sea nerd blog — end of privacy

Before now, I was undecided about what direction to take regarding privacy.

I started walking in the direction of the end of privacy when I realised I’d lived as a child in a place with no privacy, a village. Marshall McLuhan predicted the global village with the networked society, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at the end of privacy. But I hadn’t gone as far as thinking it should be the basis of policy.

I’ve got a long way to go before I can make sensible comments on what kind of policy changes. And I’m walking far far behind the lead thinkers on the matter, whom I know are there, but I can’t even see.

I do see what needs to be protected will have to be protected by law (until now it’s been protected by difficulty), and that will require policing, effort and constant alertness, so it’ll have to have value to be worth the hassle. I don't know what kind of things will be seen to be worth that hassle beyond the obvious, the things already protected, identity documentation such as passports and ID cards.

Perhaps existing law will be good enough to identify what should be protected, but the changes in privacy will require changes in the techniques of protection. That’s not good enough. I need to consider this.

Another thing I learnt from living in a village is the dangers on concentration of power in a small group of self–interested people, the ‘rich family’. I once lived in a village where that local rich family had got themselves the power to force people to conform to their bad taste. I’ve written music about that!

This behaviour writ large on the global village would be extremely dangerous. We will need to guard against it, but I’ve no idea how.