police just to see what they are up to, and in many cases to check their computers etc (which can be very disheartening especially for those who are genuinely trying to turn their lives around and do nothing wrong).
How many of them do you think would volunteer to live in one of these communities? They would know that they were being tracked all the time. If they went on-line somewhere they shouldn't (FB, Second Life etc), or looking for things they shouldn't (CP, trying to track down their victim or whatever) then they would be immediately flagged up and dealt with. If they were just getting on with their lives then nothing would flag, so they could be left alone to live a normal life without interference.
I think that Scott Adams quite possibly has the right idea, but maybe the wrong target audience for this.

Re:One huge benefit of this (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502568)

Food for thought: they cannot stop criminal behavior within the walls of our prisons, where tracking and surveillance are not only OK but required. Why would large-scale tracking and surveillance of people be any more successful?

I think I'll take the relatively small risk of being victimized by a criminal to avoid the almost guaranteed reprisal by the public at large if I happen to visit the wrong place. In today's climate, I can only imagine what would happen to me if I were to make the mistake of walking inside a mosque and someone were to take notice, regardless whether I am actually Muslim. What kind of backlash would I face in this fully transparent society were I to walk into or out of an abortion clinic with a significant other on camera? What would happen if I were a teacher, but I was seen walking into or out of a topless bar?

only for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502314)

I think I wouldn't have so much trouble with the eroding of my personal privacy if it happened across the board. That means every cop, every politician and every businessman would also be subject to constant surveillance to 'keep them in line'. As it is, it is a little one-sided!

Watching the watchers (3, Insightful)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502316)

The obvious flaw in such a plan is: who watches the watchers? History has proven time and again that when people are given the power of controlling such information, they will use it to their own gain, and my detriment, eventually. For instance: stalkers, political candidate harassment, election tampering, home invasion/robber informants, etc.

It's not that I think I should hide my activities, it's that I do not believe there is anyone uncorruptible, who could be trusted with the information.

Yeah, people would go for the 30% discount, because people refuse to learn the lessons of history, and generally, are stupid sheeple.

Re:Watching the watchers (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502348)

People can't learn the lessons of history. They don't live long enough.

Re:Watching the watchers (2)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502522)

I think you are missing the premise of Scott Adam's thought experiment here. In his experiment everybody knows everything about everybody. So there really aren't any watchers, or everybody is a watcher if you prefer.

So if everybody is a watcher, who watches the watchers? Answer: everybody.

Your sig is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502622)

If 1=-1 and you add 1 to both sides you get 2=0, not 1=0

Everything is economics (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502324)

The scheme would cost money to run, paid for by higher taxes. Offsetting any of the dubious proposed savings.
Things are the way they are because that's the economic equilibrium. Utopias/dystopias are not stable configurations.

Scot Adam's absurd case (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502330)

The case that Scot Adams poses is that there would be people who would accept a bad consequence (loss of privacy) in exchange of avoiding a set of bad consequences (high cost of living, high crime).

He could also state that plenty of people would accept losing their privacy if it meant they didn't had their knee caps smashed their legs broken. Yet, in both cases that doesn't mean that losing our privacy is desirable or that people look forward to it. The only thing that it means is that considering a set of consequences, "plenty of volunteers would come forward" to choose a bad consequence if it meant they avoided other bad consequences. No shit, sherlock. I guess that would explain why bank robbers succeed in convincing bank tellers to give away the bank's cash without asking anything in return.

So, to sum things up, this comment is absurd and lacks any merit. It's yet another apology for the attack on privacy that is ongoing.

Known to WHOM and FOR HOW LONG (2)

redelm (54142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502338)

Privacy is basically a right of self-defense against prejudice. Asymmetric (privacy voilators are often virtuous in the area violated), but privacy has more characteristics than just the information being available.

Who matters: Abuses also happen when there are a priviliged set of monitors (police) and monitoring is not publicly accessible (webcams). Monitors benefit directly but others do not.

Worse is when data is retained unreasonably long and someone goes on a retrospective witchhunt. Cyber archive stalking.

Targeted Advertising Fantasy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502384)

from the article :"Advertisements would transform from a pervasive nuisance into something more like useful information. Advertisers would know so much about your lifestyle and preferences that you would only see ads that made perfect sense for your situation"

I've seen this argument used by people in real life. The problem is that it relies on the mistaken belief that advertisers try to sell you what you need. That is totally 100% wrong. They try to sell you the products that they have for sale - by convincing you that you need them!

Police don't cost 30% (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502408)

Maybe Scott could find takes at 30% lower cost, but these aren't the numbers. Current policing costs ~1%.

noprivacyville with no advantage taken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502422)

He means of course noprivacyville where no one takes advantage of the lack of privacy. As soon as you add even one of those to the mix, it becomes a huge liability to have no privacy. On the other hand, even a little bit more privacy makes that harder to do.

Save 30%? (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502424)

Just because one car insurance company is offering a 30% discount to customers who agree to GPS tracking to prove they don't drive in rush hour traffic (and how many fit that profile?), it doesn't follow that one can save 30% on all "basic living expenses" by totally giving up privacy. As to the major living expenses: rent/mortgage, taxes, food ... no one has made a plausible claim those expenses can be reduced at all.

This is a thought experiment only, and not a well-considered one at that. If we assume that marketers are economically rational beings, the only way they would let you "save" money by giving up your privacy is if they can make more money from it than you "save." Maybe in a few cases such as car insurance that can be done by increasing efficiency, but more likely it will be done by pushing your buttons to get you to buy overpriced crap you don't need.

already happening (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502430)

Folks are already voluntarily giving up privacy in droves.

Ever go shopping at one of those stores with a loyalty card? Give them your name, phone number, and address... They'll save you a few dollars here and there... And you give them the opportunity (whether they use it or not) to track everything you purchase.

And then there's all the big on-line retailers that are keeping track of your purchases and doing all sorts of data mining to recommend stuff to you.

And let's not forget the 800lb gorilla in the room - Facebook. Folks hand their personal information to Facebook happily, just for the opportunity to do a little microblogging and maybe play Farmville.

We are already doing that sort of deal now (1)

tebee (1280900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502440)

On a smaller scale, we are already selling some of our privacy to get things we want for free . Companies like Facebook and to a lesser extent Google make their money buy selling details of what we want to people who might be able to sell us those things. In exchange we get a service that cost money for them to run for free.

The general public may not recognize this fact but I'm sure most of the folks on here do, some of them probably spend far to much of their lives evangelizing about the dangers of selling our souls to those particular devils, but for most it's an OK deal.

John Calvin is alive and well (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502452)

Studies have shown that peer pressure has a huge impact on conservation...
Bad workers would end up voluntarily moving out of the city to find work...

and so on ad infinitum...

Let's just go ahead and call this the modern-day Calvinism it really is: dour, bleak, conformist and joyless.

There would have to be changes about sex (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502462)

A huge portion of the troubles we face in society today come from the conflict between our natural and social/cultural issues surrounding sex and sexual drives.

Nature says "do it whenever and however you want and boobs aren't for sex, they are for feeding babies." Society and culture has taken a completely opposing slant that says "sex is bad for children to know about and 'harms them', boobs are not to be seen (unless they are on a male), masturbation is disgusting and shouldn't be spoken of and sharing sex should be controlled, limited and often forbidden."

I know it's awfully Freudian of me to assert that sex is the central point of everything about humanity, but since we are unable to escape our animal identity (as much as we seek to deny and disguise it) we might as well accept it.

And we are constantly at odds with ourselves idealistically and otherwise. Marketers know that "sex sells" and so they sell it in every way possible except "overtly and directly" (because that would be illegal!). Our ideals of beauty, femininity and masculinity, and our very potential as human beings are ultimately based on our perception of what makes the best sexual partner.

But what does this have to do with "privacy"? I think it should be obvious. Aside from money and resource matters (which could also be slanted to be driven by sex) privacy is almost all about sex... sex and politics... politics which have to do with greed and power... which has a lot to do with sex. Perhaps I am pushing things a little far in my connection between our sexual conflict between nature and society, but the fact remains that we as individuals for all manner of reasons are required to have privacy where our thoughts, ideas, ideals and desires which are sexual in nature.

The other aspects of privacy/secrecy are all about keeping others from knowing what you have "so they can't take it from you."

All of this points to the fact that people, in general, simply don't understand or care to understand the real problems facing humanity and where they come from. In this case, they come from religion and other artificial social constructs that fly in opposition to man's own nature. (I am not saying that opposing man's own nature is a bad thing entirely -- there is a place for asserting limitations or else we would all kill one another and there would be no progress at all.) I think that perhaps simply knowing and understanding the realities of what we are doing to ourselves would actually be enough. Then we wouldn't have situations were young teenagers become child pornographers and marked for life as a sexual criminal for exploring their own [natural] sexual interests.

Privacy (and secrecy) is all about this. People on the surface might think they are willing to give up all privacy "for a better life" but they actually don't understand the full depth of what they would be giving up and what they are taking for granted.

Re:There would have to be changes about sex (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502710)

Glad I'm not the only one who has speculated similar. A lot of my friends wont even approach the subject which strikes me as odd considering practically everyone is doing it or thinking about it. Yet it's disgusting when others are enjoying themselves? Bah.

Pfft. "People". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502504)

Here's the truth about "People". They are all sick.

So of this 30%, expect it pretty soon to be thinned out by the ones who are having affairs, bunk off work/school early, gamble, go for a sly cigarette or hand shandy or visit to the local sex shop, synagogue, mosque, bookie etc. This, pretty much, means everyone. The only folks unaffected will be the ones that don't care or who are good at hiding things (ie Psychopaths).

Here's what you will end up with:

Fred Phelps and Co.
Charlie Sheen.
Child Molesters.

Well done Mr.Adams. You've just become your own cartoon strip.

People vs Computers (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502516)

I don't actually have much problem with computers knowing everything about me - it is when people get information that I worry. I use GMail, and it posts "targeted" ads alongside my mails. Very occasionally, they are of interest, mostly I can see the keyword they are responding to, sometimes I just wonder WIHIH. But it doesn't worry me. And the same applies more generally. I intend to obey speed limits: I have no problem with a computer checking that I do so. If I have strange sexual tastes, i have no problem with a computer knowing it - it may even be able to guide me ("people who viewed what you just viewed also..."

It is purely when it gets into the hands of people that I get nervous. And that includes "legitimate" users such as law authorities, Because they will judge me: it is what people do. And their values will not be my values, so they will judge me by values I do not understand. (As a geek, I am not much of a "people person", so I often don't understand other people's values).

So if this 100% surveillance is totally automated, I don't have a problem. By all means, track where I go for traffic purposes. Measure how much I pee - what do I care? Correlate automatically my this against my that - feel free. But DON'T TELL ANYBODY! Because they WILL judge me (as I, if the situations were reversed, would judge them. Nobody, but nobody, can help being at least somewhat judgmental.

Of course, there have to be exceptions for investigating crimes. And I grudgingly accept that - a system of warrants etc. The trouble is, once the data is in a computer, it is too easy to release. In physical searches, the process of getting a warrant and doing the search was laborious and obvious enough that it tended to be self-limiting: you knew you were being searched, and could protest. Not that there were no abuses, but that the abuses were small enough that the benefits of the system outweighed the costs of the abuses.

But with purely electronic searches, it is too easy to set the search too wide, and to easy to do searches without the object of the search knowing. about it. And I am cynic enough to say with absolute confidence that if the system is capable of being abused, it will be abused - by the over-zealous, by the nosy, and by the criminal.

An interesting idea, but in practicality... (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502520)

I imagine there would emerge some element of a class divide. Sure, you commoners get no privacy, yes. But the politicians? Well, they would argue, they need their lives to be kept secret as a matter of national security. Managers of companies of sufficient influence would find some way to maintain secrecy for the sake protecting their commercially sensitive information. And everything - absolutly everything - relating to children would end up made secret to protect them from the pedophile bogeymen. It would end up, I imagine, in a situation where everyone has no privacy in princible - but those who have some level of money or influence would have no problem getting themselves excluded. Or, equally bad, where no person has any privacy - but the only organisations able to access the monitoring data would be government and corporations, who would be quite happy to make sure it stays that way.

Though experiment (3, Insightful)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502538)

It's an interesting thought experiment, but it's not just a city without privacy, it's a scifi city without privacy. He explicitly says that he imagines a place where all he describes is technically possible; and much of it isn't and won't be in the forseeable future. And as far as science fiction goes, it's not that exciting a text.

He's also trying very hard -- comically so -- to imagine every consequence as being positive: "Advertisements would transform from a pervasive nuisance into something more like useful information." Sure, Scott. And while total surveillance would result in an increase in solved criminal cases which would probably reduce some kinds of crime, others would still exist: many instances of violent crime are committed in the heat of the moment, others are the result of negligence. Neither would be affected by total surveillance, although I'm sure you could come up with some scifi handwaving argument, like saying that the tendency to assault somebody can be determined from genetic traits and previous surveillance like observed shouting or threatening behaviour. And so on...

Which diverticulum (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502556)

I wonder which diverticulum the 30% savings number was pulled from. Oh wait, TFA mentions a single company lowering AUTO INSURANCE rates by 30%. Then the author goes on to equate this with a 30% savings in "basic living expenses". Must be nice to be a comic strip author, where your only living expense is auto insurance, apparently. Hmm, maybe Scott Adams is secretly running the Fed...

Thought experiment (3, Informative)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502566)

Before everybody get's their panties in a bunch, the key line from TFA is this:

This is just an economic thought experiment.

So don't take it too seriously. Scott Adams isn't proposing this as a good idea, attacking your privacy or making excuses for attacking your privacy. He set up a premise and explored what he thinks the consequences might be. You can disagree with his conclusions, but try and keep some perspective.

Speed up pc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502630)

Speed up pc http://www.speeduppctool.com/ [speeduppctool.com] Speed up pc tool Speeds up your pc and fixes other computer registry errors. Other advance features helps to fix hard disk errors, optimize ram, cleans junk files, defrag hard disk, start up manager and speeds up computer boot up time.

billions looking for nonexplodingville? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502656)

like there's a choice. privacy? that's when you're not being surveiled in your house, molested at the airport, spied on by your righteously fear based neighbors, or interrogated (or much worse) due to your opinion/beliefs/growing spirit? who needs that stuff? the holycost comes first, we all know that.

ALL MOMMYS, GET YOUR BUTTS TO THE MIDDLE EAST, JAPAN, DC, LA, GA, NY, FL ETC.... WE'VE HAD IT. WE'RE DYING HERE.

This could work (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502662)

This could work only if those in charge as well as all the corporations would also be completely transparent.

Isn't Noprivacyville normally called prison? (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502664)

And as we know, nothing bad ever happens in prison because of the constant surveillance.

Insert Ben Fraklin quote here.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502690)

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

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