Jeffrey Walton noloader at
Wed Mar 23 20:14:22 CET 2011

On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 3:06 PM, Mark H. Wood <mwood at> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 10:34:27PM -0400, Robert J. Hansen wrote:
> [snip]
>> My own dark suspicion is that what we have always thought of as
>> "privacy" is nothing more than an inefficiency in information exchange.
>>  So long as information exchange has a certain cost threshold, it's not
>> worth my time or effort to share information about you.  As that cost
>> threshold diminishes, so too does our privacy.  If it cost a penny to
>> leave a YouTube comment, Rebecca Black would have twelve people
>> scattered across the world who had said something bad about her.  Since
>> it's free, though... well, she has no privacy anymore, and I feel very
>> sorry for her.
> An interesting thought.  I'm going to keep this one.
> My suspicion is that we never had anywhere near as much privacy as
> many believe.

> A hundred years ago, when nobody had computers or
> databases or Internets, everyone in town knew your name, your address,
> your occupation, your family, your approximate economic status, your
> (ir)religion, your circle of friends, and many past deeds you'd rather
> have forgotten.  We may actually have *more* privacy these days, when
> so much can be done in secret and only the machines know until someone
> thinks to ask the right one in the right way.
>> If I'm right, then the only way to restore privacy is to raise the price
>> of information transfer in some way.  OpenPGP can be thought of as this:
>> to recover a message the attacker has to undertake actions that involve
>> at least some measure of expense.
> We can also raise the cost of improper use of information.  I don't
> think there's been enough attention to this.  If Alice draws
> insupportable or downright illogical conclusions about my character or
> status from my online presence, and on the basis of those conclusions
> makes decisions on my employment or my insurance premiums or whether I
> ought to be prosecuted for something, can I punish her *enough to make
> her stop*?  If she's following company policy, can I punish the
> company *enough to make it stop*?  Enough power can make privacy
> irrelevant.
Not politically feasible. In the US, corporations ensures that
legislation favors corporate via bribes (err, PAC contributions). The
first step to remediate the problem is disgorging politicians from
their money, which probably will not happen in our lifetime.


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