×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

David Brin on Privacy

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the no-webcams-in-the-white-house dept.

Privacy 365

David Brin is interviewed and provides some strong words on modern conceptions of privacy and why they're off-base. Brin asserts - and argues well - that a land with little privacy is a freer land.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

365 comments

FP (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006327)

Fuck off lusers!

privacy is a warm gun (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006329)

First shot through the heart!

A very basic fact... (4, Informative)

irony nazi (197301) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006337)

One cannot forget that the Right to Privacy is not a constitutional right. Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that American citizens have a right to privacy.

Re:A very basic fact... (-1)

dadaist (544022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006354)

What exactly do you think Roe v Wade means?

The court found that the Constitution implies the right to privacy through a combination of several of the rights in the bill of rights.

Look it up, Ironic Buffoon.

There is no right to privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006406)

In Roe v Wade, the Justices fabricated a Constitutional Right to Privacy out of vapors, penumbras, and other mysterious gasses.

Who needs the amendment process when the Justices can "infer" anything they want out of the actual document?

Re:A very basic fact... (5, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006356)

Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that American citizens have a right to privacy.

Apart from the fourth amendment, of course. Or what did you think "searches" means?

TWW

Re:A very basic fact... (5, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006462)

Or the 9th...

What we really need is a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to privacy; the only problem is the Constitution places limits on the power of government, not private individuals/corporations. So while it would be nice for it to be easier to prevent the government from spying on us, we still have the problem of corporations eager to figure out what breakfast cereals we prefer.

I wish I had mod points (1, Redundant)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006480)

the Constitution places limits on the power of government, not private individuals/corporations

That is something that far too few people that post to sites like slashdot and kuro5hin understand.

Re:I wish I had mod points (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006549)

Constitution limits government, goverment (by the people) limits the people. What's the flaw or, better, what's the solution?

TWW

Technically, it doesn't even limit government (1, Insightful)

a random streaker (538956) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006881)

What it does is even more severe. The constitution creates a government with a defined set of powers, and no others. To set limits hints that the government may do anything except what is forbidden, when in theory (sadly, not in fact) it is the other way around.

The government doesn't have rights -- only individual people have rights. The government has powers over those rights, as granted by the people, who can change or revoke it.

Of course, this limited government has a budget for this year of 2.1 trillion dollars. It is the most bloated thing ever to exist.

Re:A very basic fact... (2, Insightful)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006583)

we still have the problem of corporations eager to figure out what breakfast cereals we prefer.

Well, what's wrong with that? Don't you want to buy cereal that you prefer to eat? If they don't know, you won't be able to buy it! What you're probably objecting to is their methodology, so everybody fill out the damn survey and send it in, ask your grocer to stock what you want, otherwise corporations will /have/ to resort to ethically questionable survailence to get that data.

Re:A very basic fact... (3, Insightful)

Random Feature (84958) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006714)

There are situations when I'll gladly give out my personal information if it means I'll get service faster or better or more personalized.

Case in point - say you shop at store X all the time. The sales people (or whatever title they're using these days) know you by name, etc...

You get better service because they *know* you. It's like leaving decent tips at a restaurant. After a while you get excellent service because the waiters/waitresses *know* you're going to leave them a decent tip as long as they give you good service.

The Web isn't much different. If I do a lot of shopping on-line at a particular place then I'd expect if I call with a problem or a special order that I'd get some damn good service simply because of a history of patronage.

The issue is that *I* want to be able to control who has the information and who doesn't. And quite frankly, my favorite restaurant/jewelry store doesn't go around selling my contact information to every Tom, Dick and Harry that asks for it. Some of my favorite Web sites DO.

That, IMO, is the real issue. You have less control over who has your info in VR than in RL.

So yes - I would prefer to receive targetted marketing than what I get now, which is junk. And in order to do targetted marketing they need to have some sort of demographic information on you.

And maybe if Corp XYZ knew that millions of us actually liked product A or TV show B then we would't be so pissed off when the product is discontinued or the show is cancelled. If they don't know who's eating/watching/drinking something, they have no financial incentive to continue their offering ...

Re:A very basic fact... (1)

ek_adam (442283) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006877)

Or the 10th...
Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Re:A very basic fact... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006593)

what did you think "searches" means?


That obviously isnt a privacy amendment for two reasons. First, it only applies to law enforcement. Second, it rules on evidence. Just because a certain class of evidence can be suppressed in court doesnt mean your privacy hasnt been violated. The police can still spy on your sex life and even "accidentally" leak their information to A Current Affair.

There is absolutely no right to privacy under Consitutional or common law. That's what statutory law is for.

Re:A very basic fact... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006659)

Apart from the fourth amendment, of course. Or what did you think "searches" means?


I hope the moderators who rated your comment to 5 arent Americans. Are Americans really that stupid about their own Constitution?

This is the original long-winded version of the 4th:

"The rights to be secured in their persons, their houses, their papers, and their other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized."


In other words, the 4th protects you from ham fisted policemen.

an even more basic fact (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006363)

who cares what it doesnt (or even does) say in the Constitution? It doesnt say lots of things. Are we supposed to restrict our lives according to a 250 year old rhetorical document? We have no other options -- is that what you're telling us?

Re:A very basic fact... (3, Informative)

Amarok.Org (514102) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006369)

Take a look at Griswold vs. Connecticut, as resolved by the Supreme Court in 1965. The Court ruled that the fourth amendment, as combined with several other factors, does in fact guarantee a basic right to privacy.

As I have stressed to others in other threads, PLEASE do some research before deciding what rights you do or do not posses. How can you defend your rights if you don't even know what they are?

The Court made this up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006415)

This Court ruling was made on imagination and inference, not the actual document itself.

There is no constitutional right to privacy, of course. Maybe there should be. However, it should be added through the amendment process, rather than through the abuse of power of supreme court justices who push the edge with "if we say it is in the constitution, it is".

Re:The Court made this up (1)

Amarok.Org (514102) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006433)

Well, at least until you change the way our government is structured, a Supreme Court interpretation *IS* the Constitution. Case law, the use of previous courts findings in support of your own, is a cornerstone of our legal system. The Supreme Court by it's very nature is the FINAL authority on the interpretation of our laws. Of course, the PEOPLE are the final authority on what laws are passed (or repealed), and what portions of the Constitution are amended, but while a law or regulation exists, the Supreme Court defines and clarifies the parameters of our law.

Argue the concept of a "living Constitution" all you want, but until you change the way we're structured, you can't cry foul at it's implementation.

Re:A very basic fact... (1)

MasterBlaster (71519) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006565)

As I have stressed to others in other threads, PLEASE do some research before deciding what rights you do or do not posses. How can you defend your rights if you don't even know what they are?

If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.

Re:A very basic fact... (1)

Amarok.Org (514102) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006576)


If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.

Precisely my point. Well spoken.

012345678901234567890123456789001234567890123456 78 9

Re:A very basic fact... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006602)

You are correct in that our notions of a Constitutional Right to Privacy are based on the Griswold case. However, it doesn't end there. That case was not decided unanimously, and the lead opinion on it speaks of this "right" only in incredibly vague terms: "penumbras" that "eminate" from the fourth amendment. A very strong and vocal opponent of the Griswold decision was Robert Bork, who nearly became a Justice back in what, '87 or so? And who could have possibly called for the ruling to be overturned.

What we consider a Right to Privacy stands in incredibly shaky ground, made all the more shaky by the many people who assume it's more well-grounded than it actually is. I would love to see an actual Constitutional Right to Privacy, which exactly what that means spelled out in detail, but it of course will never happen. And it certainly won't happen in the current climate where, unless you're the Vice President, if you have something to hide than it's clearly something evil and wrong.

Re:A very basic fact... (3, Insightful)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006370)

However, one might argue that most of our rights amount to one uber-Right To Be Free From Government Molestation In Our Personal Affairs. That amounts to about the same thing, IMO. If you were aware that gov't was monitoring (for reasons perhaps unknown) and/or recording (for reasons that could change from what you were originally told) what you spoke, where you went, who you talked to, etc, it may cause you to alter your activities. That's a restriction on those primary liberties.

Re:A very basic fact... (2, Insightful)

topside420 (530370) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006371)

The Right to Privacy *is* in the constitution.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This amendment has basicly been trampled, stomped, and disregarded. Too many people take the approach of 'if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about' and forget that this *IS* in the constitution.

Re:A very basic fact... (0)

x1l (258922) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006376)

It may not be called Privacy in the constitution, but I think Amendment IV covers that....

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Re:A very basic fact... (-1)

dadaist (544022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006394)

Also relevant: the Quartering Act.

Re:A very basic fact... (1)

quinto2000 (211211) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006459)

The quartering act, yes, and i think perhaps article 14, which extends to states the first 10 amendments. My constitutional law class is all a hazy fog :)

Re:A very basic fact... (3, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006389)

One cannot forget that the Right to Privacy is not a constitutional right. Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that American citizens have a right to privacy.

Possibly because, given the technology of the time, a right to privacy made about as much sense as a right to breathe air; there was simply no need to state something so fundamental. After all, even in the most oppressive regimes, people still breathed. If you wanted to have a private conversation, just walk into the middle of a field with your friends and talk.

The fact that it does not is no reflection on the competence of the Founding Fathers, and the lack of it in the Constitution also does not mean that it should not exist.

A Bill of Rights written today, like this one [eu.int] does include a right to privacy. And who knows what such a Bill written 2302 will need to contain?

Re:A very basic fact... (2, Interesting)

Elbow Macaroni (315256) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006443)

I think there would be less of a call for privacy if morality laws would be revoked.

Some states say you can only have sex in certain ways whether or not you are a consenting adult. I believe some states even outlaw homosexuality.

There are just too many really stupid and unenforceable laws out there for people to feel comfortable. For example: Why is it legal to pay someone to have sex on camera but illegal to pay someone to have sex with you unfilmed? Hmmm....

And the absurd war on drugs -- people would probably use less drugs if they were legal. The laws against drug use #1 assume that the citizens don't have the ability to use them intelligently and #2 force us to go to a doctor, even if we don't need or want to. I mean why should I go to a doctor to get medicine for things that are obvious? Example: head lice - uh hello, it's a bug and it's in my hair...duh.....if I can't read the outside of the box why would I be able to read my physicians handwriting???

Another problem with having no privacy is sales people. Just like Verio phoning up all the new clients in the DNS records, noone wants encyclopedia salesmen to know where they live or what their phone number is, etc. If we want to buy encyclopedias we'll call them.

And last but not least it is the power people can have over you. Mostly this is the government. I don't want the government to be able to profile me and others like me and make us the target of whatever. This wouldn't have to be just the government either it could be Jeffrey Dahmer or some other entity or individual.

There is just no way that I can see that less privacy would make American's more free. That's really impossible. Our privacy lets us speak out without fear of reprisals just like I am doing right now.

If I knew that everything I just wrote would be immediately forwarded to the FBI along with my name, and social security number, menses cycle, age, weight, color, financial status, dob, hair and eye color, copy of fingerprint, and the last 20 posts I did, last 100 web searches, & etc. Do you really think I would have written it?

Re:A very basic fact... (1)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006521)

That is a good point.. Why are porn stars different from prostitutes? They are being paid to have sex. I sounds the same to me.

For the record, I have nothing against porn. The laws just don't make any sense..

Re:A very basic fact... (2)

arkanes (521690) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006767)

Getting offtopic :) But, and I'm not 100% sure about this, but I believe that the difference lies in that you pay a prostitute to have sex with you, while in porn, you pay 2 people to have sex with each other. Arguably the same as is done in sex research labs. I'd be suprised if they didn't use pandering and prostitution charges to try to shut down porn in the 50's, I'll try to do some reasearch and see what I can find.

Re:A very basic fact... (2)

khendron (225184) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006511)

So? What does that have to do with the question as to whether privacy is "good thing" or a "bad thing".
IMHO, Brin is being optimistic. If goverment surveilance went to the max today, I doubt any immediate problems would arise. Most democratic governments today do not, believe it or not, have any malicious intent towards their citizens as a whole. However, their is no guarantee that things will stay that way. If things changes, then it is too late to regret the powers we gave governemt.

Nice try (3, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006346)

But, much as I like Brin's fiction he's being hopelessly optimistic here. The problem is oversight of people with power. Such people will only suffer such oversight by people with more power (ie you must force them to accept it). Then who watches the watchers of the watchmen? And so on. People with power will use it to remove/bribe/curtail anyone who tries to limit that power.

TWW

Re:Nice try (2, Insightful)

fhknack (104003) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006444)

I don't think he's being optimistic at all. I've read Transparent Society (and the novel Earth which TS refers to repeatedly by way of example), and if anything he's pretty much resigned to the fact that in real life, we're going to lose our privacy in exchange for nothing.
What he does sound upbeat about is the "if" vision. IF we can get the accountability, IF we can know who's looking, IF we can get the same views of the people in power as they get of us, THEN we'll have a Transparent Society that is not a 1984 dystopia.
As for who's going to watch the watchmen? The same people who do it today: advocates, journalists, activists, and crackpots. In other words, whoever cares.

Re:Nice try (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006456)

IF we can get the accountability, IF we can know who's looking, IF we can get the same views of the people in power as they get of us,

That's the optimistic part: it's like saying IF there was air between here and Mars we could fly there in a microlight.

TWW

Re:Nice try (1)

ArcSecond (534786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006683)

As for who's going to watch the watchmen? The same people who do it today: advocates, journalists, activists, and crackpots. In other words, whoever cares.

The "whoever cares" bit is the important bit. There need to be real powers available to those who concern themselves with oversight of social institutions, though. Like, Ombudsman++.

A little accountability and transparency at all levels of decision-making can be a very good thing. It removes some of the paranoia from the atmosphere... you know, the kind of attitude where the insiders feel like they are behind a barricade, and everyone is out to get them. So no information (minor or major) can be shared. Once people get used to the fact that they have to be honest and accountable, the culture will change to reflect that.

Re:Nice try (3, Interesting)

JordanH (75307) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006474)

  • The problem is oversight of people with power.

That's the problem. Laws designed to protect people's privacy are always abused by people in the public sphere to do dirty dealing in private.

We don't need Campaign Finance Reform. What we really need is for all of the political deliberations and contributions to be publicly available. Then, we could choose which politicians to support based on which special interests they listen and act upon.

Re:Nice try (3, Informative)

interiot (50685) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006479)

Most of the repressive regimes throughout history have tried to limit the flow of information, and the only governments that try to hide information on a massive level are repressive regimes. So it's probable that a completely open government would put a lower bound on how oppresive a government could be.

Also, there need not be a system of ever-increasingly powerful watchers. If that were required, then even our 50% open society would be doomed. One alternative is to have (as we have now) several equal powers which balance each other out. In this way, if one makes decisions which are too extreme, the others can collectively put pressure on the one.

Re:Nice try (1)

spagma (514837) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006675)

I agree, he is just stepping out and saying that everyone is wrong, and that he has the solution. It has not been tried nor tested, and near impossible to maintain. Hell I can do that, "The perfect solution, is world peace. Once we set that up, we will not have to worry about terrorism." That was simple, but like the article, it mentions no means in which to achieve it.

Re:Nice try (4, Insightful)

tyl (520631) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006746)

As a good friend of mine says : Tension is what keeps bridges up. Rather than tail off into infinite recursion, set a couple of groups to watch each other, and try and maintain the balance between them.

I have always believed that privacy is a sociological construct that is overrated these days. Oversimplified, one could put it as "What are you afraid of other people seeing if you've got nothing to hide".

Us Belgians have lived with ID cards since before I was born. The government has always known the 'official address' of every Belgian. As far as I can remember, no abuse of that has been made that affects me. I don't know anyone else either who complains about it. Heck, I consider it very practical even ! No lumpy passports to carry around (and to forget) when I need to travel to the UK every other week...

So that's point one : giving up some privacy does not automatically lead to abuse. Point two : Loss of privacy can be made symmetrical. The more "they" know about you, the more you should be able to know about "them". I'm not gonna rgue this at length, 'cause I got work to do :^( At any rate, I believe that with a couple of carefully chosen rules, in many situations you can lose a little bit of privacy and gain freedom, and protection from abuse.

Philip

Credibility (3, Insightful)

skroz (7870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006350)

Oh, sure, this from the guy that wrote a perfectly good hard sci-fi book about singularities and "gravity lasers" and all kinds of other fun stuff, then had to ruin it all in the last 20 pages with aliens, earth spirits, and exploding meat puppets. The man doesn't know how to end a book... maybe if someone had been snooping his computer files, that someone could have said "Whoah, Dave! Back up, dude..."

He does make a good point (4, Interesting)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006357)

e.g - who cares who's watching me smoke marijuana, so long as i have the freedom to smoke it.

of course, this all begs the question: which came first, the paranoia of not wanting to be watched, or the laws that we're all trying to hide from?

Re:He does make a good point (1)

GenericJoe (16255) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006407)

But it's not just laws that we're trying to hide from.

Often enough, the problem is social mores. Who wants their boss to know who they are sleeping with? What they are spending their money on?

No one, really...

*BUT* The bosses don't want that information out about them. Brin's whole point is that if we watch the bosses, then they won't be the only ones with the questionable information.

I strongly suggest that the people here read The Transparent Society. If nothing else, it's a lateral look at privacy concerns, and does make some interesting points that should be thought about. The problem he has identified is valid, even if you think his solution may not be.

GenericJoe

Re:He does make a good point (5, Insightful)

Carmody (128723) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006664)

who cares who's watching me smoke marijuana, so long as i have the freedom to smoke it.

Well, I care. Even if I had the freedom to smoke marijuana, I wouldn't want people to watch me smoke it, or even know that I did. Why? It's nobody's business but my own.

That attitude, "if you're obeying the law you don't need privacy" is a dangerous one. It implies that the only people who want privacy are people who are doing something Illegal, or at least something for which they are afraid of being caught.

Some people just want privacy because they don't think their personal lives are anybody elses business. I'm not ashamed of a word I've written in my journal, but I will be damned if I let you come to my house and read it.

We've heard it before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006362)

"Freedom is Slavery" and "War is Peace"

Waylon Jennings, music superstar, dead at 64. (0, Insightful)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006366)


Just saw this on CNN a few minutes ago - country wester music outlaw Waylon Jennings was found dead at his home in Arizona this morning. I'm sure we'll all miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his hits like "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," and "Luckenbach, Texas" you've probably loved the "Dukes of Hazzard" theme. Truly an American icon.

As long as all have the same idea of freedom... (3, Interesting)

RC514 (546181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006387)

Allowing some entity to know almost all about you is fine as long as people roughly have the same idea of what you can and can't do. As soon as the government decides to go another route, their power of knowledge is going to hurt anyone in their way. Technology allows a decreasing number of people to control many and that technological power is necessarily concentrated in relatively few people. No matter how much you control them, when they decide to leave you behind, they can and will do that.

Re:As long as all have the same idea of freedom... (1)

Carmody (128723) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006684)

Allowing some entity to know almost all about you is fine as long as people roughly have the same idea of what you can and can't do

Really? Why is it "fine"? You like to have sex with your spouse, and the person across the street has no problem with it. So would it be "fine" if he wanted to watch? Or how about if, every morning at work he asked, "So, did you have sex yesterday? Did you come?"

Allowing some entity to know almost all about you is "fine" right? As long as you agree on right and wrong.

Go ahead and give up your privacy if you like. Even if you agree with what I do with my life, I still am not going to want you to know all about it.

Slippery slope (3, Insightful)

Chardish (529780) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006391)

Biometric-based I.D. cards for everybody are coming. Squint, look ahead 50 years and honestly tell me you can envision a world where such things are not simply assumed. The important factor is not whether such cards exist, but whether they are a tool for robbing us of things we want and need.

No, the important factor IS that such things exist. If personal information is stored in a database that is easy for the powerful to access but difficult for the commoners to access, the powerful people WILL attempt to exploit it for their own desires and wants.

-Evan

Re:Slippery slope (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006411)

If personal information is stored in a database that is easy for the powerful to access but difficult for the commoners to access, the powerful people WILL attempt to exploit it for their own desires and wants.

You have wonderful grasp of the obvious.

Beuracracy not democracy (3, Interesting)

Charm (313273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006395)

I think that the view that democracy and freedom protects us is flawed. Rather it is the beuracracy that we lay in the path that slows down corruption we should consider. Such beuracracy slows down the right people from changing the root laws as it does the evil. The best chance then is for a society to start with good root laws and layer them with a defensive structure of beuracracy. This stands the test of time and a revolution every 500 years is better than every 50.

Re:Beuracracy not democracy (-1)

dadaist (544022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006413)

Try a spell check next time, bucko.

Bureaucracy. It isn't difficilt. Try speling correctly sometiem. You might like it!

Waaah Waaah (0, Flamebait)

paulywog (114255) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006398)

I'd never presume that the slasdot editors are professional English teachers, but perhaps the word choice for this summary is a little off. "Conception [dictionary.com]" is the creation of something new. It's based on the root 'to conceive', like making babies or creating ideas or plans. We really aren't conceiving the idea of privacy... it already exists.

"Perception [dictionary.com]" refers to the way in which we perceive or understand an existing idea, like the idea of privacy.

Especially in the context of "modern privacy", I doubt that we're really talking about the creation or conception of new ideas, but rather the ways in which modern society perceives or thinks about the idea of privacy.

Oh well. Grammar, schmammar.

Re:Waaah Waaah (-1)

dadaist (544022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006431)

You mean, grammer, schmrammer. It's an odd sounding construction, but it's preserves consistency.

Grammar Nazi (1)

SamBeckett (96685) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006572)

Your last sentence, "Grammar, schmammar", is not proper. I label it as a sentence fragment. Good day, sir. Oh, and "schmammar" isn't even a word.

Let the Doublespeak begin... (2)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006423)

It seems the only thing Orwell was wrong about was the date. 18 years later and we're almost to 1984.

Re:Let the Doublespeak begin... (2)

Psiren (6145) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006520)

Bullpats. You ppl really need to get off your high horse.

Do it yourself survalence (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006426)

I believe the best chance for the general-public getting its hands on survalence data, is to generate it ourselves. Create gnu survalence system where its users point there web cameras out the window. All data is uploaded to a central server where face recognition software tracks the whereabouts of everybody. With a simple query of the live database Joe Sixpack can find out the whereabouts of prez.

Moores Law Makes it Possible, in a few years.

The old arguments (3, Informative)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006434)

It is nice to be able to read something that does not drift into the old argument of privacy vs security. refreshing.

even if he has some "old ideas". some of these are very practical.

There's a whole shopping list we could ask for. The creation of a true office of the Inspector General of the United States. It doesn't exist. In each department, the inspectors report to the cabinet secretaries that appointed them. It's incestuous, as ridiculous as Enron hiring their accountants to be consultants. Autonomy would help. That's just one example.

The lightbulb, she goes on, y'know?

Please explain then... (5, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006441)

I was reading a newspaper article a few months ago (can't remember if it was WSJ, NYT, or Chicago Tribune) about the FBI's use of private databases to dig up information on suspects. The reporter called the database company and ordered searches on the Director of the FBI, John Ashcroft, Bill Gates, Laura Bush, and a few others in similar positions of power. He received a reply of "sorry - we don't sell information on those people" from the database company.

So if living one's life in full view is such a great thing, why do the powerful arrange things so that they (and their families) don't?

sPh

Re:Please explain then... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006507)

Good point.

Just like the guy whose company owns the billboards probably never has to see them. And I'm sure the CEOs of the telecom companies aren't spammed by telemarketers.

And mark my words, in 100 years when the Earth's atmosphere becomes too toxic to breathe, it's the people who own the factories who are going to be the first to get the oxygen masks...

Re:Please explain then... (2)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006510)

They probably don't want to open themselves up to be liable or responsible for providing info that could be the ticket to getting them kidnapped or murdered. I bet you couldn't buy info on most public people, government or otherwise. It could be suicide for the company if one information puchase could be linked directly to some terrible event.

They could sell my information to Lorraine Bobbit or the KKK and if I ended up dead, they wouldn't have news reporters beating on their door.

Re:Please explain then... (4, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006573)

They probably don't want to open themselves up to be liable or responsible for providing info that could be the ticket to getting them kidnapped or murdered. I bet you couldn't buy info on most public people, government or otherwise. It could be suicide for the company if one information puchase could be linked directly to some terrible event.
But it is perfectly OK for the same company to sell information to someone who desires to steal my identity, or violate my constitution rights (the FBI was using the private database company because they claimed that such information was not subject to FOIA requests or subponeas)?

Where exactly in the US Constitution does it say that there is a protected class of people, say goverment employees, who get additional protection over and above the law? Does the Constitution not in fact explicity forbid granting of titles of nobility?

sPh

Re:Please explain then... (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006608)

And that is the point David Brin brings up. Why can I not see information about John Ashcroft, Bill Gates or Laura Bush. If they can see information about me then I sure want to see information about them. It is not a one way street! And it annoys me that these people have a holier than thou attitude!!!!

Brin's Book - The Transparent Society (2, Interesting)

volts (515080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006448)

I bought Brin's book (ISBN: 0738201448) when it came out in '99. I was struck with his sense that surveilance in the larger sense was technologically inevitable- not only cameras, but every expenditure, even RF tags on your money . He argued that it was impossible to supress this capability; that doing so would simply give those in power the ability to take unfair advantage; so we should make everything completely transparent. If we all have the legal right to spy on each other, the little guy can't be sanctioned for finding out what the bigs guys are up to - kind of a pessimists take on "information wants to be free".

Maybe I'm failing to adapt to change, but the prospect of what he proposes makes me really uncomfortable and could lead to a level of social conformity that most of us would find stiffing. Also, I don't know that I have that little faith in our (western civilization's - I'm Canadian) ability to govern our behaviour and that of our institutions.

The book is worth a read - I may just haul it out and take another look.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (1)

dmiller (581) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006467)

The rewards for though who watch us through the telescreens to exceed their power will always outweigh our capacity to effectively police them.

Individuals, institutions and governments don't want to be embarrassed and would much rather sweep transgressions under the carpet than tackle them openly. A prime example is the Australian govt's response to revelations that our intelligence agencies spied on Australian citizens - i doubt that this will ever be properly investigated. It is all too easy for the watchers to invoke the specter of "national security" to scuttle any public investigation.

Listen to this man (5, Interesting)

SlashDread (38969) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006471)

David is dead on.

"Information wants to be free"

Apply this to information about YOU.

My point is, most of our actions are done in the public sphere, and can be observed by ANY casual observer. In theory, what anyone does in a public space, cannot be private by definition. Is it bad that people track you for your personal buying habits?

I dont think so, because I _could_ have spotted you buying it anyway.

Now, the problem is in WHO can see that data. F.E. if the governement or anyone really, has data on me, Id sure want to know what. So I should be granted access to that data. If only to correct errors made.

"Information is power"

It sure is. Just ask the MPAA.
Now who should have this power? Everyone. That way we can garantee supervising the supervisors.

So.. Privacy doesnt really exists, but that does not scare me. Information exists, and what scares me if the powers have infomation, that the public has no access too. That way the balance is off.

Gr /Dread

Absolute power... (0, Offtopic)

Joe 'Nova' (98613) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006472)

I won't insult intelligence.

The main idea is defining a problem in such a way you can sneak in something so odious, it normally wouldn't pass, but, "What are you, some kind of terrorist?!" rings Ashcroft.
Lemme see, in order to preserve freedom, we must suspend it? And, "The terrorists hate our freedom." So what do we do? We let our politicos take it freely(?).
I see ratcheting like this all the time(WI). Tuition increases side by side with huge prison budgets make for a totally numb dumb society. You know the former Gov. as Health Secretary, and he started the prison craze. We, (Milwaukee), are the worlds #1 FSCKING EXPORTER OF PRISONERS! NOT CHINA, NOT RUSSIA, HERE! To the tune of 5,000+ inmates sent out of state.
K, you are asking yourself, "What has this to do with the topic?" This-If you subsidize(sp?) prisons, get more prisons, less student grants-loans, fewer educated adults. The slingo around here is "The Brain Drain." Graduates leave in droves, and don't contribute back to the local system.
It all starts with the politicians, make no doubt, he's right. They are entrusted with assuring domestic tranquility, but end up bleeding taxes on military/police/prison budgets. If we challenge these priorities, we are labeled liberals.
The Big Brother of 1984 was supposed to be a benevolent government, but if you disagreed with it, you (read the book, this ain't cliff notes!)
My point is he didn't extend the consequences and causes far enough, but I agree with what is stated.
I'm convinced if they view liberty and freedoms as the priority, vs. we are tough on criminals/terrorists/Govt. of choice, we would hear different rhetoric.
I think it comes down to control. People in prison are definately under control, but I haven't figured out how paranoia driving graduates out solves anything either, but it's definately on state agenda.

A Good Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006533)

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. "
-Benjamin Franklin

Privacy and the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006545)

Of Cousres this will be modded down But Please read and Mod me up...

First thing, I am a "geek" not an english major so spelling, puncuatin etc is not my strong suit(Flame Away)

I Post as a Anonymous Coward as I have a family, a job, and a life to protect

I have watched things change in this country over my lifetime (I am 32) We have lost more rights since 1980 then in the whole history of the USA.

I left the us army after I went to Riot control school that was amied at the US population (yet accoring to the consitution Federal soldiers cannot be used in law enforment but this is now standard practice).

How many remember the "temporary" secuirty messure at the airports during the Gulf War? 11 + years later they are still in place, and accepted by everyone who travels yet they did not protect us on Sept 11. Where do thes records of ID checks go? Who has access to a person flight records?

Lets look at the excuses used over the last 30 years to squish peoples privacy....
#1 the war on drugs
#2 Child porn on the Net
#3 Terroist Actions (both abroad and domestic)
#4 Tax evasion
#5 Saftey of Children

these are just a few of hundreds.
Yet Most of the times these "threats" have been over sensulized in the Media to scare people (retractions in newspapers being very small and in weird locations (never the same twice.

I did not get a social secuirty number till I was twelve, but when my son was born 3 years ago I was instucted by hospital staff before we left the hospital he must have one by age 1 or we could got to jail for violating a federal law.

What number do you give the DMV? SSN
Your bank? SSN
Your landlord? SSN
Your employer? SSN
Get stopped by a cop and have no id? SSN
Medical Care? SSN

These are just a few of the uses of a SSN in this country, yet the law that created them says they are to be used by the Social Security Adminstration ONLY any other use is a Violation of the law yet if you refuse (all these papers say it is Voluntary) you cant get a bank account, a loan, a drivers lienses, or a rental/purchased home.

Slowy but surely freedom is dieing.
Did you know that the current Generation is the First one in the history of the USA where the standard of living has GONE DOWN? The middle class is dissapering (20% of the population pays 80% of the taxes)and each year there are more on more poor, less middle class, yet the rich stay rich, and concentrate power and money in just a few familys.

Look at Current Laws Being passed... Where does the DMCA and that other abortion UCITA protect the person and not the "Coporate State?"

Look at a School text book form 30 years ago and look at one from today BIG pictures, little text today (few pictures Lots of text 30 years ago) Look at what gets left out of the avarage history book? Very Important stuff Like What is the federal reserve board? Is it part of the goverment? When was it created? there is so much that is left out now it scares me.

What do I see in the future?
The Coporate State (FM Busby Zelde Mtana Series)
wage slaves and people on welfare
Rich Oligarchs running the country and the people
a small tech class in the middle who makes it all work that are in constant fear of being pushed into the Masses of Welfare and Wage slaves.

A few outlaws who Read, comunicate, and hope for freedom.

At times I wonder at what kind of world my children will have and what I see scares me Yet I must Hope that it will change Or it probably would have been better that my children would have never been born.

Chapter One of Transparent Society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006547)

Is available online here. [kithrup.com] Please, please, please read it... It articulates in clear and easy to understand terms Brin's arguments. It is also, like all Brin books, very well written.

Brin's Foregone Conclusion? (3, Insightful)

AgTiger (458268) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006557)

Brin writes:

> Biometric-based I.D. cards for everybody are coming.
> Squint, look ahead 50 years and honestly tell me you
> can envision a world where such things are not simply
> assumed.

I think what bothered me most about the article was this particular foregone conclusion about the future. I hate to disappoint Brin, but I'm not so imaginatively myopic that his is the only future I can see.

> The important factor is not whether such cards exist,
> but whether they are a tool for robbing us of things
> we want and need.

This seems to imply that what we really want or need could be a _lack_ of such intrusive measures in our lives. There comes a point where if you're being challenged to validate your identity at every turn, we begin to adopt a mentality of "That which is not expressly permitted is automatically forbidden."

This flies in the face of the principles on which this nation was founded. As others have pointed out, read through the first ten ammendments (Bill of Rights) to the U.S. Constitution. Disregard what the courts have done to this fine set of principles in the last hundred years, and just read it.

If that doesn't say, "Anything not expressly forbidden is permitted, oh and by the way, these are limits that the powers can be can place on those 'forbiddens'" then I don't know what does.

Quite simply, the society that Brin sees us moving more towards is unamerican in its principles. If our government and society are to collapse and fail eventually, then let it do so because of a failure of the principles that it was founded on, not because of our collective unwillingness to stick to those principles.

Re:Brin's Foregone Conclusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006584)

I STRONGLY suggest you read Transparent Society before commenting on Brin's opinons - The interview does not articulate all of his opinions very well. Chapter one is available online at Brin's website here [kithrup.com].

As for the U.S. Constitution, sure it may have been O.K. 100 years ago - but it's not o.k. now

Re:Brin's Foregone Conclusion? (4, Insightful)

TheFrood (163934) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006725)

Quite simply, the society that Brin sees us moving more towards is unamerican in its principles. If our government and society are to collapse and fail eventually, then let it do so because of a failure of the principles that it was founded on, not because of our collective unwillingness to stick to those principles.

What Brin espouses is that the actions of those in power be visible to everyone, and that they be held accountable for those actions. Frankly, I can't think of anything more American, or closer to the principles the U.S. was founded on.

TheFrood

What happens when our Gov't breaks (2, Interesting)

greensquare (546383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006558)

250 Years ago, before the American Revolution, the founding fathers of America realized that the gov't they were living under was broken. They found it to be unacceptable. Thus began America.

Our ( America's) new gov't was framed in the idea that gov't can't be perfect, and that if it gets really screwed up, citizens should have the power to revolt, and to create a new gov't. This, I believe, is the root behind the 2nd amendment. Regular common people, it was written, should have the right to bear arms, form up a non-state controlled militia, and fight for their rights if they need to. ( Of course they never dreamed how of the twisted ways liberals would try to interpret the second amendment. If only they would have been a little more specific.)

I agree with the author. We SHOULD be fighting intensely for rigorous oversight of the Gov't in the cases where we can't stop them from taking our freedoms.. But we should NOT embrace the erosion of our freedom. Freedom is not just "freedom from attack by foreign bad people." Freedom is also "freedom from your own gov't." As we let the gov't be more in control, and in the know regarding each of our lives, we really are setting ourselves up to be citizens of the Big Brother country of the future, where it will be totally impossible for people to revolt if the USA runs astray.

Was at one of his talks (3, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006577)

Last year at an Apache Conference I heard David Brin talk. Really interesting! And then I bought his book at the conference. He has a lot to say and definitely worth the read.

The problems that he outlines are very legit and there is only his solution as a way out. For example he says secrecy laws like in Europe are DUMB. Living in Europe I thought they were good, but he put in further terms.

Data is immortal. Hence with data secrecy laws what ends up happening is some people have power and others do not. And having run conferences and mailing lists that is the exact problem. Once I ok the use of my data I cannot control it. For example lets say I want a mortgage. In Europe I sign a sheet saying yes the bank has the right to look at all of my data. But the question what data will the bank look at? And how will they use that data? The secrecy laws do not address that issue. That is the crux of the problem with or without data secrecy laws. I have no idea how the data is being used.

David Brin argues you can give out all the data you want, but you have control on what is being seen and manipulated.

My favourite part of his book is the following (it starts off with that). We have privacy in public. For example lets say that you go to lunch with people. Do other people listen in on your conversation? No because people mind their own business. The reason is because people can see when you are not minding your own business. And that is the crux of his argument regarding privacy laws. We cannot tell companies or governments to mind their own business!

Re:Was at one of his talks (2, Interesting)

AndyS (655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006638)

Is this about the Data Protection Act?

Over here, it means that we get the right to control who gets access to data about us, and we get the right to view data held upon us.

So, for example, it is a requirement to ask me if they want to sell my details to spam me (although of course, they usually try and hide it), and that, if say, the government, or my doctor, or my employer has information on me, for a small fee (the cost of looking up the information), I can demand access to it.

Sounds like a good law to me.

Re:Was at one of his talks (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006739)

We cannot tell companies or governments to mind their own business!

In principle, yes we can: don't do business with that company, don't vote that person into office. However, what do you do when there's collusion of business against the consumer (caller ID and call ID blocking), of gov't against the people ("domestic security" stuff), and of business and gov't against the people (insert Redmond reference here)? When any of these reach their boiling point, a revolution is born. I think GNU/Linux is one such example.

Geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006599)

Yesterday, on Ash Wednesday, I went up to my priest to get the ashes on my head. I was first in line. I yelled out "First Post!" The other people came and looked at me. The preist was clogged up wtih people who wanted to get ashes on their head. "Slashdotted already!" I said.

Um, No. (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006600)

For all of Brin's Pollyanaism, he forgets one critical thing: a land without privacy is a land ruled byy blackmail. One where people are forced to conform for fear of ostracism, and no hope of release for any individuality. Rather ironic, actually; he doesn't see the bars of the cage he would construct for us.

Re:Um, No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006690)

a land without privacy is a land ruled byy blackmail

Shut up, stupid. Someone pithier than you can reply "a land without privacy is a land ruled by mutual trust" or "if everyone knows what everyone else is doing, where is there the opportunity for blackmail?"

You one sentence philosophers are retards to be feared.

Spying infrastructures are a BAD idea. (4, Interesting)

Crixus (97721) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006603)

Brin may be right, or he may be wrong.

The fact is that most Americans don't care if they have the government oversite that he speaks of. They TRUST their government.... after all, we're the GOOD guys. We would NEVER do anything wrong.

I saw Phil Zimmermann speak a few years ago and Phil spoke about how technical infrastructures rarely go away. There are no laws mandating 120 volts @ 60 cycles in the US. It's just an infrastructure that's in place, that will likely not go away, ever.

The same will be true for the spying infrastructures that we're allowing our government to install.

Brin's argument assumes a truly awful government will never be elected or take power by coup. Apparently he knows nothing about history.

Installing these infrstructures is a terrible mistake that we will one day regret.

Rich...

Re:Spying infrastructures are a BAD idea. (1)

BCoates (512464) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006707)

I saw Phil Zimmermann speak a few years ago and Phil spoke about how technical infrastructures rarely go away. There are no laws mandating 120 volts @ 60 cycles in the US. It's just an infrastructure that's in place, that will likely not go away, ever.

But if we install the infrastructure now, we get to control how it works. Insead of a mysterious Big Brother, we can make a "spying infrastructure" [wired.com] that, allows anyone (not just the governement) to see just what the spies can see. We can make an infrastructure with auditing and accountability, and hopefully it will have the inertia to survive and keep a "big brother" style one away.

--
Benjamin Coates

Do we still have any privacy left to protect? (2)

bihoy (100694) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006604)

I find that I agree with David Brin. I have always been a bit paranoid about my privacy and take many steps to safegaurd my private info. In retrospect, though, I have usually been much more relaxed about divulging private info when I know there are more rigid laws to protect it.

For example I would never open an account with an online bill paying service but as soon as my bank offerred one I jumped at the chance. I beleive that we have already traded any true privacy for the many conveniences that most of western civilization now demands. We are our own worst enemies in this regard. The most effective means of protecting ourselves is not to try to hide our personal information but to limit how others can legally use it.

Laws that actually reflect the people (1)

NFNNMIDATA (449069) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006614)

Affecting a transparent society in which people could be seen doing illegal things (like smoking dope) would inevitably result in a society with much higher voter turnout, and less strict laws - I bet marijuana would become legal quickly, for example. What we have now could be argued to be a set of laws based on what most people agree would be a nice way to behave. It would be interesting to see what happens when laws are actually enforceable...

Transparency Vs. Virtual Reality (2, Insightful)

Bookwyrm (3535) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006633)

The idea that increasing transparency at all levels is an interesting one, but I would like to see how Brin would deal with the issue of simulated transparency verses actually seeing what is there.

He is correct that as the technology improves it is easier to share information and to gather information, it also makes it easier to simulate and falsify information. (Info-tainment, commercials disguised as informational presentations, etc.)

It might make for an interesting arms race between those who try to see what is really going on and those who obscure what is happening by creating false but believable data with the facilities available to them. A person could be so bombarded by so many 'experts', each claiming a different view point or interpretation of 'what really happened', that the person cannot decide who to believe.

There is probably a necessary layer of filtering required there (i.e. like people wear sunglasses to keep the glare from blinding them -- too much transparency can be bad), but that leads yet again to the accountability problem -- who runs the filters?

Use of technology not inevitable (2)

sphealey (2855) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006643)

Biometric-based I.D. cards for everybody are coming. Squint, look ahead 50 years and honestly tell me you can envision a world where such things are not simply assumed. The important factor is not whether such cards exist, but whether they are a tool for robbing us of things we want and need.
Mr. Brin seems to believe that once a technology is developed, it must be used regardless of the desire and will of the polity. This is not correct. Decisions to use disruptive technology can be made on a deliberate, political basis.

As an extreme example, South Africa and Brazil both decided to terminate and dismantle successful nuclear weapons progrms (S.A. after actually assembling and testing weapons). Both countries deliberately decided that the dangers of having that technology were greater than any possible benefit.

So the creation of an Iraqi-style national ID card in the U.S. is not inevitable.

sPh

A bit Naive. (3, Interesting)

modipodio (556587) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006649)

" I just wish they weren't so contemptuous of the masses. If they weren't, they would notice that people are very sensible."

I do not think the problem is that the majority of people are stupid more that the majority of people are apethetic and lazy about issues which could effect them in both the long/short run, and unless something is shown to have a very direct immediate negative effect on there day to day lives ,in general the majority of people do not care about it and will not do any thing signifigant about it.

"Government power is kept in check by stripping the powerful down and subjecting them to scrutiny in the application of their delegated power, so that abuse of the power can be caught and rapidly dealt with. We are protected by enhancing our ability to see them, not by reducing their ability to see us."

The whole issue of who funds party's running for Government needs to be addressed before we will see truly open and observable government and business .Until this happens I do not believe that the public will be given, "fierce accountability measures", in fact I think that in most cases whatever laws or legislation that get's passed will most likely come out heavily in favor of big busines and not the general public.

People will not wake up one morning and suddenly find all there rights taken away and a secret police officer at there door enquiring about the printed copy of the anarchists cookbook under there bed .What is more likely to happen is a slow eroision of rights that the general public take for granted and are to apathetic to do anything about and by the time they realise, "hey why can't I do that any more ", and decide that maybe they should have done something about that 'crazy russian commie' who cracked adobe's ebook program and that maybe there Privacy is some thing they should care about,it will be to late and The majority of people through apathy and not a lack of inteligence will have, "grant(ed) our servants the tools they claim they need".

Umm.. Yeah.. Whatever.. (1)

jurros (110198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006692)

Having your live in the open has worked so well in the past. Let's see....

I'm sure that your discenting political opinion was a great thing to share in communist Russia.

And it was such a relief for Christians not to have to keep their religion private in ancient Rome.

And I'm sure the Jewish people loved not having to keep their very race in Nazi Germany. In fact, let's ask them how good of an idea national registration with ID cards is.

Not having privacy puts way too much trust in others agreeing with your every viewpoint and action.

The problem with decreased privacy... (2, Insightful)

lunenburg (37393) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006736)

...is that it's currently a one-way street. We, the individuals, are expected to give up personal information, allow unlimited surveilance and suspicion, and pretty much become an open book for the government and corporations. But the trend is for INCREASED privacy for those groups. Corporations are trying to lock up more and more information under the guise of "trade secrets" and have laws like the DMCA, etc. to back them up. Governments are moving more and more lawmaking into secret sessions, and hiding more information under the guise of "National Security."

I agree with the author that the only way the "transparent society" will work is if the transparency goes both ways. But that will never happen, as both governments and corporations see the citizenry as resources, not equals.

Hide in the open - swamp them with trivia (1)

totierne (56891) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006756)

If the future is not in secrecy, then swamp the ***** with trivia, there are bound to be badder dudes to be got than you

[Though that begs the referrence:
First the Nazis came for the Communists; and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews; and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. When they came for the trade unionists I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a trade unionist. And when they came for the Catholics I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me... and by that time there was no one left to speak for anyone.

Attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoeller.
I suppose the answer is we stand up for the 'terrorists' whether they be in camp X-ray or not,
and stand up for a persons right to burn any flag,
because who knows when we will be labeled and marginalised.]

(thesis, antithesis I argue with myself, I just believe openness is the way forward, democracy and mob rule is not so bad.)
Just because you think you have something to hide, does not mean it is worth hiding. Do not hide your light under a bushel, if everyone is lighting the level playing field, defects will be dealt with more sympathetically.

Well its a theory. [Speaking as a manic depressive, from a police state, who owes some back taxes.]

overlooks agregation relating to mass knowledge (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006768)

"just as harmful for a supermarket to know what salad dressing you bought as it is for a convicted abuser to know the location of the battered wives "

This overlooks what he has already said regarding people on mass being smart. On an individual basis yes it's worse for the criminal to have the knowledge than the supermarket but on the agregated level if the super markets know enough it gives them more power to market to you.

Something that may be unwelcome an is one reason why I would protect my privacy.

Slashbot Copy n' Paste Volume 3 : YRO Replies (-1)

ReluctantBadger (550830) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006854)


Slashbot Copy n' Paste Volume 3 : YRO Replies Hey Kids! Save time, effort and keyboard wear n' tear by selecting a stereotypical stock reply from our list below! Each one comes complete with no thought, intelligence or critical thinking! For a limited time only, use one of the replies below and also include the "sacrifice liberty for safety" quote free of charge! This offer is not available in stores, as no-one would buy this bullshit anyway! OK, here we go:
  • "This is just like "1984" by George Orwell! I am sure that RIAA is the Ministry of Love!"
  • "If only our founding fathers were alive today..."
  • "The corporations own America! I don't have any freedom! Waaaaa! Mommy!"
  • "Yeah, there was this black CIA helicopter over my house earlier..."
  • "I know tons about this surveillance system, but I can't post details becuase of the NDA"
  • "Face recognition is evil! How dare they compare me to criminals"
  • "This would not have prevented September 11th! Name me ONE instance where CCTV has been useful..."
  • "Jesus! Here comes the Thought Police"
  • "I found out the NSA were tapping my phones. They have no right to listen in on my conversations with grandma!"
  • "They may take our land, but they can never take - OUR FREEEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!!!!!"
  • "It won't be long before they start installing cameras in private homes. Those MONSTERS."
  • "This is illegal. I am protected by my CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS!!!!! I may only respect the ones which I like, but that's beside the point!"
  • "Freedom of speech is really important. It lets me demonstrate how totally ignorant I am"
  • "Chyeah! I don't care if trading copyrighted material is illegal, it's all about freedom of speech! Information wants to be free!"
  • "People like you need to wake up. Your level of awareness is up to you!"
  • "Sorry! AFK! I was adjusting my tin foil hat"
  • "I checked out 'Spot Goes Walkies' from the library, and now the NSA/CIA/FBI/TLA knows! I feel so violated!"
And don't forget, if you're gonna quote someone - Misquote it and get the credit wrong for an extra bonus! MODERATORS :
Please feel free to moderate me down (in fact, do!). Also, moderate up anyone using phrases like the ones above - They get used in EVERY SINGLE fucking YRO article, so why change the team when it's winning? Oh, and shouts out to The_Messenger and The Turd Report. Some quality trolling there chaps.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...