[FoRK] Apple collecting, sharing iPhone users' precise locations

silky michaelslists at gmail.com
Mon Jun 21 20:00:10 PDT 2010

On Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM, Jeremy Apthorp <nornagon at nornagon.net> wrote:


> I have seen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sousveillance put forward as
> some sort of resolution of this issue by a number of singularitarians.
> Personally, I don't know where to stand on the privacy scale. After
> having thought about it for some time, I still don't even really
> understand what privacy *is*, or  whether it's inherently important.
> The question I try to ask myself is: what would a society with no
> privacy look like? Would that be a good society?

It's important.

One of the more obvious ways it's important is that people live
differently to how they work. Now, you may argue that your private
life has some bearing on your work life, and that's true to a degree;
but your work doesn't own you. One thing to look at is the recent
controversy surrounding Tavis Ormandy and his disclosure process to

Taking it to the extreme, if there was absolutely no privacy ever,
you'd need to have people who are comfortable knowing everythinng
about each other, and still working with them comfortably. I suspect
there are many uncomfortable truths you wouldn't want to know about
people around you right now; you have no business knowing. But if you
did know, what would you do? It's probablt in your nature to treat
them differently. It would be impossible not to. But if this attitude
of different treatment were removed from the human species after long
exposure, then there would be no reason for privacy. But while it
exists, it's required (ignoring, obviously, the illegal things people
may do).

> It's also worth noting that privacy is a relatively new concept. As
> far as I can tell, it started being important to people around the
> mid-1700s: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=timeline-a-history-of-privacy
> Why did privacy not matter to people before then?

Keep in mind if may have, but it's not documented. Anyway, an easy way
to reconcile possible reasons is to consider why we care now. We care
now to keep our jobs and our friends and our lifestyles. If our jobs
weren't determined by smchoozing and personailty (and also our status
in society, etc), then we'd care less.

> j



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