Beta
×

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!

Privacy: Good Riddance?

Hemos posted more than 15 years ago | from the i-can-see-it-sort-of dept.

Technology 155

Steve Furlong writes "David Brin, science fiction and science author, has a different take on invasions of privacy. Read article for more info. " Brin's got an interesting take alright-nutshell is rather then try and fight the cameras that are going to go no matter what, make them so ubiqutous that everyone can know-but also reinstate the courtesy inherent in living in a collective sense, like the village of yore. The article is definietly worth a read.

cancel ×

155 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Life with Castle walls (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017895)

I saw a show on this once. It was mainly about survelance cameras in every corner of a city. I beleive it was a poor area in Europe somewhere. There were cameras present everywhere overlooking every nook and cranny. The show talked about how in the future, it will be like Medeval times where the poorer live outside and the more well off live inside the confinements of the castle walls. Of course these catles would be a tad larger, but the concept is the same. That's basically how this one area is right now.

Almost right... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017896)

We *are* heading for a transparent society, but I'm not sure I agree with Brin's "let's eliminate personal privacy" stance (there're still a lot of intolerant people out there, and sometimes the only way to protect oneself against them is to be secretive).

But I do like some of his ideas: governments *need* to be completely open (much more so than they are now), as well as big business (the more power you wield, the more open you should be forced to be, IMHO).

The Transparent Society (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017897)

In his book, Brin doesn't argue for less privacy, but rather for reciprocol privacy. In other words, for every camera the government has on me, I should be allowed one on them. Or to put it a different way, if people are keeping files on me, don't I have a right to know what is in those files, and to correct errors in them? In many circumstances, this appears attractive. However, for somethings absolute privacy is still necessary -- e.g. if I had $1 billion dollars under my matress, I wouldn't want every criminal in the world to have access to that information, or to know the whereabouts of me or my family members at all times...

At any rate, I highly recommend that everyone read the book before discussing technology and privacy (it's in the Sociology section of you local bookstore.)

It's not a new idea ... (2)

euroderf (47) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017898)

... but it's an important one. The key (IMHO) is that any view the cops have, ordinary citizens have too. A clickable city map showing where cameras are. Someone recently showed where all the camers were on a stretch of avenue in NYC; it was something like 17 cameras in three blocks ? These were mostly/entirely private cameras, but .. this idea of public accessibility to surveillance "data" could be extended to private cameras that have a view of public spaces, too ... maybe ...

Any foreign viewpoints? (3)

Anonymous Shepherd (17338) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017899)

Coming from the US, what Brin says makes a lot of sense-we live in a society in which any waiter can get to our credit cards, every business can find out about our credit histories, purchases, and transactions, and most activities can be logged on the internet, as well as other 'invasions' of privacy. Yet we accept this, because its convenient, for the most part, and we trust, because it is reciprocal, though more openness from the big business/government side wouldn't hurt.

How about those in other countries? What is the issue of transparency and privacy? There is a sense of freedom in believing the waiter won't steal your credit card, or that the car to your left at a 4-way stop will stop, and let you pass, because you're there first. Of course it isn't perfect, but I take it for granted sometimes how much trust is built into the system.

Am I just babbling about inconsequential things?

AS

Sounds like "Earth". (2)

Ian the Terrible (11944) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017900)

David Brin explored this concept somewhat in the novel "Earth". One aspect of the society he presented there was a group of senior citizens who wore "True-Vue" goggles - sunglasses with integrated fiber-optic cameras - who simply watched everything and everyone that passed their field of vision, and constantly uploaded the data streams to the 'net.

Spooky thought, but I have to agree with his central statement - if everybody sees everything, then it all evens out. The problem would indeed be to make sure that privacy (or the lack thereof) was extended to all strata of society.

Crypto will die, according to Brin (2)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017901)

Brin points out that cryptography will be useless when the authorities have a microscopic camera hidden in every suspect's house or office, watching the keyboard as they type in their PGP passphrase or obtaining the cleartext by capturing the message before it is sent.

Natural Tendancy (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017902)

Humans have a natural tendancy TOWARDS an open society. Most individuals have an urge to be seen/noticed. Sure there are some things that we do NOT want to be seen, but that is only because there is so much intolerance.

Unfortunately, we will have to go through some major cultural shifts. We (as a society) need to learn to tolerate other behaviours much more before anyone can see what anyone else is doing...

I liked the article... I think there are some valid arguments, but I question how fast we can handle the transformation to a "transparent" society.

if we assume A and B, then C MUST be true (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017903)

His point might be true if his assumptions are correct. He says that surveillance is going to be everywhere anyway, and there's not stopping it. I don't agree. A large city (damn, can't remember the details, I believe it was in California) was going to implement the "camera on every street corner" idea. A huge number of people came down to the public debate about it and basically said "Hell, no!"

Rather than just throwing up our arms and giving up on privacy, we need to stand up for it. I figure you have two choices: a) open up society with these cameras and such so everyone can snoop on everyone else and teach people to be corteous and openminded and make them not persecute others for being "abnormal or b) Take a stand on privacy and block measures that limit it. It would seem to me that not only is choice b more desirable, it's a lot easier to obtain.


--
Jason Eric Pierce

I expect this out of the Brits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017904)

and probably those socialist French.

The british are subjects, at the whim of the crown and government so they really dont have any rights. The exist to serve the king/queen, as determined by god.

Screw that. Luckly a sane few in the colonies told the crown to bugger off. MAN determines his freedom not government. Sure cameras serve a purpose, expanding security in public areas but
once it reaches a level of intrusion against personal freedom then it becomes a tool of oppression. This camera footage is routinely used in court cases since the camera does not lie. But does it? How difficult is it to manipulate a digital image? Or when will government forces use
these to monitor those speaking against the government or to compile lists of demonstrators like they did in China?

Even if he was an insane freak Ted Kazinski made
a damn good point, technology is dangerous, especially in the hands of those who want to be our masters.

what a crock (1)

curtisf (17068) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017905)

The idea that since invasion of privacy is an inevitable result of technology, we must embrace it or else be subjected to the rich and powerful, is a crock. Who cares if we embrace it or not? We ll never have access Bill Gate s financial data, nor be able to peer into his home through a web cam. (Not like anybody would want to.) And even if we could, where would that get us? Submission will not produce equality.

This seems naive to me, except for one bit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017906)


Nobody ever thinks of the reciprocal transparency solution to these problems and that's taking cameras and shining it back on them. I mean, look, people are more forgiving of abortion doctors than people that go around and kill abortion doctors. These guys want their addresses known less than the abortion doctors want their addresses known.

The problem is that the anti-abortion "activists" are, by any ordinary definition, criminally insane. They murder people who disagree with them. Being brought to their attention is Russian roulette. You may not die, but it's a very serious risk. This is not true of pro-choice people. He's forgetting that there are two very different mentalities here. Anti-choice people have an essentially totalitarian mindset. For them, practicing their beliefs means forcing other people to practice their beliefs, by violent means if necessary. By contrast, pro-choice people think that practicing their beliefs means just that: You do your thing and I'll do mine. They are not going to track you down and kill you. The Christians do track people down and kill them from time to time (for the greater glory of the one of the most committed pacifists in human history :)

The real problem here is that law-enforcement and government in general tend to be relatively benign with reference to anti-choice terrorism. Islamic terrorism requires stringent measures to combat it; christian terrorism is just a few isolated nuts who shouldn't be taken seriously. Local police forces have collaborated with Operation Rescue in clinic blockades (Delaware, 1993). If we wasted half as much money on this idiotic and self-defeating "war on drugs" and spent it on tracking christian terrorists instead, we'd actually see some ROI for a change.


That having been said, Brin is crazy if he thinks that this will work in any other case, either. Powerful people will never be vulnerable to violations of their privacy by anybody not also powerful. Let's at least give the "little people" (that's us, by the way) some kind of fighting chance at preserving their own privacy, because it will never be practical for them to strike back except at each other.


You known what, we need the mighty to hold some of us accountable.

This statement really pisses me off, probably for purely emotional reasons.


A weak government is often prescribed by some people in our society as the best way to guarantee freedom. Well, tell that to Italy in 1926. Tell that to Germany in 1933. Tell that to Russia in 1917. Or China in 1948.

A weak government is not a guarantee of freedom. It is a guarantee of chaos that will be followed by tyranny.


Yes, yes! Right on. (Yes, he says he may be wrong, and I say he and I both may be wrong -- but his examples are valid and IMHO very relevant.)


my p.o.v. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017907)

I agree with Brin's assessment. I don't see any reason for me to be protective of who I am, so i don't have any problem with filling out online surveys, giving out personal information. I have nothing to hide. As long as my rights to access information are protected, I don't have anything to worry about.

New Edition out in May; important point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017908)

A trade paperback of _The Transparent Society_ will be out in May. (Along with TWO SF novels . . . Brin is a pretty busy guy for someone with wrist problems!) The new edition has some corrections and incorporates feedback.

I did a lot of manuscript reading for the first edition. I don't agree with everything in it, but I think it's a very important book.

Important point:Transparency must be rociprocal. If the cops have cameras pointed at us, we must have i) cameras pointed at them, in interrogation rooms and holding cells and the like, and ii) we must have access to their cameras. (My chief problem with Brin's argument stems from this requirement; getting reciprocal transparency will be mighty tough. It requires people to be aware of the problem, and fight tenaciously for access. Most people will either opt for the shaky shelter of personal encryption, or ignore the whole problem for . . . hey, look, the new Star Wars movie is out!)

Stefan Jones

Information hiding will persist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017909)

Transparency should not be accepted so easily. People do need to get over the self-conciousness they pathologically exhibit, but there inevitably will be those who suffer most harshly from open-sourcing each and every second of their lives.

I wouldn't mind having cameras focused on my doorstep--a neighbor was shot there not too long ago for his wristwatch. But the line needs to be drawn a little more clearly before people agree to give privacy up any more than this.

Equality is an ideal. This society is mostly based on inequality. Survival occurs through information hiding. The rich and incorporated do have a more omnipresent eye, however, and this is where more universal privacy should be promoted.

The Super Wall-Marts are trying to track each and every purchase to tailor store layouts to the locale. Sounds like a good idea, but it has apparently backfired. People still like bananas in the fruit section, milk in the dairy, and cereal with the grains. Just because bananas and milk are the most common purchases does not justify putting them next to each other.

Sometimes less is more. This applies to transparency as well as privacy.


--Realistically anonymous (anonymous as far as most of you are concerned)

Maybe Orwell was right after all... (1)

vivarium (2905) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017910)

Cameras on every streetcorner, in your homes, in parks... This is intolerable. Worse yet, face recognition systems that will allow some mystical computer *somewhere* to record where you go... Could you imagine getting back from lunch and having a meeting with your supervisor, who asks "Why did you go to (place "undesirable" location here)? We do not allow our employees to go to ("undesirable" location) during work hours. Please clean out your desk." It *will* happen. Locating criminals is the first step, corporations tracking employees is next. Then, before you know it, the government feels that they need to know where everyone is all the time. Even though I am not gay, I sometimes go to gay bars with friends who are. Do I want to be classified as gay because I sometimes visit gay establishments? No. The problem is that cameras cannot get inside of your head... Which is the next step. Governments will feel the need to control thought because they cannot make sense of certain "eccentric" individuals otherwise. Corporations already try to do this through marketing. If you drink a certain brand of beer you're going to be popular and have lots of friends. XYZ blue jeans will make you look attractive to the opposite sex. You'll be a great kisser if you chew our new brand of gum. Smoking cigarettes makes you look mature, which every teen wants. We get pummelled with this sort of crap all the time, and it is very pervasive. The government is next (*especially* organizations like the E.U.)!

The bottom line is that privacy is costly for corporations and government. It's up to us to decide what level is tolerable, which may be no government cameras in homes. It'll probably be our last island of privacy, at least until we turn our television on or use the Internet...

Michael.

You have to think about cameras everwhere (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017911)

Someone down the page a bit says some city decided to not put up the cameras. He's missing the point too.

Maybe there won't be police cameras everywhere, but there will be citizen cameras. Look at all the cameras in stores. Now imagine them cheaper and smaller. Imagine every citizen with a $5 lapel button camera. Think you can stop it?

Now imagine everyone's camera relays home to their home computer. They get mugged, it's all recorded. If not by their camera, how many other people would show some trace? How about cameras on front doors and at all windows? When they cost $5 with Jini interface, you can bet it will happen.

That's his point. It WILL happen. If you try to pretend otherwise, and make it "illegal", then only the rich will be able to afford to hire thugs to act on it. Anyone else would go to jail for showing the evidence of their mugging.

And I have no doubt that with a Jini interface, these cameras will be under your control. Shut them off when inside the house. Take off the camera when you come in the door. You will have all the privacy you want in your own home.

--

Don't hold your breath. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017912)


society will hopefully "grow up" a bit

Yeah, I'm hoping, too.

Not so far from the truth, even today... (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017913)

Look at how many people *want* their lives to be known. I have a webcam in my living room, up essentially 24 hours a day. I have an online journal on my web page that pretty much outlines everything else a viewer might have missed.

Do I feel having dozens if not hundreds of strangers at any given time peering into my home is an invasion of my privacy? Not really. For the most part, I don't do anything differently. I've given up a bad habit or two as a result.

Naturally, I don't have one of these things in my bedroom or bathroom, but I doubt leaving your door unlocked and letting your neighbors stop by whenever they want implies that they can slip into your bedroom or bathroom either.

I do agree a bit with this guy's position. The government can track you down, watch your every move. People rich enough (or sly enough) can do the same thing. Why can't we return the favor?

Information about you is going to be gathered by people no matter what you do about it. If you legislate privacy protections, that's only going to push it into the hands of the unscrupulous. Instead, of you embrace it, and allow it to work both ways, hopefully both sides will grow up a little and the information won't really be as valuable as people once thought.

Though I'm not sure if I like or agree with this just yet, I think this article is very thought-provoking.

Poor man... (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017914)

I pity him. So naive he can't see what will happen with the "camera on every street corner" idea. Simply put, it will be abused. It's not a matter of "could" or "might"; the potential power of those things is simply too great; even with this "reciprocal" bit someone will figure out how to abuse the system and will do so. And then we're stuck in 1984 for the rest of our lives.

So what's the author's address/tel? Uh huh. Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017915)

I searched in several on-line phone directories for the Brin's home address. Nothing! No address, no phone number either. Must be unlisted. Hmmmmm....

This is like those people that make public service commercials that ask people to drive less, carpool, and ride the bus. Watch them go to the TV studio to film their commercial. They all drove alone in their cars.

Oh the hypocrisy! It makes this AC laugh. Hard.

Telepathy (1)

fugue (4373) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017916)

That's a really great article. He says what I have been thinking for some time. The crucial thing is guaranteeing that everyone can access information, which means that it has to be legal and free and accessible.

I'd like to see a society with telepathy: where you can know when someone is lying. In Babylon 5, the strong teeps can block the weaker ones, which is not good. But restricting information never does anyone but the restrictor any good.

Education can fight bigotry.

Us murderrers, us hiders, us anonymous cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017917)

Being Pro-Life can be a pain sometimes. But I'll hold my ground. I don't disagree with your being pro-choice, but I don't agree with the legal basis of abortion.

Calling me a murderrer because some pro-life people are murderrers is wrong. I could call you a murderrer, what does this accomplish?

Nothing.

So don't insult the intellegence of the other readers by holding all Pro-Lifers completely responsible by the actions of some of the wrong-headed memebers.

To tie this back, you are dangerously close to making /. a "bad village" where we are judged by the group we are in.

And as a Jew, I am required by religious law to not fill out any survey asking me my faith (dates back to the holocaust and before, btw.)

Do you judge me by my Pro-Lifeness?
Do you judge me by my Jewish Faith?

Back to the bad village with you, because I am proud, DAMN PROUD, to be an

-Anonymous Coward

There is already no privacy in the US (1)

ciurana (2603) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017918)

I find this article very disturbing. While he deals with the most obvious invasions to privacy, he forgets to address more subtle privacy rights such as financial privacy.

There are many stoopid laws in the United States that make financial privacy non-existent. Banks have to disclose all kinds of information about their customers. TRW and other credit agencies compound the problem. Any jerk who wants to sue, snoop, or whatever has almost immediate access to a person's financial information. Changes in the law metamorphosed the US banking industry from one that encouraged investing and safe keeping to one where banks must sell loans to make money. The Banking Secrecy Act of 1970 gives access to your financial records to almost anyone. US banks can't offer privacy to their customers by law, so they make their money selling loans--and we know what that means to the average Joe with several maxed-out credit cards. Do you enjoy getting all that junk mail? How do you feel when your assets are exposed because of a messy divorce?

I applauded the European's decision to curtail e-commerce unless privacy was protected at the same level as in Europe. I've had the fortune to work in Switzerland and Leichtenstein periodically, and I just love the high respect their societies have for privacy rights.

From cameras to computers, I'd sleep better if I knew my privacy is guarded, not invaded, by my government and financial institutions.

E

This seems naive to me, except for one bit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017919)

Every infant brought to the attention of a pro-choice doctor will most certainly die.

Only if the mother wants it to. Pro-choice doctors are not strapping unwilling pregnant mothers to the table.

Welcome to reality, fanatic.

Brin's fiction vs nonficiton. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017920)

I've found Brin's fiction to be too plodding. Lord, the uplift series was tedius. But, this quality may produce very favorable nonfiction. By this, I mean that Brin has probably thought through his points with a certain degree of completeness.

I will tell you one thing for sure. There had better be cameras in the police departments well placed before I submit to having any in my home. I sure hope after I read his book, I'll be able to say, "Interesting, but unnecessary because our rights to privacy are protected by the constitution of the United States."

KILL THIS GUY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017921)


Privacy is fucking KING. KILL HIM KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL

War is Peace... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017922)

...and less prvacy == safety? I think he has some valid points; in fact he may be right on about embracing cameras, but I'm afraid of some of his other ideas. For example, he thinks that anarchy can only result in tyranny. Somebody has to study U.S. history, and fast....

-lAMeduck

Crypto will die, according to Brin (1)

ciurana (2603) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017923)

Well, commercially available bug sweepers are about $350. I can also see a market in TEMPEST computers once people realize how vulnerable they are.

Ahem * Bullshit * ahem (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017924)

Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

So every one will be immediatly identifiable and traceable through an automated camera survelience system, but this will prevent the "elites" from operating outside public scrutiny? This guy is a moron.

Technically, what he propoeses, is infeasible and will be for years to come. How many people would it take to monitor all these cameras? And if the face recognition software really begins to function at a reasonable level, what is to stop a criminal from just wearing a mask or getting surgery? I can see how petty street theft might be stopped by this system, but to extrapolate and say that crime everywhere, especially corruption by business leaders and government, is absurd.

And his blithe assumption that people will grow up, which will prevent this lack of privacy from being problematic, is also absurd. If the past year has taught us anything it is that people are bitter, mean, and immature. (re. the Clinton scandal)

if we assume A and B, then C MUST be true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017925)

b) Take a stand on privacy and block measures that limit it. It would seem to me that not only is choice b more desirable, it's a lot easier to obtain.

Most metro county police departments have the technical ability to tap your phone, plant listening devices in your sofa, and track your car. They can do this without your knowledge, without any public "Hell, no!"

If police departments have the money for this sort of stuff, you can bet your sweet ass that your bank does, too... and Time-Warner, and IBM, and Operation Rescue, and the IRS.

Your privacy-stamping policy will wither and die because the surveilance is itself secret.

Puts this whole Clinton thing into perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017926)

They're all liars and crooks in Washington, and most of the time they get away with it. Clinton has told far more and worse lies than just what he's being impeached about. It's sheer chance that we could only get the goods on his most trivial deception. It's like getting Capone only on tax evasion. We have to make the most of it, and risk looking unfair, even silly. If only we could get the goods on China buying our foreign policy, for example.

Beware powerful men who insist upon their privacy. And if I have to sacrifice my own to know just what they're up to, it's worth the price. (Until then, I'll remain an Anonymous Coward.)

My analysis (1)

Julian Morrison (5575) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017927)

Transparency minimizes the threat of criminal data misuse (they would get caught).

Transparency reduces the risk of big-brother government (we would see them plotting), although it increases the threat from extant big-brother government.

Transparency increases the threat from stupid laws, because sane policement who turned a blind eye would be seen doing it, and sacked.

Transparency maximizes the threat of "tyranny of the majority" and discrimination on the basis of lifestyle, at least in the short run. In the long run this may be mitigated by transparency to unbiased outsiders. But, if the vast majority of people in a wide area are biased, they may be able to collaborate with impunity in their discrimination.

So what's the author's address/tel? Uh huh. Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017928)

Um, just because you can't find it doesn't mean it isn't publicly available.

Sure.....but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017929)

Just try to convince the cops or the FBI or anybody else that they should reciprocate or be "polite" and "courteous". I will admit that it's a very NICE idea, but one I just have to lump in with those who said that by 1973 we'd be living in
a sort of Gernsbackian Utopia of personal autogiros and traveltubes and weekend trips to the moon. Brin is a wonderful writer, but he's hasn't presented to me a pretext or model by which we can
be sure that everybody is playing fair.

I really wish I didn't feel like Hothead Paisan screaming "Do I have to spend EVERY second of my life preparing to be ATTACKED!?!?!?" when it came to dealing with my government, but I do.

When the Aliens are banging at the bulkheads, the last thing you do is open the pressure-door.

BTW, Virginia is leading a legal assault on the Miranda Rule right now....how's that for being open and trusting of the other side?

no,no,nO,NO,NO,NO,NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017930)

yea, right. The nice men in the government are going to do what we say with all of the surveilance data. They woun't abuse it--sure! Goddamnit, what makes you think that a person who has all the power is going to voluntarily deny himself of that power when it is so easy to hide his abuse. The answer to this is NO! We need as much privacy as we can get.

Remember basic class issues here (1)

Corin Royal Drummond (2187) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017931)

Brin use of this village metaphor is really annoying. He makes it sound like modern industrial societies are just a bunch of neigbors of relatively equal power.

The reality is that the hyper-rich and their corporations set the social agenda. One of the only protections working class folks have against a legal system designed to keep them in the service of the hyper-rich is privacy and anonymity. I can smoke pot in the back of a building if no one sees me, I can have sex on my lunch break, I can talk to my coworkers about how to stop the boss from instituting a new fucked up policy--as long as he can't see us.

The assumption that recipricol surveilance will translate to a "good village" model, fails to acknowlege that ours is a society of elites and plebes.

I hate all these neo-libertarian fucks like Wired magazine who act like technology disolves class relations. Wired regularly publishes these glowing articles about how you and your boss will soon live in a happy world because the Internet will create global harmony. Just because the ruling class is so strong that they are hard to fight doesn't mean that they are our friend. Socialists are right even if they've lost alot of battles.

I should mention as well, that working class organizing, such as social change movements and non-beaurocratic unionism, still are our most effective tools to promote quality of life and personal freedoms. Even if you can't beat the ruling class, you can certainly kick the fuck out of them over a specific issue. Like cameras on every corner for example.

And fuck reactionary assholes like Brin who says we should just let it happen. Although I do like his idea of publishing the abortion-doc-killers names.

Corin Drummond

Poor man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017932)

Yeah, maybe we could let the Marxists give Utopia another whirl.

Your view is very off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017933)

I'm not talking about your view on abortion. I personnally disagree with it, and until somebody can prove to me that those fetuses aren't sentient I'll remain in disagreement, but that's not why I think your view is off.

Sure there are a few nuts out there who will kill abortion doctors, but I doubt you will find many things for which someone criminally insane wouldn't kill. There are people who would kill for gun control, people who kill for relaxing gun control, people who kill to protect the environment, people who kill for their buisness, even people who kill because somebody cut them off at a traffic light. You have no excuse for grouping all people who believe we ought not be killing innocent children without first knowing whether or not they are alive together with the nut cases who kill others in the name of a cause. I might as well say that all of those pro-choice people overgeneralize and distort the facts to suite their fancy, but this in fact only discribes you, not the other pro-choice people I know.

Sounds Like Japanese Society (1)

Skip666Kent (4128) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017934)

Wherein the details of peoples private lives are difficult to hide. This makes people simultaneously careful of what they do and careful of what they accuse others of doing.

Courtesy and subtlety are beautiful, powerful things.

Have you forgotten... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017935)

...or are you so young that you went through the school system after they stopped teaching this anymore? Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying "Those who are willing to trade some liberty for some security, deserve neither liberty or security." The powerful will NEVER allow the little people the ability to watch them, though they will ALWAYS reserve the reciprocol power to themselves. Leaving your doors unlocked as a sign of trust is exactly what lead to the trend "home invasion" crimes. In this world, no one has the luxury to be so trusting anymore. My doors are always locked unless I'm stepping through them. It only takes one incidence of a criminal entering your home and harming you or your family and you'll never leave your door unlocked again. If even one criminal is out there somewhere, there is still a chance that YOU could be their next victim. That is unacceptable. As for governments and big business knowing lots about you: wake up, they've been doing it for so long already that we don't even notice. It's just that today, they have super computers to help catalog the information and make it usable.

damn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017936)

now where am i going to practice auto erotic ass-fick-see-ation ...

Out of Context Quoting is Fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017937)

> In modern day America, so many people are >eccentric in one way or another. So
> many people treasure being different from >normal in one way or another. That the
> majority values the tolerance of harmless >eccentricity. Movies that had black
> characters were largely responsible for the >end of racial prejudice.

Movies did all that?? Wow.
Let me treasure my eccentricity while I drink a
Pepsi(tm) and go watch some formula sitcom on NBC(tm).

Out of Context Quoting is Fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017938)

> In modern day America, so many people are eccentric in one way or another. So
> many people treasure being different from normal in one way or another. That the
> majority values the tolerance of harmless eccentricity. Movies that had black
> characters were largely responsible for the end of racial prejudice.

Movies did all that?? Wow.
Let me treasure my eccentricity while I drink a
Pepsi(tm) and go watch some formula sitcom on NBC(tm).

reciprocity is a crock (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017939)

What are the odds that the government would let me walk into Fort Meade (for the non-paranoid/non american slashdotters, that's the headquarters of our NSA) and put up a webcam? Not very good.
My basic attitude here is, as long as they have secrets, so can I.
Cameras on every streetcorner? The system would be abused, both by the government and by the large corporations. Not a bright picture of the future. It would be something like "babylon 5" meets "the x-files".

Out of Context Quotes are Fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017940)

>In modern day America, so many people are eccentric in one way or another. So
> many people treasure being different from normal in one way or another. That the
> majority values the tolerance of harmless eccentricity. Movies that had black
> characters were largely responsible for the end of racial prejudice.

Movies did all that?? Wow.
Let me value my eccentricity while I drink a Pepsi(tm) and go watch a formula sitcom on
NBC(tm).

You're not paying attention! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017941)

How many people would it take to monitor all these cameras?

None. You make ALL camera feeds freely available on the Internet! Like current survelance cameras, 99% of the time nobody will be wathing them... but since you cannot predict a priori when somebody will, they function as a deterent. And, if all the video streams are recorded, then whenever a crime takes place, there IS a record.

Brin == idiot (1)

Your own stupidity (14554) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017942)

He frets about the elite groups being the only ones with access if the technology is forced underground, so he counters this by giving everyone access to a zillion times more info than they would have had otherwise, INCLUDING the elite groups, which will be the only ones the with resources to do any useful analysis on it (data-mining).

This is kinda like, "Nuclear weapons in the hands of elite groups will destroy the world, so let's counter this by issuing everybody their own personal H-bomb."

While this is a little off topic (1)

Troy (3118) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017943)

I do want to point something out. First, a few disclaimers:
1. I'm extraordinarily undecided on the abortion issue.
2. Hence, I'm not advocating any stance - we just aren't going to go there
3. As a Christian, I have serious issues with some of the tactics used by many of the more visible anti-abortion demonstrators. Not only are several of their more peaceful tactics insufficiently redemptive, but their more violent tactics are absolutely unacceptable.

With that said, it seems that you have a few misconceptions about the mindset of many people who adhere to the pro-life (or as you put it, anti-choice) view. Pro-lifers don't necessarily want to force their view on other people. They don't think, "Hey, I want to make these other people believe exactly what I do."....or at least, you don't have to think that to adhere to the pro-life view.

At the crux of this debate is this question: When does a mass of undifferentiated cells become a human being? People who uphold the pro-life view believe, for whatever reason, that it happens at conception. Therefore, as soon as that sperm and egg unite, you have a person. The logical conclusion of this belief is that abortion essentially amounts to murder. Thus, pro-lifers believe that since abortion is murder, and murder is wrong, they have a moral obligation to do what they can to stop it.

So, it's not necessarily about going on a power trip and imposing your views on other. It can also be about simply being true to one's own morality... believing that a fetus is a human being, and thus acting on that belief to try to preserve human life. It is essentially no different than trying to stop someone who believes that black people really aren't human beings.

Now, you can disagree with the first belief (that a human being is made at conception), and that's your right (really, no single belief on that subject is really more or less arbitrary than another). But understand that whatever a person's views are on that, the consequences with regard to abortion are unavoidable. Thus, we ought to understand that any one person's actions with regard to this subject is most likely a result of the moral obligation they feel as a result of that first belief, and not necessarily a desire to impose one's will on others.

Now, this DOES NOT excuse the actions of those who perpetuate violence, hostility, anger and general nastiness towards people in the pro-choice camp... nor does it excuse similar actions, the other way. However, it does help us to understand people better, and see them more as human beings, and not inhumane monsters. And once we do that, we can stop name calling and labelling, and start dealing with the difficult, heart wrenching questions that riddle every side of this topic, and find CONSTRUCTIVE ways of act out our moral impulses.

We humans are far too ready to name call and far too hesistant to dialogue, share and search together.

Once again, I just want to point out that I AM NOT ADVOCATING THE PRO-LIFE VIEW...I have just as many problems with pro-life as pro-choice...I'm simply pointing out the thought processes that many pro-lifers go through, in an effort that a pro-choicers will read it, think, "Well, I could see how someone could think that" and arrive at the better understanding of another human being.

Star Trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017944)

Reminds me of Star Trek society... Basically, anyone can know what almost anyone else is doing at any time. If someone does something wrong (ie: shoots someone), everyone can know about it immediately. Perhaps thinking of our "transparent" future as being like Star Trek will help some of you understand the benefits.

Is this Star Trek future unplausable?

government, class, and privacy (1)

mackga (990) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017945)

Interesting read. If his point is valid, that transparancy is coming whether we like it or not, then the little people are basically fucked. All things being equal, no government is going to open up its workings to the, ahem, electorate. That would mean accountability. Rich folks - and I mean the dudes that can buy a GV to fly to meetings and not worry about the cost - will never, ever, never allow transparancy. What about large corporations, ms comes to mind, that don't want the information about the dirty tricks they use to get out? Sure, sometimes info gets out now, but most stays inside.

Nope, I'm sorry. Even if it is coming, the way society is structured right now, there are already too many "elites" with too much to loose, to have anything like fair and equitable non-privacy happen. People in the US, while most of the time totally out of it due to exessive tv watching, beer gluzzling, spousal infidelity, overall greed and selfishness, do sometimes draw the line when shit like this really makes no sense. Sure, the IRS has my number; the bank knows my spending/ saving (what's THAT?) habits. On-line shills know my cc number, email address, buying habits; sure some company that I pay protection to knows my credit rating (mortgage company). But, do these assholes know what I do when I get home at night? Nope, never will.

Personal privacy - PERSONAL privacy - does have meaning here in the US. God knows not much else does these days.

This seems naive to me, except for one bit. (1)

Phillip Birmingham (2066) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017946)

Every infant brought to the attention of a pro-choice doctor will most certainly die.


You mean they're going to try to snatch my five-month-old niece out of my sister's arms and kill her?

Or do you want to re-visit that statement?

Any foreign viewpoints? (1)

typo (15376) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017947)

In New Zealand, my homeland, I felt as though I had a high level of privacy. On reflection, I now believe this was because life was never disrupted in any obvious way by people or organisations using information about me not directly given by me. Individual organisations were collecting it of course, the supermarket, the bank, the tax department, but they was OK.

Now I am in Denmark, where the absolute opposite is true.

Denmark uses what is called a CPR-number, roughly translated to Citizen Personal Number, and everywhere you go, this number is asked for. The number is written on a little card called the Health Insurance card, and everyone carries one to prove what their CPR-number is.

The number has been asked off me so many times it is amazing: hospitals, doctors, dentists, banks, insurance, phone companies, renting our apartment, libraries, buying on hire purchase, video rental, schools and universities, driving school, police, immigration, unemployment bureau, and absolutely EVERYTHING that is directly government run.

Throughout my daily life I am constantly reminded that there is NO privacy. It may have been the same in New Zealand, but if so, it was done in the background, leading to a much more pleasant life.

(It is highly likely that my expereinces are not that of the average Dane, as I am a foreigner in their country and an enitre suite of different laws apply to foreigners.)

Denmark's latest iniative, which is not in place yet, is making a DNA register of all people that come in contact with the police. As a foreigner living in a small Danish town I am required yearly to seek residence permission for the next year, through the local police station. I am not sure if this would mean that I would give a DNA sample for their register, but from the wording of the proposal, I am expecting to.

I can not compare either country with the US, I have never been there. But I can compare them with each other.

In New Zealander organisations collected information and made no big deal about it. It was OK, it was cool, it was in the background, I felt free.

In Denmark, it is upfront, organisations want your details before they want your cash. This aggressive approach gives a feeling of being locked in and having no freedom.

Ironically, apart from the CPR-number, the actual details the two countries collected are about the same. But it feels SOO different.

You're naive to think cameras won't be everywhere (1)

Great_Jehovah (3984) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017948)

You're naive to think cameras won't be everywhere. Given that they will, how shall we deal with it?

Regulations that restrict the usage of cameras are futile because they are impractical to enforce. The problem is one of verifying compliance.

If, on the other hand, the output of all public cameras was required to be public, anyone could easily verify compliance.

Complex regulations favor the powerful because only the powerful have the resources to find or create loopholes.

The Transparent Society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017949)

If you had $1 gigabucks in your mattress, in a transparent society perhaps no one in the "good village" would dare to walk in and take it.

But what stops the WHOLE VILLAGE from ganging up, walking in, beating the crap out of you and/or killing you, and taking the cash to split it up amongst them? Nothing. The entire premise assumes not only that there is someone watching, but that there's someone willing and able to DO something about it.

To me, this is the flaw in Brin's analysis. Just because you know something is going on, doesn't mean there's a damn thing you can do about it.

Even if there's reciprocal transparency and everyone can see the Gestapo come in and take familes away, will anyone try to stop them if they know the attempt will mean THEIR family is the next taken away? Will people march to protest when the troops simply come out and start shooting -- even if all the cameras in the world are watching?

For the time being.. (1)

aprentic (1832) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017950)

until quantum computers come around and blow up everything except for OTPs.

Nurse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017951)


Ya skipped mine, too. He was being nice! Brin is the new Salmon Rushdie!!!

Not so far from the truth, even today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017952)

Naturally, I don't have one of these things in my bedroom or bathroom, but I doubt leaving your door unlocked and letting your neighbors stop by whenever they want implies that they can slip into your bedroom or bathroom either.

You've missed the point. Under Brin's proposal, there WILL be cameras in your bedroom and bathroom. Everyone will know who you're screwing; everyone will know how much dental floss you use; everyone will see what you read when you sit on the can. And you can't turn the cameras off, like you can with the one you've got now.

Different, ain't it?

Wtf? Where did Hemos learn to speak english? (1)

Crow- (35) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017953)

"Brin's got an interesting take alright-nutshell is rather then try and fight the cameras that are going to go no matter what, make them so ubiqutous that everyone can know-but also reinstate the courtesy inherent in living in a collective sense, like the village of yore. The article is definietly worth a read."

I read this sentence (if you want to call it that) about 6 times and I still can't grasp what it's trying to say.

Assorted rambling (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017954)

Hmm... Time for a little thought-experiment here.

Let's take the very pessimistic view that .02% of all people have committed murder.

Now, let's say that some study shows that .02% of Christians have committed murder (no offense, anyone), and in doing so targeted 50% abortionists, and that 75% of all murders of abortionists generate publicity.

Does this authorize anyone to go on about about the threat of all those Christian murderers out there? (This is a very valid question; I'm not trying to imply an answer).

Btw, I could easily claim that I'm committing murder in the name of any-deity-you-happen-to-believe-in-here; Does this somehow connect them to you?

Bravo! (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017955)

The idea that the gov't would allow publicly-accessible cameras into what are presently secure installations is folly; Stuff-we-aren't-wanted-to-know would just move there. Information-hiding will become something only done by the rich, because they WILL still be able to do it...

The Problem with Britain's Cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017956)

There was a show on CBC Newsworld about the upcoming "surveillance society."
One particular story involved a man who was at one point in his life rather depressed, and went to a street corner to just hang out and think about things. He also had a large knife with him (perfectly legal to own, understand). The surveillance cameras caught him standing around looking at his knife.
Flash forward 2 years, he's employed and doing well. He gets a call from his boss and is fired for being a dangerous felon. Why? The security tapes are sold and broadcast on TV, a la FOX's World's Scariest Animals Attack etc.
A man is out of a job for no reason.
How's about THAT, Mr. Brin???

Later in the show, they interviewed some University-aged kids plastering BIG yellow stickers on the camera poles, warning fellow citizens that they were being watched.

So, if we allow the cameras, shouldn't we also be allowed some modicum of defense from the cameras?

Discuss :)

-reggie from riverdale

Innovation will win. (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017957)

Brin underestimates folks there. It may be through some device such as a Secure jRing, but folks WILL find a way to keep their data private.

Have you forgotten... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017958)

he powerful will NEVER allow the little people the ability to watch them, though they will ALWAYS reserve the reciprocol power to themselves.

Uh, by definition, if they reserve the power to themselves, it isn't reciprocol...

Reminds me of a book (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017959)

Brin's statements remind me of a book by David Drake, Lacey and his Friends. Cameras recorded literally every second of your life, everywhere. Not even the police were exempt. The only protection was that there was so much being recorded that random or casual searches had become impossible. Even with those limitations, Lacey was an unsettling example of what an unscrupulous person could do in that system. Adding modern computers and their ability to search vast quantities of data quickly to that gives me a very bad feeling.

No, I'm afraid I don't agree with Mr. Brin on this subject.

Hmm... (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017960)

Your CC# can be hidden from the waiter; I may be working on such a system this summer.

The car to your left stops not only because you're first but also because they fear an accident or a ticket.

Trust, in large societies, is something which (unfortunetely) has to be minimized.

Us murderrers, us hiders, us anonymous cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017961)

>If you are indeed simulateously pro-life and >anti-choice then you are indeed butting into >other people's lives or advocating that the >government do it for you.

I love this argument. I just proves why 99% of the arguing going on about abortion is meaningless.

Let's replace the words "anti-choice" with "anti-murder". Now, I think no sane person would argue with the statement that we damn well want the government butting into the lives of people who are murdering other people. The only difference between the pro-abortion and anti-abortion sides is that we anti-abortion folks believe abortion is murder. And leaving the issue of abortion aside for a moment (it is way, way off-topic), we sure as hell want the government imposing the morality of "murder is wrong" on everyone.

This is similar to whole issue of "The government can't legislate morality!" which is the stupidest argument I've ever heard. Almost everything the government does is legislating morality and butting into people's lives. It just happens to be a morality that is more-or-less universally agreed upon. Do you think laws against murder, stealing, rape, child-abuse, what-have-you are not moral issues?

Back to the real topic...

I think the biggest flaw in this whole transparecy issue is that information equals power. I may know as much about you as you do me, but that doesn't help me if you abuse that information. It seems that this lack of privacy forces eternal and infinite vigilance from those who do not which to be exploited. I've got other things to do.

You think it's bad now, just wait...

Rick the Anonymous Coward

Hackers and pro-lifers: a comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017962)

Confusing those who believe that abortion should be illegal with the crazies who murder abortionists is the same mistake the media makes when they confuse hackers with crackers.

And regarding the idea that pro-life advocates implicitly approve of the terrorists:

One could just as easily argue that RMS approves of Warez because he says that "Piracy" is too harsh a word for what the Warez scum do.

I know RMS is not trying to imply any approval of Warez by that. You make the application to the abortion issue.

A story about highway cameras in Plano, Texas (1)

root (1428) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017963)

A camera was installed along a highway to "improve public safety". A couple of weeks later, the camera stopped sending a signal back. County workers were dispatched to investigate. The camera had been shot to pieces with a scatter gun. The camera was replaced. Two days later it had been shot up again. And again it was replaced. After the third time it was blown to bits, the county decided that it was more expense than it was worth and it never appeared again.

This seems naive to me, except for one bit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017964)

When does a mass of undifferentiated cells become a human being?

When it gets it's own job and moves out the damn house, that's when! Some zygotes NEVER become human beings, they become LAWYERS!

Star Trek (1)

jbuhler (489) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017965)

I think your view of the "Star Trek surveillance society" is biased by the fact that ST:TOS, ST:TNG, ST:DS9, and ST:V all are intimately connected with Star Fleet, the military arm of the Federation. I don't recall pervasive surveillance in any of snapshots of "normal" civilian life.

Moreover, all the cameras in the galaxy didn't prevent numerous and massive screwups by Star Fleet which required the exertions of its most famous captains to uncover. See, for example, the most recent Star Trek movie.

The trouble is, there are never enough Jean-Luc Picards to go around.

New Edition out in May; important point (1)

Peter_Thompson (5276) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017966)

That is a very important point. It is one that he raised quite a bit in other interviews - that we need to have an eye on the people in power. That means we have cameras (and microphones) in *ALL* public places, and *ALL* government buildings. Those people work for us, we should be able to see what they are doing with our money.

ANYTHING YOU SAY MAY BE USED AGAINST YOU! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017967)

This is one of the stupidest articles of all
time. If his argument were about guns instead
of cameras, it would go like this:

"Since guns cannot be banned (because then only
outlaws would have guns), and since obviously
technology is going to have us ankle-deep in guns
on every street anyway (government officers
are already carrying guns around), everybody
should have a gun permanently attached to his
chest and aimed at his heart, triggerable by
remote control. The result will be a politer
society because we'll all have to learn to be polite enough not to pull each other's triggers.
And government guns wouldn't be abused because
the officers would have guns pointed at them, as
well."

It is easy to see that only evil people would
benefit from a "transparent society." Good
people have no interest in spying on others,
they are only interested in doing productive
work, like making shoes or potato chips or
Alpha microprocessors or science fiction novels.
Evil people, though, would LOVE to know when
you're not home, or when you're doing something
taboo so they can stop you. Just as, a good
person would hesitate to pull someone else's
trigger, but an evil person wouldn't.

What other people know CAN hurt you. And it
doesn't help that you have cameras back on
them, because

1. If you're a good person, you'll hesitate
to use those cameras; you'll probably be too
busy, anyway.
2. You won't know who to look for.
3. There are more of them than you. And the
longer the time period, the more of them
there are.

The only solution to the problem of privacy is to
make it so YOUR personal information, such as
your address, your buying preferences, and so
forth, is YOUR intellectual property, and cannot
be collected, distributed, modified, or archived
without your consent. That way, you'd have the
right to prevent it from being used against you.
And that's the ONLY way you can have that right.

It is not copyright. When you move, the new
resident shouldn't have to ask you for permission
to use the address for 100 years. Also, you can't
write "copyright (c) 1999" on your address all
the time!!! But it would be similar.
People would have to ask your permission to share
your address, or your old address (if it were
done in such a way that people knew it was YOUR
OLD address.) Even the government would need
permission (they'd have to get a warrant or issue
a subpoena, respectively -- and that means
Probable Cause).

The idea that you have to sacrifice freedom for
security, or vice-versa, is false. YOUR FREEDOM
_IS_ YOUR SECURITY. You can't give up one without losing the other as well.

Individual rights are INALIENABLE. Does anybody
remember what that means anymore? It means that
your rights are part of who you are, as necessary
to your survival as your arm or hand, and cutting
off somebody's rights is like cutting off their
hand. Everybody has the same rights -- no one has
the "right" to violate anyone else's rights. No
one has a right in a group, such as a country,
that they would not have had living alone on a
desert island. The idea that you have to give
up some of your rights to live in society is
absurd. What rights are those? The "right" to
have anything you want? The "right" to commit
murder? When did you ever have such a right to
be able to give up? On the other hand, do you
have a right to food, to fame, to do anything you
want without regard for consequences? What desert
island would give you those? As you can see,
you do NOT owe society a "hand" -- and neither
does it owe you one.

The sole purpose of government is to protect
people from each other, which means, to protect
their RIGHTS. It does this by asserting a
monopoly on the use of physical force, and then NOT using it -- except in retaliation against
those who initiate its use. The government
does not protect people from themselves. It
does not take away from some to give to others.
It serves basically as a policeman. Only.

Property is a fundamental right. If you grow
food, it's yours to eat, or to sell. Intellectual
property is a corollary right. If you have ideas,
they're yours to sell. When you produce for
others instead of yourself, you are a SLAVE.

Your personal information is YOUR personal
information!

The right to privacy IS something you would have
alone. You wouldn't have to worry about people's
constant attention, or the approval or
disapproval of everything you say and do that
would follow. You wouldn't have to worry about
your family, your boss, the local preacher,
knowing about everything you do and desiring to
stop you or punish you.

-- And, you shouldn't have to worry about that in
SOCIETY, either. Q.E.D.

Another SF view of total surveillance (1)

jbuhler (489) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017968)

Now seems a good time to mention that David Brin isn't the only SF author who has considered the implications of a total surveillance society. Check out David Drake's short story collection Lacey and his Friends for an alternative viewpoint. I read it years ago, but a quick check reveals that it's still for sale cheap on amazon.com.

Not anarchy but democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017969)


This is taken from a writer who lived during colonial times. I find it frighteningly accurate.

------------------------------------------

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only
exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from
the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the
candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the
result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed
by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has
been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the
following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith
to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from
selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to
dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

- Alexander Tyler, The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic 1748-1813

Have you forgotten... (1)

Exanter (2171) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017970)

Exactly. Anyone who REALLY thinks that everyone will be recripicol in this case needs to get their head examined. This most certainly is NOT a perfect world, but utopia is pretty much the unmentioned ingredient in this "no-privace-curteous-village" scenario. Utopia we ain't got, so this village thing really ain't gonna work...

Egads, but I really think the creators of Shadowrun had/have something here...

what a crock (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017971)

Where do you live that waiters get $7/hr?
They get $2.13 here in Texas.

yes, very shaky (1)

Jim McCoy (3961) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017972)

And how exactly do you think you will key your encryption? How will you do I/O to this perfect little black box? Why is is that keyboard sniffers still work? Do you use a tempest shielded system? Are you doing all of your work in a room which you have checked for video cameras? The reality of how crypto is used is pretty much a joke at the user level.

Strong crypto on modern operating systems is like putting a 10cm iron door onto a paper mache house (and for Linux/FreeBSD/etc the house is one of tinfoil; a little better but still not good enough.) BTW, you are the one who should go back and read AC...there is only one unbreakable system which is called a one-time pad and you have to use as many bits as you have message bits, so it is kind of impractical.

jim

Reciprocity is the key (1)

Bryan Andersen (16514) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017973)

A society with this level of survalence will need reciprocity in order to survive. I don't see how it could without it. If you collect information on X, you must also make that information you collect available. This means if you place a camera on your street corner, you must also allow others to tap into it's images. If you collect credit information on people, you must allow others to see the information you collect. If you gather and collect store purchace information on customers, you must also allow others to see that information. This would need to be applied accross the board to all sectors of society, from the private citizen through the commercial corporation to all levels of the government.

If you structured the laws so that access to the information you collect must me made freely available, and accessible. Then reciprocity creates a kind of tax on those willing to collect the info. It means thay have to spend lots of money to also make it available to others as well as them selves. I like that. It will make companies think twice about collecting personal information on people.

I'm at a loss as wether the information should be available in it's raw form only, or if conclusions based on the collected information should also be published. I tend twards also forcing the publication of the conclusions. It will help people to know why the data was gathered in the first place.

It does have it's down sides too, only the technological empowered will have the means to do anything with the information, there will be so much of it available. Is this so bad? Also for on going investigations by police, etc, could be hampered, but that may be able to handled some way with possibly a short delay before publication of conclusions.

Re: the Irony is killing me (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017974)

Hey,
Mebbe he's posting as an AC.. I'm not, and I agree with him...
I'm no angel, but I've got no problem with anyone scrutinising my life... As long as they agree to be just as up front an honest about themselves.
I've lived in places like the 'good town'.. Small villages, where life _is_ good... And awful friendly.. People use what they know about you to help you better yourself...
I've lived in places like the 'bad village'.. Where people are out to see what they can get out of you..
And to date, they have been 'village' sized..
But I agree.. It won't be like that for long..

Democracy to Tryanny and back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017975)

THis was written by someone (a lawyer, I believe) during Colonial times. I found it frighteningly accurate

-------------------------


A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only
exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from
the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the
candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the
result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed
by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has
been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the
following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith
to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from
selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to
dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

- Alexander Tyler, The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic 1748-1813


reality check (1)

stuboy (17315) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017976)

hello? is there anyone out there that actually out there????? this is another one of those lovely "perfect world" type of things. once again the only people who will actually end up being watched are the normal middle class people. just like everything else, this is aimed at everyone, but can not possibly be implemented. another almost good idea, that will, if implemented be destroyed by money and power. "watch everyone, but me" cause i have money and know the people to know...
come on people. wake up. haven't you read 1984? the cameras, the lack of life? fools!

I expect this out of the Brits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017977)

Apparently you aren't aware that both countries are full representative democracies with the royalty of old having been nothing more than figureheads for well over a century now.

There is no reason to hide when you have nothing to hide and no one can hide anything from you. The problem with the digital editing argument is that you have to silence all the other witnesses/cameras as well.

Nothing to hide,
Jeffrey Crider

He's RIGHT (1)

Elf Sternberg (13087) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017978)

Look, he isn't tasking about just the government. He's talking about EVERYTHING-- the information collected about you on the 'net, the way banks "datamine" your credit card information to sell you "targeted" material, the way information brokerages know your entire history of buying and selling. With a powerful enough engine, someone could put together an intersection of data about you that would lay out your whole damn life.

Now, do you:

(a) demand the status quo, in which only those with money have access to the databases. This gives you the illusion of privacy (your next door neighbor can't find out what's in those databases). Unfortunately, it also means that corporations and governments now control, if not your ass individually, then the collective ass of those around you. They can, through old-fashioned "target" advertising, affect enough people to vote one way or the other, to buy MS over anything else, and to make you think that freedom of speech is a dangerous thing.

(b) Demand that the databases be opened up? This grants you the freedom to decide for yourself how the information about you is used, and gives you the power to organize grass roots opposition, now that you know who the enemy may be. (It also presupposes an Internet anyone can participate in, as opposed to (a), in which the powers that be come to control the Internet, selling this control to the majority by arguing that it 'safer', 'better', 'faster' that way.) This does destroy any illusions of privacy you might have had.

Your choice.

US History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017979)

Yes, read your US history. Particularly, read the history of the two attempts at Confederacies, both the pre-Federal US government which I can never remember the name of and the Civil War CSA.

In both cases, a strong leader rose up. In the first case, our Federal government rose up. In the second case, Jefferson Davis became nearly a dictator just to get things done and the stronger US government rode over them partially because they weren't effectively sharing resources.

Nothing to hide,
Jeffrey Crider

Re: While this is a little off topic (1)

Gleef (86) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017980)

Troy wrote:

With that said, it seems that you have a few misconceptions about the mindset of many people who adhere to the pro-life (or as you put it, anti-choice) view. Pro-lifers don't necessarily want to force their view on other people. They don't think, "Hey, I want to make these other people believe exactly what I do."....or at least, you don't have to think that to adhere to the pro-life view.

While I would certainly agree with the statement (that pro-lifers don't necessarily want to force their views) on a literal level, the vast majority of the vocal and organized movements that call themselves pro-life actively try to encourage lawmakers and judges to make the medical procedure of induced abortion either illegal or almost inaccessible. I would call this wanting to force their views. No, they aren't looking to force people to share their beliefs, but they are looking to force everyone to act in accordance with their belief system. I consider this worse from an ethical standpoint, since it will prevent others from acting according to their own belief system.


People who uphold the pro-life view believe ... that abortion essentially amounts to murder. Thus, pro-lifers believe that since abortion is murder, and murder is wrong, they have a moral obligation to do what they can to stop it.

That is fine, but they need to accept that many people do not consider it murder, and that it is not legally murder, and that if they succeed in preventing abortion by force of law, they would perpetuate many wrongs. They would prevent others from legally acting according to their own concience. They would bring back the back alley black market abortionists that caused so much pain and suffering in the US before Roe v Wade.

On the other hand, there are many things a pro-life person can do to "do what they can to stop it.":
* They can help teach sexual responsibility to our youth. For those that they feel are too young to discuss sexual matters with, they can just teach general emotional and personal responsibility.
* They can help support effective contraceptive products, or even stop picketing the places that, in many communities, are the only places that supply such products.
* They can actively support adoption centers, and make it clear that there is an alternative to abortion.
Most organizations calling themselves "pro-life" seem to actually fight against education and contraception. This makes me think that they really are in it for the power trip. I do realize that the organizations do not speak for all the people who call themselves "pro-life", however.

I would have a lot more respect for the pro-life movement if it were to:
* Actively denounce the people performing violence in their name; and
* Distance themselves from the political organizations, such as the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition. Politics and ethics don't often mix, and if they want their ethical stand to be heard, they shouldn't hang around so many politicians.

Thought. (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017981)

Well, as we see once again..
Someone who hasn't bothered to put the slightest thought before bursting out into a tirade..
I sure hope it was a joke.. Sure looked like one..
And.. May I be the first to say 'Happy seventh Birthday'??
It's part of the fun of life.. Looking at something like this idea, and seeing how you could make it actually work out well..
Try it sometime... Who knows, you may even like it..

I don't think Brin understands SQUAT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017982)

about human nature. In the US, we've become more voyeuristic than ever, and it's not Brin's rumored "politeness" that we're seeing. In some quarters, people make their actions (brazen violence or disregard for others) MORE visible, and couldn't care less about what people think. Surveylance may elicit more "polite" behavior, but only from people that actually CARE (people who were polite to begin with). For those that don't give a rat's hiney, it won't make a bit of difference.

As for Brin's statistics on crime prevention in the U.K. that has allegedly resulted from public surveylance, they don't tell the full story. For another perspective, visit www.privacy.org [privacy.org] , which discusses the issue of public surveylance in much greater detail.

This seems naive to me, except for one bit. (1)

Prothonotar (3324) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017983)

The problem is that the anti-abortion "activists" are, by any ordinary definition, criminally insane.

I know no definition of criminally insane which includes anti-abortionism; perhaps you'd like to clarify.

They murder people who disagree with them.

Since the U.S. is well divided between anti- and pro-abortionists, it stands to reason that there would be no one left in the U.S. if your statement was correct.

...This is not true of pro-choice people.

I bet one could scour some prisons and find quite a few pro-choice people who have murdered others.

Anti-choice people have an essentially totalitarian mindset. For them, practicing their beliefs means forcing other people to practice their beliefs, by violent means if necessary.

Wrong. The good citizen easily recognizes that every personal liberty is tempered by the liberty of others, and therefore personal choice is always limited. I can physically choose to go out in the street and kill people at random, yet would you call those who would prevent me from doing so totalitarians? The anti-abortionists, even the violent extremists, see themselves not as limiting the choices of the potential mothers, but rather as defending the right of the unborn children. They view the unborn child as a human life, and as a human life, the right to live supercedes the right of the potential mother to terminate pregnancy. Whether you agree with that position or not is irrelevant; the important thing is that you become capable of understanding the position, so that your arguments against it can be more rational and thus convincing.

The Christians do track people down and kill them from time to time (for the greater glory of the one of the most committed pacifists in human history :)

Just as the Bolsheviks slaughtered the Russian royal family, children and all. And they were Atheists (at least Lenin was). Does that indicate that Atheists slaughter children? Of course not! More interesting in your argument is that all Christians (that I know of!) are humans, therefore every transgression you ascribe to Christians you must also ascribe to humans. If it is Christiantity you want to attack, then talk about the religion and not the false prophets who blasphemize it.

The real problem here is that law-enforcement and government in general tend to be relatively benign with reference to anti-choice terrorism. Islamic terrorism requires stringent measures to combat it;

This is a paradox. Islamic fundamentalism is much more restrictive in terms of individualism than the anti-abortion movement. The difference in how we treat different forms of terrorism has nothing to do with how restrictive the philosophies behind them are and more to do with how much we relate to them. Islamic terrorism is perceived to be worse than Christian terrorism because as a society we cannot as easily relate to the Islamic terrorists. I imagine the situation is quite different in Arab countries.

A weak government is not a guarantee of freedom. It is a guarantee of chaos that will be followed by tyranny.

Yes, yes! Right on. (Yes, he says he may be wrong, and I say he and I both may be wrong -- but his examples are valid and IMHO very relevant.)

His examples are not valid, IMO, because he is talking about a different kind of weak government than libertarians talk about. What he is talking about is a government which cannot enforce law and order; libertarians talk about a government which does not extend beyond that point. Just as Brin's idea of the "good village" will be made up of people who can do things but don't, the libertarian idea of "good government" is one that can do things, but does not.


--
Aaron Gaudio
"The fool finds ignorance all around him.

Replay of the same theory (1)

fallous (10136) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017984)

Sounds like Brin has been reading The Truth Machine, a recent SF book on the effects of a machine lie detector on society. While Brin does make some interesting points, perhaps I'm just reactionary in believing that principles of privacy exist not to serve society per se but to serve the individual, and through the chaotic interactions of individuals with those rights society is indirectly served.

Brave New World (1)

Prothonotar (3324) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017985)

Reminds me more of Brave New World society. Not only does everyone know what you are doing, but you are programmed to do it (ahem....commercial television). Perhaps thinking of our "transparent" future as being like Brave New World will help some of you understand the costs.

(And yes, a Star Trek future *is* unplausible; the Russians tried, the Cubans tried it, the Chinese tried it....they all failed [some just haven't admitted it yet].)
--
Aaron Gaudio
"The fool finds ignorance all around him.

Are you insane? The Japanese are repressed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017986)

Japanese society is very similar to Victorian society in a number of respects. Do you know that the highest recorded number of prostitutes per capita was observed in Victorian London? Repression in public leads to debauchery in private. Have you seen a Japanese porn site, for God's sake? Sick and twisted!

Yours truly,
A.C.

Dictatorship of the Proletariat (1)

Prothonotar (3324) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017987)

Why does everyone fear big government and yet not fear the oppression of the mob of society. Face it, government, even when large and tyrannical, does not influence your day-to-day life as much as your peers do. I fear a society which knows everything about me not so much because government will misuse the information (although I fear that too), but because my neighbors will misuse the information. One need only see the popularity of tabloid newspapers and television to see my point.
--
Aaron Gaudio
"The fool finds ignorance all around him.

We should care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017988)

Even though right now these types of privacy invasions are not necessarily being used for bad purposes, but why allow the infrastructure to be put in place? We don't know know what they'll be used for in the future.

you don't seem to have seriously digested the idea (1)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017989)

I'm a bit biased, because I like Brin, and I've read some of his other essays on the subject, so perhaps I have a bit more experience with the topic. However, I get the impression that you just skimmed the article and then posted a quick reaction before thinking about what he said.

If the majority of the public doesn't want cameras, then the majority of the public won't have access to the cameras that the minority put in place. Nevermind silly Orwellian ideas of Big Brother... I'm not suggesting that there is/would be some shadow organization with cameras. There are and will be cameras and other monitoring devices used, with growing frequency, in the future. Stores and banks have had CCTV for years. Do you refuse to shop or bank because you might be caught on tape?

I agree with Brin that we should accept the technology and demand access to the data on ourselves and our neighbors. If everybody has access to the same information, then we all start from ground zero together.

The technology is here. It is being used. Deal with it. Sticking your head in the sand won't stop the steamroller that is technology.

if we assume A and B, then C MUST be true (1)

mssymrvn (15684) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017990)

However, I believe that his point is that if you don't pick choice A) that the powers that be (big government and big business) will implement it anyway, without your knowledge - whether you like it or not. I wouldn't be shocked to see this happen, but predicting the future is tough. I don't necessarily agree with A) and as it is now, actually dislike A. The job will be to keep it from happening ever.

At the same time, I'm very pro 2nd Amendment. If the people are armed, the government is less likely to do something foolish or unpopular. Have doubts about this: then read some memoirs of the Founding Fathers and you'll find this to be exactly why the 2nd Amendment is in The Constitution (also known as toilet paper to some politicians in the USA). The problem that I have is that most guns are used for something other than checks and balances (crime) and it has put a severely bad face on firearms. I have little faith that having cameras everywhere would be any different.

I will say that the one thing I'm very afraid of is the government and big business having all of the power and the individual left to be exploited. It's good reason to revolt.

Any overseas takers on this issue?



nick

Cameras used for entertainment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017991)

There was a TV documentary about those Brit street cameras
and apparently the city the operated those cams sold some
footage of a man commiting suicide to some TV stations,
were it was broadcasted as amusement. In the US too, a
lot of people kill themselves in front of (highway) cams.

In the end hanging cameras on every streetcorner will
turn the whole planet into one freaking Jerry Springer
Show complete with murder, suicide, rape and other
atrocities and people won't give a damn. So much for
the 'return to the good village' that the SciFi writer
speculates about.

My Ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017992)

Yeah, like I want just anybody looking at my ass in the shower.

This guy's ideas are a stalker's dream.

Hello? It's not the same people we have to worry about for safety, it's the nuts. This stuff about people not committing crimes because people will see them is rubbish.

BULLSHIT (1)

Laxitive (10360) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017993)

This is complete and utter crap. Some leftover hippie has let the crack go to his head. He is completely fucking naive.

While the "good village" future is indeed very nice, it is in NO WAY going to happen in the situation we are currently in. We live in a world that is essentially run by companies, and the one thing that companies really care for is $$$$$$$. They dont give a SHIT about courtesy, they dont give a SHIT about respect, the only thing that appears on their radar is profit.

Oh wouldnt it be wonderful if we could just all get along, respect each other! and live in peace and harmony. We can live in the fucking land of oz. And all of us would be safe because all of us would know everything about each other. THen we can be truly free. Go to a fucking nudist camp.

This article pisses me off. When I see crackheads like him get money for publishing regurgitated feces...

-Laxative

Can't put the Genie back into the bottle. (1)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017994)

If there's one thing history has taught us is that no matter how much people may want to, we simply can't "forget" technology. If face recognition software really gets implemented in a usable fashion, people (particularly governments) will use it. You may think that's awful or unfair, but that simply isn't relevant. It's the same problem with nuclear weapons -- they aren't going to disappear no matter how much people complain.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?