Monday, June 10, 2013

Don't let Prism wreck the network - it belongs to you

The row over the ultimate data hoover that is Prism (catch up here with a quick guide of what it is and how legal or otherwise it may be) is, as usual, being characterised as a two-sided affair with battle lines drawn.
On one side we have our Governments - those who would protect us from whatever it is we are expected to live in terror of right now.
On the other are those who feel invaded and violated - that their data is the representation of their sovereign self - the protectors of our privacy.
Now, I'm not too concerned about the privacy thing.
I wrote in 2010:

"Privacy seeks to obscure truth. Often to an individual's personal benefit. Perhaps we are just going to have to get used to living in a state of truth - with the wider - by necessity less personal - benefits that may offer." (... the impact of an information revolution on privacy)
I've long argued that privacy is a relatively new and less-than-normal state for humankind. It's something that emerged when we started sleeping in separate rooms away from the cattle - around about the invention of the fireplace and chimney (read Bill Bryson At Home - A short History of Private Life - for more on that. It's a concept that is only some 500-600 years old. Culturally significant but in no way some kind of human need or even desire.
And I'm not big on kow-towing to terror either. Neither argument does it for me.
What I'm really concerned about in the Prism affair is that the fear of sharing it could generate could deliver a blow to the self-organising, open future we are on course for.
To self organise (the single biggest disruption to the centrally-organised status quo) we must express our meta data. That is, we must share what we think, as widely with each other, as often as possible. This is ultimately how we find each other at time of greatest need - how we find people who are seeking to solve the same problem as we are - right now.
One extra node on your network doubles its value - as I'm keen on repeating. We add each other through discovery.
So, if there's any conspiracy theory at play here that could cause us a collective problem, it's the one that's making you think twice about sharing, the one making you consider disconnecting and stopping sharing.
The centre would love that.
Stand firm. The network needs you.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?