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

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Jun 21 22:47:51 PDT 2010

On 6/21/10 7:51 PM, Jeremy Apthorp wrote:
> On 22 June 2010 12:33, Jeff Bone<jbone at place.org>  wrote:
>> On Jun 21, 2010, at 8:18 PM, "Michael Cummins"<michael at i-magery.com>  wrote:
>>> What have we wrought, for good or ill?
>> ...
>> Loss of privacy isn't just inevitable, it seems a fait accompli and quite possibly irreversible sans massive loss of technology base.  If you make that assumption, then it's a matter of protecting what you can and ensuring that the transparency is as totally symmetrical as we can manage.

The current generation have a culture of publish-everything-fast as both 
an invitation for support from friends and perhaps as a defense against 
anyone being able to tell a secret about them first.  Privacy was more 
important when social norms were very narrow and strongly policed by 
mother hens and father authoritarians in every family and community.  
Deviancy, in weak through strong forms, was nearly universal however 
society worked hard to maintain the fiction of near-perfection to the 
straight and narrow as so as to protect and purify the youth.  (See 
"Golden Compass" / "His Dark Materials" series.)  All that is pretty 
much blown to bits.  It's not complete yet, but it is drastically 
reformed from just 20 years ago, let alone when I was a teenager.

We still have significant pockets of LTBeaverism, however there is a 
wide range of people who feel comfortable "letting it all hang out" 
regardless.  Those people have enough acceptance of each other and 
tolerance with a wide enough range of society that it is now an 
acceptable-enough thing in general to be known to operate anywhere 
within a wider range than before.

> I have seen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sousveillance put forward as
> some sort of resolution of this issue by a number of singularitarians.

That's good for helping to prevent abuse of surveillance and power and 
for increasing tolerance of little gaffes.  It doesn't really change the 
social dynamic that's pushing people to publish early and often.

> 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?

We're partway there.  However, you really have to compare to 20 years 
ago and before.  See Mad Men et al or talk to someone from that era.

> 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?

I'm sure it did, however in many cases it was customary not to allow it 
in any organized group of people.  During the Kingdom era, Kings 
generally didn't need privacy and no one was allowed privacy from the 
King/Queen or their representatives.  Religious groups acted pretty much 
the same.  If you were the tyrant at the top, you could carve out a 
little privacy.  For the rest of the "loyal subjects", forget it.

> j


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