Transparency bites – Brin blasts back

Paul Raven @ 12-03-2008

transparent-train-carriage Wired has given David Brin some rebuttal space to defend his Transparent Society concept in response to Bruce Schneier’s recent criticisms (as covered earlier here on Futurismic):

“How did we get the freedom we already have, becoming the first civilization in history to (somewhat) defy ancient patterns? Yes, it’s imperfect, always under threat. We swim against hard currents of human nature. But reciprocal accountability is the innovation that lets us even try.

Schneier claims that The Transparent Society doesn’t address “the inherent value of privacy.” But several chapters do, and I conclude that privacy is an inherent human need, too important to leave in the hands of state elites, who are themselves following ornate information-control rules written by other elites — rules, by the way, that never work. (Robert Heinlein said “‘privacy laws’ only make the bugs smaller.”)”

Going back and reading Schneier’s piece again, it does seem like he’s arguing a similar point from a different direction – they’re both opposed to top-heavy hierarchies of control. It would be great if Wired could arrange some sort of formal public debate between Schneier and Brin – the topic has never been more relevant, after all, and as Cory Doctorow points out, talking about these issues is the best way to ensure things don’t get any worse. [image by David de Groot]

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