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Monday, October 06, 2008

Meta-Critique of the Week

http://arstechnica.com/reviews/other/future-of-reputation.ars/1

There's the link. It's the review of a book about privacy, which is indeed a complex legal, social, and ethical topic-

-if you believe in a right to privacy. If you don't, the problem is solved and no legislation or effort need be expended preserving it.

The author and reviewer touch on the key to the counter-argument to the consequentialist argument for privacy: Privacy presupposes a right to carry out the action that is private. If we were assured that no one would try to infringe our free speech, then we could organize in public. In reality, thanks to McCain, it is now illegal for me to organize on behalf of McCain. Not that I'd want to, but now I must pretend that I have readers and that I'm anonymous to avoid the Election Police.

That example was... facetious, but if you're reading this you should be able to come up with your own examples. Really, do you need to be spoon fed?

There are also psychological needs for privacy that arise from our survival instincts, but instinct can be overcome if the basis for it is shown to be fallacious. At any rate, erecting a vast legal edifice in support of "privacy" causes more harm than completely ignoring the free flow of information.

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