Stross and Doctorow on privacy in the modern age

Paul Raven @ 03-06-2009

A few weeks back the Open Rights Group held a benefit talk just up the tracks from me in London that I was meant to go to, though sadly the realities of self-employment intruded and kept me at home. The speakers were Charlie Stross and Cory Doctorow – two very smart guys who, even if you’re not a fan of their fiction, have a lot of very interesting stuff to say on the matter of privacy and surveillance in the modern world.

Luckily for me (and everyone else) there’s video footage of the whole thing – and I heartily suggest you watch it. While somewhat focussed on the UK situation, the stuff about data security and information harvesting and ubiquitous surveillance is applicable to anyone who uses the web, has a government that uses computers or lives in a city or town with a CCTV presence… which (I imagine) covers pretty much everyone reading Futurismic right now.

There’s ninety minutes of video; the discussion between Stross and Doctorow fills a little less than the first half, but make the time to listen to the Q&A section afterwards as well. I’ve found myself with about four pages of notes and story ideas just from my first pass through, and I imagine there’ll be more when I go back to it. So get watching:

You know what would have made this even more interesting, though? If David Brin had been on the panel… now that would have been hands-down the debate of the year, at least for me.

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