I did a little reading at lunch in The Transparent Society by David Brin. Brin sets forth the following and calls it an “accountability matrix:”
His contention is that people see boxes (1) and (2) as good and boxes (3) and (4) as bad. What society needs is boxes (1) and (3) since that creates accountability. Further, society should eschew boxes (2) and (4) since that pits citizens against each other in “an arms race of masks, secrets, and indignation.”
This point speaks directly to the data issues we’ve been looking at in this design study. Let’s imagine an economy entirely made up of bloggers. Do bloggers worry about there privacy? Not really. In addition to the blogger’s URL and email address, any industrious reader can dig a little and know where a blogger lives, her phone number, etc. Bloggers willingly give up their anonymity in the interests of the truth they wish to share.
In the blogger economy, Brin’s boxes (1) & (3) would be part of the transaction software, and boxes (2) & (4) would not. Further, the likely features of the software would be:
It’s hard to beat the blogger ethic as a guideline for our design study.
It will be easy for individuals to adopt such protocols but very hard for corporations, which think their value lies in what the hide from others. They’re only now beginning to guess that their value is in what they expose to others.