Privacy in the 21st Century. Why Am I Reminded of Hobbes?

I like to blog about privacy because I live in a time where privacy is disappearing.  I have to make peace with this.  I am not going to Alaska to live off the grid using seal oil to keep the homefires burning.  Some people do but at incredible cost.  When you’re off the grid you don’t contribute to Social Security.  In fact, in the extreme case, you don’t exist.  Too high a price for me.  Not into living in the state of nature. What do you think?

Bruce Schneier  03.06.08

When I write and speak about privacy, I am regularly confronted with the mutual disclosure argument. Explained in books like David Brin’s The Transparent Society, the argument goes something like this: In a world of ubiquitous surveillance, you’ll know all about me, but I will also know all about you. The government will be watching us, but we’ll also be watching the government. This is different than before, but it’s not automatically worse. And because I know your secrets, you can’t use my secrets as a weapon against me.This might not be everybody’s idea of utopia — and it certainly doesn’t address the inherent value of privacy — but this theory has a glossy appeal, and could easily be mistaken for a way out of the problem of technology’s continuing erosion of privacy. Except it doesn’t work, because it ignores the crucial dissimilarity of power.


About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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One Response to Privacy in the 21st Century. Why Am I Reminded of Hobbes?

  1. Susan Sayler says:

    The new generations of young people just won’t support those power structures. Wikileaks was the tip of the iceberg. Open source, piracy, economic revolutions, one after another. The pendulum is moving in the opposite direction now. This new generation of teenagers should be labeled the “You can’t get there from here generation”

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