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DigitalCash talks about the need for anonymous monetary transactions. Security buffs talk about the need for privacy [SecretsAndLies]. A lot of people think that privacy is required.

On the other hand, we see how difficult it is to build an OnlineCommunity. People write homepages exposing innermost feelings, their thoughts, pictures of themselves, their home, their family, their pets. Why aren't they concerned about privacy?

People have been using credit cards on the Internet for a long time now. They have registered their shipping address, their names, they let stores save their preferences, their shopping habits. Why aren't they concerned about privacy?

Therefore the importance of privacy will continue to diminish. The global village will be a village indeed. Your neighbors will be watching behind the curtains. They will know more about you than your real life neighbors, if they care to look.

Can the loss of privacy be prevented?

History shows many examples of trends that were reversed due to state intervention. At the beginning of the industrial revolution, wages were minimal and some people worked 18 hours a day. The state stepped in to stop this. (Prompted, no doubt, by various riots, communist organizations, etc.)

Will there be state intervention to protect privacy? Experience in some countries suggests that this will not be true. In Switzerland, for example, you have the right to know what data is stored about you, and you have the right to correct the data if it is false, and you have the right to have the data removed. Nobody seems to do that, however. People just don't care as long as they do not suffer immediate harm.

The importance of privacy

To some people, privacy is very important. A teacher might want to contribute to an OnlineCommunity by writing an OnlineDiary, but he might not want his students to read it. An employee might want to publish political statements online, but his boss might want to fire him for that. See IncriminatingDiary

This kind of vulnerability will disappear as decreased privacy will be required for joining a serious OnlineCommunity, as data will be accumulated by the commercial sector, as services used require leak more information.

People will adapt to this.

How will people adapt?

Online statements will matter less. Tolerance will rise. (As it has always done.)

See TransparentSociety.

I hear more and more people say that they have nothing to hide, so why bother. Perhaps because the return of a totalitarian regime seems so unlikely in the western world? --AlexSchroeder

1984 depicted what was thought to be the worst possible, the worst possible however is when it all looks happy and everyone has luxury items that no one even notices that 1984 has passed and become worse than could be imagined, have a closer look at the world. Find a prole and ask them, we have become suckered into "The Party" and not even noticed --AndrewMcMeikan

Exactly. One of the point of this page is this: Why should anybody care? I'm not tortured. None of my relatives have gone missing. The books I want to read are not banned. The music I listen to is not censored. I'm trying to DefendAgainstParanoia. --AlexSchroeder

Congratulations, I am pleased for you. I hope that you still care for others in the world not so lucky. Email me if you want to discuss details. --AndrewMcMeikan

Why not discuss it here? After all, this is very relevant to the MeatballMission. --AlexSchroeder

Well some of that is rather private, but I will put together a list of links that show where privacy is most definately required. --AndrewMcMeikan


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