Do you consider ‘truthfulness’ the same as ‘objectivity’?
I feel the aim of CAI would be to establish the lack-of-modification to content, not necessarily the ‘truth’ that is derived from it. Truth is a slippery concept so maybe it ends up being the same thing in the end?
When ‘trust’ is thrown into the arena alongside ‘truth’ and ‘objectivity’ we get even more slippery. ‘Authority’ is another tough concept to throw into the mix. I’m going to mainly focus on ‘objectivity’.
Censorship is definitely an issue. So are bubbles (censorship by too much content). But to me these issues are outside the scope of content provenance. They’re connected for sure, but further enough down the chain that I don’t feel it should lead us to doubt the usefulness of content provenance.
I feel this is a problem of the platform policies, not a problem of content provenance though.
Content provenance will hopefully help this problem, since it gives consumers a lever to push back against removal. If the content has a solid provenance then there’s even less reason for it to be removed.
Provenance may be from the device itself (content signed by the camera, sensor, manufacturer, whatever), but it also may have further reinforcing factors like signatures from the owner of the device, or from the device operators, or from the device calibrators, or other sensors that were nearby that original sensor, etc.
The provenance doesn’t determine ‘truth’ or ‘trust’, it just establishes ‘objectivity’. We have some level of confidence (high or low) that what we see hasn’t been modified. What we decide from the information is a separate thing. In this case, social media sites decide to remove content. Including some provenance information should [hopefully] improve that decision process. And if it doesn’t improve the decisions of social media companies, then maybe it will improve the decisions of consumers (to leave those platforms). Provenance will (hopefully) improve decisions.
Yeah. The implementation matters. And this is my main concern with the involvement of big companies in the standards process. I feel like they could easily screw it up. Hopefully they do a good job of it.
I feel a reliable provenance layer will strengthen the trust layer above it. Provenance doesn’t need to erode privacy (although it could) and it doesn’t need to erode truth (although it could). So hopefully the provenance layer strengthens the ones above it. In reality it may not.
We’ve seen DRM fail. Hopefully this effort doesn’t fail in the same way. I feel it probably won’t. Parts of the provenance chain can fail without all others also failing (we simply update/reduce our confidence rather than lose provenance completely), whereas drm has a single point of failure that once ‘failed’ the feature is lost completely.
I suppose a key point here is the idea of confidence being a spectrum rather than a yes/no true/false state.
I reckon a solid content provenance system will allow people to improve their consumption patterns. Like how google/facebook/twitter produced an explosion in content discovery because of the link-graph and social-graph, data provenance will add another dimension to the graph. We will be able to choose our authorities (journalists or publications or politicians or political parties or scientists or doctors or friends or family or any person/institution that can represent us) and then remix their content streams for our own best purposes (provenance is not just at the point of creation but also at the point of sharing) in a really meaningful way that isn’t subject to hidden-in-the-server content priority algorithms.
It’ll change what we see online and why we see it. But we need provenance to be much broader than mere institutional authority. Safe Network can hopefully provide the ecosystem to nourish a broadness of authority and provenance.