Powerful Eyes, Many Eyes

Boing Boing: Google Street View: would it be more/less evil if it were CIA or NSA?

Despite the fact that David Brin dealt with this issue succinctly in his excellent book The Transparent Society, it seems that people still have difficulty getting their heads around it.

There are two choices for social visibility and information (including surveillance, documents, etc.):

  • Only the powerful have access to information.
  • or

  • As many people as possible have access to information.

It is impossible to guarantee that only certain appropriate people will have access to information about you. The powerful — governments, corporations, hackers, etc. — can, and do, find ways to get what they need. The only fair solution is to make sure that if someone can know about you, then you can know about them.

Is this not the whole point of “peer-to-peer society”?

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