August 6, 2008

On Privacy

Today, I attended a 3/4 day long conference on internet privacy. That wasn't how they billed it, but that's how it ended up playing out.

Many very smart people said many smart things, and most of them have my brain spinning and thinking and evolving. Perhaps if I collect my thoughts I'll post something useful. Probably not, though.

Acknowledging that I probably won't think, write, and post or be anything close to useful in that manner, I feel I should offer something. So, here it is:

Today, as counsel to many small cutting edge companies who struggle with many of the issues that were discussed, the most striking comment, to my ears, came from Lauren Gelman. She said (according to my notes),

Now, anyone can speak to the world about whatever they want -- but our stories aren't just about ourselves, they affect third parties.

I think, from the first person publisher privacy standpoint, that summarizes the whole ball of wax. Sure, you've always been free to tell your story from the street corner, but it used to require so much more effort. Now, it's easy. And you can bring along your acquaintances' reputations for the ride.

This is not to say that there isn't a huge discussion to be had regarding the entities who are collecting data, combining it with other data, mining it, and introspecting into our lives. That is a different and immense issue.

This is just to say that on the harms we can do to one another by exercising this new and ridiculously free, unprecedented power to publish to anyone in the world without a governmentally imposed filter -- I think Lauren's got it.

We've never been so free to permanently speak to millions about our neighbors, acquaintances, exes, and so forth.

It's a brave new world y'all...

4 comments:

Cathy said...

Speaking of privacy... Too bad I didn't know what you look like (or that you'd be there) or else I would have said hi ;-)

Anonymous said...

[laugh] Someday I may decide to de-anonymize this thing. But, for now, I like my cloak.

-bt

Cathy said...

OK, next event I'll look for the person wearing a cloak :-)

The Enforcer said...

Hmmm...I can you all about how seemingly innocuous posts about people at a job you actually *like* can get you in a WORLD of trouble.

Duly noted. =)