David Brin: The Transparent Society

Wei Dai has just informed me that David Brin has already written a book about issues very close to those I raised in my earlier blog post about The questionable value of anonymity. I haven't read his book, but this excerpt from the Amazon synopsis looks promising:
Fearing technology-aided crime, governments seek to restrict online anonymity; fearing technology-aided tyranny, citizens call for encrypting all data. Brin shows how, contrary to both approaches, windows offer us much better protection than walls; after all, the strongest deterrent against snooping has always been the fear of being spotted. Furthermore, Brin argues, Western culture now encourages eccentricity-were programmed to rebel! That gives our society a natural protection against error and wrong-doing, like a bodys immune system. But social T-cells need openness to spot trouble and get the word out. The Transparent Society is full of such provocative and far-reaching analysis.The inescapable rush of technology is forcing us to make new choices about how we want to live. This daring book reminds us that an open society is more robust and flexible than one where secrecy reigns. In an era of gnat-sized cameras, universal databases, and clothes-penetrating radar, it will be more vital than ever for us to be able to watch the watchers.

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