With trepidation I am starting to feel that Schmidt and Zuckerberg were right to an extent. Privacy has in one way or another been the basis for our rights claims and is strongly linked conceptually to our need to be free of coercion or be left alone- to our need for rest. Yet we have Google’s Schmidt, to paraphrase, saying if you are doing something you don’t want some to see maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. And Facebook’s Zuckerberg saying, to paraphrase again, that people have to get over privacy. In an organizational sense what Schmidt and Zuckerberg seemed to be suggesting holds. We are past the age of organizational secrecy. We are entering an age of organizational organizational transparency.
But the mechanism that is going to take us to organization transparency and a safer, more sustainable and just world will also erode our privacy to an extent. It will also have an impact on our distribution systems. In terms of digital distribution likely that artists will have undreamed of reach and exposure but will have to settle for systems of recompense that resemble charity. They won’t be alone, trade secrets will be history too.
We could have the details of our private lives dumped into what is a practically irrevocable record that is easily accessible everywhere. An identity change would be easier to accommodate than a change of this record. It also looks like it will be legally impractical to enforce prohibitions in this area. But there will foreseeably be some plausible deniability. There will also be some people willing to be completely transparent to quite radical degrees. Tech has been presented that can convert sublingualization into text (applying something like voice rec to the neuro muscular signals that are there whether we choose to verbalize or not with the aid of a wearable device and cloud processing etc.) Some people be willing to catalog all their verbal thoughts (with some imprecision in the process) across their life span to be audited at request by a system like Watson debater or simply dump that into the ProjectSAFE anonymous pool. Maybe they will set it to unlock posthumously or maybe not.
To put this charitably Schmidt and Zuckerberg and their rarefied circle may have concluded that it’s inevitable and why not profit from it? My own sense is profit is a crime and guilty until proven otherwise and we should not simply allow until it hurts enough people that we have to make it illegal. That’s like the 40000 plus chemicals industry subjects us to and that don’t have to really be researched in the states because we don’t have principles of precaution as we have wrongly prioritized the supply side and profit. No, Schmidt and Zuckerberg are insane if they go to the extent of stealing people’s data (Facebooks method of growth) and try to profit from that theft, and further claim by various dubious means that they own it. There is no business case that matters relative to the public interest, its always public interest first. Still, it seems they were right about privacy damage, but we will get organizational transparency.
Defacto organizational transparency has already begun. In the average business meeting 10-12 cell phones (tracker/recorders) come into the meetings. A call might not have been disconnected. Intentionally or otherwise the high quality conference record function may running. Given that Google phone’s aren’t really secure, spyware could be up and recording- or stuff meant to track a teenager or a spouse could be recording a meeting. It could be espionage by phone. It could be a paralegal telling
a client (unethically) to record a meeting, make a written transcript of the recording and then delete the recorded transcript. How many businesses keep cell phones out of the meetings. People are afraid to leave their phones unattended.
To get organizational transparency it looks like we are going to take a privacy hit. But we have to understand we aren’t going to searching the anonymous pool by sifting through line after line of data. And it won’t be use connecting the dots. We will be searching it with something like Watson debater.
And this should excite you and raise the hair on the back of your neck at the same time.