Re: poly: Re: privacy etc

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Wed Jun 03 1998 - 15:45:10 PDT

Hal F. wrote:
>Let us suppose that cameras blanket public spaces, with full access to
>them by everyone. This is a huge blow to privacy: everywhere you go,
>everyone you meet and everything you do in public is universally
>known. Everyone will know who your friends are, whose house you
>visit, who you go out on dates with.

David B. responded:
>I've answered this many times. We already have vast privacy in public
>places like restaurants because of the deterrence that open visibility lets
>us enforce on blatant eavesdroppers & peepers.
> Hal ignores the effectiveness of openness as a weapon for defense.
>I've run into this before, ...

David focuses on restaurant privacy in his book as well, and on reflection,
I have real problems with this example. The people around me in a restaurant
usually have no direct interest in me, and no cheap-enough way to sell
information about my meal with others who might be interested. But if they
were interested, it seems to me that they could see and hear anything they
wanted, assuming they were close enough to do so. With discrete directional
mikes and cameras, the costs of seeing and hearing should fall. The costs
of finding people who might be interested in this info should also fall.
When the costs are low enough, I don't see what will prevent this info being

Now it may well be that the world will be a better place with such transparency,
but I don't see anything wrong with Hal's analysis of what people will know.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627
Received on Wed Jun 3 22:50:25 1998

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:30 PST