Privacy and Democracy

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  • #180640

    Henry Brown

    4800 word essay which IMO Probably ought to have some furthert distribution
    From MIT technology Review

    The Real Privacy Problem

    As Web companies and government agencies analyze ever more information about our lives, it’s tempting to respond by passing new privacy laws or creating mechanisms that pay us for our data. Instead, we need a civic solution, because democracy is at risk

    In 1967, The Public Interest, then a leading venue for highbrow policy debate, published a provocative essay by Paul Baran, one of the fathers of the data transmission method known as packet switching. Titled “The Future Computer Utility,” the essay speculated that someday a few big, centralized computers would provide “information processing … the same way one now buys electricity.”

  • #180642

    Henry Brown

    IMO Mr Baran along being a rather brilliant scientist was quite able to see where we as a society was headed 40+ years in the future

    The Future Computer Utility
    Date: 8-05-1967
    Paul Baran

    The most important policy issue regarding the use of computers in the next decade will involve the creation of a “national computer public utility system.” It may seem strange to think of the computer in terms of a public utility, since ostensibly a computer is a machine that a customer buys or rents for his own use. But the recent emergence (only in the last year or two) of the possibility of “time-sharing”– whereby thousands of individual terminals, located in homes or offices, can be hooked into giant central computers through the use of telephone lines and used for information-gathering, ordering and billing services, etc.– makes the question of such a utility system anything but academic.

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