Linked by David Adams on Fri 11th Dec 2009 01:25 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption I was reminded of Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy's infamous sound byte (used as the title of this article) when I read about Google CEO Eric Schmidt's foot-in-mouth moment during a recent CNBC interview (YouTube Link). Here's what Schmidt said: "I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines -- including Google -- do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."
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RE: Privacy is Obsolete
by AdamW on Fri 11th Dec 2009 16:37 UTC in reply to "Privacy is Obsolete"
AdamW
Member since:
2005-07-06

"People in the middle ages, growing up in a large family and rarely leaving the small village they were born in, did not have much privacy either. So privacy is a relatively new concept."

The first part of this is partly true, the second is definitely not. It was a specialist topic of one of my college tutors, actually. The desire for privacy is a significant motivating factor throughout social history. Even when it was innately difficult to have privacy, the concept was understood and strongly desired; those who shared living space would try to subdivide it to provide privacy, and those who had personal possessions tended to try very hard to keep them private. Throughout medieval Western history (I can't speak to other areas), those who went from being poor to being rich almost inevitably moved to bigger and more isolated dwellings, which provided...privacy.

It's exactly the same social motivator you can see in the development of the American suburbs: as soon as a large number of people became rich enough to afford their own houses and cars, they got the hell out of Dodge and built large, detached houses with hedges all around the gardens. Why? Privacy.

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