Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Intel Official: Expect Less Privacy (NY Times)

There has been a good bit of talk already about DDNI Donald Kerr's speech regarding changing definitions of privacy. I am not sure I can add much to the debate but I have a couple of observations:

  • First, giving up information voluntarily to a site like Facebook is very different than the government looking at your private life without permission. Kerr states, according to the NY Times, "''I think all of us have to really take stock of what we already are willing to give up, in terms of anonymity, but (also) what safeguards we want in place to be sure that giving that doesn't empty our bank account or do something equally bad elsewhere.'' Much of what is done on most sites is to our direct benefit; much of what the government would do would be to our indirect benefit and I am not sure that giving up traditional notions of privacy is worth it.
  • Second, I think Facebook is a particularly bad example of giving up anonymity. I have just recently become active on Facebook and it seems to me that much of what is happening there is advertisement. Maybe that is too strong but the idea that people present a particular public view of themselves on Facebook rather than their private view of themselves is almost cliche' among users of social networking sites (for a funny but NSFM (Not safe for mom) send up of the lies people tell on MySpace, listen to Pete Miser's "Add Me!").
  • Finally, it is interesting to compare notions of identity in cyberspace with notions of privacy. For a really good talk about new notions of identity, see Dick Clarence Hardt's speech about Identity 2.0 at OSCON 05. The speech itself is worth watching if only for the very different style Hardt uses but the content is worth listening to as well.

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