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A Transparency Tsunami!

A Transparency Tsunami! | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is working on the Biometric Optical Surveillance System (BOSS) allowing authorities to identify individuals by their faces -- from images collected by street cams, driver’s license photos, mug shots or other sources. Yet there is little or no legal oversight of such technologies.  Oversight and "under-sight" or sousveillance is absolutely essential lest this lead to Big Brother!

 

As of now, 37 states have enabled facial-recognition software to search driver’s license photos, yet only 11 have protections in place to limit access to such data by the authorities, or install methods of oversight as to how such data is used.

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The Transparent Society
The Transparent Society
Privacy and Accountability in an age of increasing surveillance
Curated by DBrin
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Worlds of transparency, security, privacy, and openness

Worlds of transparency, security, privacy, and openness | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

Our society has one great knack above all others -- one that no other ever managed -- that of holding the mighty accountable. Although elites of all kinds still have many advantages over commonfolk, never before have citizens been so empowered. And history shows that this didn't happen byblinding the mighty -- a futile endeavor that has never worked. It happened by insisting that everybody get to see. By citizens demanding the power to know.

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Confidentiality 2020: Can We Keep Secrets Any More? - YouTube

Presented by the Washington DC Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-DC) and the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center on Thursday May 15 2014. The Internet, ...
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▶ On openness, privacy and surveillance

 On Openness, Privacy and Surveillance -- explains the most difficult concept of the information age… yes… once more time hammering on what ought to be obvious. That we should stop whining about how much elites can see… and instead be militant about looking back at them. We must watch the watchers! Sousveillance is the only response to surveillance.

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Brin's Corollary to Moore's Law

Brin's Corollary to Moore's Law | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

The cameras will get smaller, cheaper, more numerous and more mobile every year. We are in for a time of major decision as the Moore's Law of Cameras -- sometimes called “Brin’s Corollary to Moore’s Law-- takes hold and elites of all kinds are tempted to utilize surveillance in Orwellian/controlling ways ...often with rationalized good intentions.


Alas, many "champions of privacy and freedom" push the nebulous notion that dark outcomes can be prevented by passing laws against this or that elite lookingat this or that kind of information. In other words, by restricting information flows. 

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Transparency News: You Have the Right to Record Police

Transparency News: You Have the Right to Record Police | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

Last year I touted the most important civil liberties event (so far) in the 21st Century, when top U.S. courts (Glik v. Cunniffe) ruled that citizens have an absolute right to record their interactions with police in public places, and the Obama Administration issued a declaration supporting this ruling as "settled law."  I went on to say that the matter would continue to be at issue, at the level of the streets, with many cameras and cell phones "accidentally" broken… until that phase of resistance ends the way it must, with more bystander-cams catching -- then deterring -- the breaking of cameras. And of course all of it was portrayed in both fiction and nonfiction 25 years ago.

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Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? - David Brin - from Cyber Surveillance & Silicon Valley: Impacts & Challenges

Cyber Surveillance & Silicon Valley: Impacts & Challenges by Internet Society on Livestream - Livestream.com
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A Parable about Openness: Some thoughts on Privacy, Security and Surveillance in the Information Age

A Parable about Openness: Some thoughts on Privacy, Security and Surveillance in the Information Age | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

Ancient Greek myths tell of a farmer, Akademos, who did a favor for the sun god. In return, Apollo granted the mortal a garden wherein he could say whatever he liked, even about the mighty Olympians, without retribution...The alternative was to empower Akademos with an equalizer, some way to enforce the gods' promise. That equalizing factor could only be knowledge. But more about that in a moment

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The Arrival of Face Recognition Apps… and more transparency news

The Arrival of Face Recognition Apps… and more transparency news | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

Face-recognition has reached your smart phone, bringing science fiction closer and also (I expect) a storm of controversy.

 

Open Data and Transparency: A Look back at 2013: Was this the year that "transparency" came into its own? In this year-end review, we learn of progress in some nations, while others cling tenaciously to old, corruption-prone ways.

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The Asymptotic Leap's curator insight, February 3, 12:10 PM

What could possibly go wrong?

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Fighting Fire with Fire: Why Transparency will save Privacy

Fighting Fire with Fire: Why Transparency will save Privacy | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

Surveillance can’t be stopped; nothing will halt the flood of vision in our world. But instead of isolating ourselves and trying to seal off our secrets we should expose them, and the snoopers surrounding us. For the illusory fantasy of absolute privacy has come to an end.

 

Information leaks! It copies itself with the ease and speed of electrons. If the NSA and FBI routinely crack open, should you depend upon an even more illusory fantasy of secrecy?

 We will remain more adaptable and fiercely sovereign citizens, if we are empowered with light.
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A Transparency Tsunami!

A Transparency Tsunami! | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is working on the Biometric Optical Surveillance System (BOSS) allowing authorities to identify individuals by their faces -- from images collected by street cams, driver’s license photos, mug shots or other sources. Yet there is little or no legal oversight of such technologies.  Oversight and "under-sight" or sousveillance is absolutely essential lest this lead to Big Brother!

 

As of now, 37 states have enabled facial-recognition software to search driver’s license photos, yet only 11 have protections in place to limit access to such data by the authorities, or install methods of oversight as to how such data is used.

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If You Can’t Hide From Big Brother, Adapt

If You Can’t Hide From Big Brother, Adapt | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

Much of today’s hand-wringing focuses rightfully on potential abuse of power. Both ends of the hoary political spectrum disagree over whether to most fear government or a rising corporate oligarchy, but all paladins of liberty share one dread: that despots will be tech-empowered by universal surveillance.

 

Among the foes who would do us grievous harm — from terrorists to hostile states to criminal gangs — can you name one that’s not fatally allergic to light? In contrast, modern democracies find light occasionally irksome, generally bracing and mostly healthy. That difference is the paramount strategic consideration of the 21st century.

 

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The Transparent Society Revisited

The Transparent Society Revisited | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

Recent controversy over NSA revelations sent me reaching to my bookshelf for David Brin's 1998 work, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? Re-reading it made me realize that Brin articulated more than just an unusual approach for addressing the issue of surveillance technology. He offers a perspective on the relationship of citizens and the state which challenges conventional libertarian thinking. 

In brief, Brin sees liberty as flourishing not when the state is weak, but when the state is accountable. Accountability in turn requires that government processes must be open, and that citizens must be vigilant and effective in monitoring and challenging the actions of public officials.

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Questions I am frequently asked about… Transparency, Privacy & the Information Age

Questions I am frequently asked about… Transparency, Privacy & the Information Age | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

As far as privacy itself is concerned, I have a simple answer to that. (It makes up chapter 4 of The Transparent Society.) Human beings want it. We naturally are built to want some privacy. Moreover, if we remain a free and knowing people, then sovereign citizens will demand a little privacy, though we’ll find that we must redefine the term for changing times. 
The question really boils down to: Will tomorrow’s citizens be free and knowing? Will new technologies empower us to exert reciprocal accountability, even upon the mighty? It may seem ironic, but for privacy and freedom to survive, we’ll need a civilization that is mostly open and transparent, so that each of us may catch the would-be voyeurs and Big Brothers.  So that most of us know most of what’s going on, most of the time.

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Brave Citizenship beats a Scorched Earth Policy

Brave Citizenship beats a Scorched Earth Policy | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it
Most of us in the west were raised with legends, myths and movies that taught Suspicion of Authority (SoA).  Thanks to the great science fiction author, George Orwell, we share a compelling metaphor -- Big Brother -- propelling our fears about a future that may be dominated by tyrants.
Whether they emerge from Big Government or a corporate oligarchy or the traditional feudalism of inherited wealth, it is the end result most of us dread… a return to the brutal, pyramid-shaped social order that dominated 99% of human societies -- only now empowered by fantastic powers of technological surveillance and enforcement.
Finding ways to escape that fate - and instead preserve this narrow, fragile renaissance of freedom - is the common goal of activists across the spectrum. Though we are hobbled in this effort by the "spectrum" itself, whose artificial divides make us deride potential allies, proclaiming simplistic, spasmodic prescriptions.
Nowhere is this sad reflex more prevalent than in the lobotomized modern debate over how to handle information.
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Check NSA Surveillance with Citizen "Sous-veillance" - Monitoring From Below

Check NSA Surveillance with Citizen "Sous-veillance" - Monitoring From Below | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

We should ask which is more important: what government knows, or what it might do to us? Intrinsically, you can never be certain what elites see or know. But actions can be observed and held accountable, by insisting that all watchers be supervised, answering top-down surveillance with "sousveillance," the habit of a brash citizenry monitoring from below – with a goal to preserve both freedom and safety. Sousveillance isn't just a response to surveillance, it is the wellspring of freedom.

 

Instead of railing against that fact that there will be more Edward Snowdens, let's revamp whistleblower laws, in order to encourage in-house correction of bureaucratic errors. This would also let us calibrate where future Snowdens fall in the wide range from traitor to hero.

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A blue ribbon panel recommends fixing NSA: What's cosmetic and what might work

A blue ribbon panel recommends fixing NSA: What's cosmetic and what might work | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

In the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations about the U.S. Intelligence Community -- and the subsequent storm of protest -- President Obama appointed a blue ribbon commission to survey the situation and report back with recommendations.  Headed by Richard Clarke, chief counterterrorism adviser on the National Security Council in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, it included a lifelong CIA professional and a trio of university professors with experience in both law and security policy (one of whom is a colleague of mine and an expert on privacy matters).  The contents of their report -- just made public -- were certain to raise controversy.

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A Transparent Ownership Treaty?

A Transparent Ownership Treaty? | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

If you own something, you must openly avow and say that you own it. That's it. Any property that has not been claimed by a human being, family, or clearly tracked group of humans within three years will revert to the state and be re-sold to pay down the public debt.
Think about it.  What does "ownership" mean, if you are unwilling to state, openly, "I own that"?  So many problems in the world can be attributed to murky title, from peasants abused by a nearby lord to an oil tanker that befouled beaches in Brittany with no owner ever held accountable, because of deeply nested shell companies.

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The Creep Factor: How To Think About Big Data And Privacy

The Creep Factor: How To Think About Big Data And Privacy | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

The right way to deal with data redlining is not to prohibit the collection of data, as so many misguided privacy advocates seem to urge, but rather, to prohibit its misuse once companies have that data. As David Brin, author of the prescient 1998 book on privacy,The Transparent Society, noted in a conversation with me last night, “It is intrinsically impossible to know if someone does not have information about you. It is much easier to tell if they do something to you.”

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The cameras are coming, they're getting smaller, and nothing will stop them....

The cameras are coming, they're getting smaller, and nothing will stop them.... | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

The cameras are coming. They're getting smaller and nothing will stop them.

 

The only question is: who watches whom? ....Can we stand living our lives exposed to scrutiny ... our secrets laid out in the open ... if in return we get flashlights of our own, that we can shine on the arrogant and strong?

 

Or is privacy's illusion so precious that it is worth any price, including surrendering our own right to pierce the schemes of the powerful?

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The Coming Transparent World

The Coming Transparent World | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

 Can we thrive in the info age by embracing, not fearing the power to see?
Let's put it plainly. The opposite approach, pushed by almost everyone, simply cannot work.  That prescription -- finding ways to control and limit information flows and protect the databases from leaking -- has never once been demonstrated in practice to be effective.  Not once… ever! Instead, every couple of months another tsunami spilll takes place… from one company then an agency then a nonprofit then another trusted company... and no one learns the obvious lesson.

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The Strategic/Tactical Use of Openness

The Strategic/Tactical Use of Openness | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

 Our civilization prospers - and its opponents tend to shrivel - the more open the world and its varied competitive battlefields become. The more open is the competition, the more it becomes a matter for the accountability arenas - markets, science, democracy... that create beneficial synergies out of competition, instead of reciprocal destruction. Further, the more open the playing field, the more standing individuals have, contributing their billions of eyes to a network that can detect errors and criminality, helping the professionals to do their jobs.

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One Court Decision Against the NSA -- Will anything result?

One Court Decision Against the NSA -- Will anything result? | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

It seems unlikely that such rulings, or even restricting legislation, will provide the slightest confidence that such vastly encompassing endeavors in Big Data will actually stop.  Indeed, given Moore's Law and the number of elite centers of power that want to look at it all, the only plausible outcome of limits imposed on NSA will be to drive the banned practices underground....Indeed, the one thing that would change all this and make such bans enforceable, is the one thing that would make such bans redundant and unnecessary -- transparency-supervision or "sousveillance," shining citizen light upon the mighty. 

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The Ongoing Privacy Problem: Other Voices

The Ongoing Privacy Problem: Other Voices | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

"Our information" is also a delusion that will fray and unravel with time, leaving us with what is practical, what matters… how to maintain control NOT over what others know about us, but what they can DO to us.In order to accomplish that, we must know as much about the mighty as they know about us.
In The Transparent Society I discuss the alternative we seldom see talked-about, even though it is precisely the prescription that got us our current renaissance of freedom and empowered citizenship.  Sousveillance. Standing up in the light while demanding -- along with hundreds of millions of fellow citizens -- the power to watch the watchmen. Embracing the power to look-back and helping our neighbors to do it, as well.

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Transparency - is it so hard to understand?

Transparency - is it so hard to understand? | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

As in The Transparent Society, my emphasis has been upon "sousveillance" or empowering citizens to look back at every sort of power or elite, from government and commercial to criminal, foreign, technological or oligarchic.  This has been, in fact, the very reflex that brought us to this festival of freedom and creativity-generated wealth.  Yet, it seems difficult to get people to parse HOW this is best achieved.  The reflex to seek power parity by blinding others -- by limiting what elites can see or by cowering or encrypting or hiding from them -- is so profoundly wrong-headed, yet it fills the punditsphere as handwringing commentators demand that government powers of surveillance be curbed… without ever explaining how this can be done, let alone showing one example from history when elites actually let themselves be blinded.

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Hidden Money Hoards Revealed...and Other Transparency News

Hidden Money Hoards Revealed...and Other Transparency News | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

You may have heard that a consortium of journalists, working on a cache of 2.5 million recently spilled files, has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and mega-rich the world over. If preliminary reports prove to be true, it would be a revelation ten times larger than last year's WikiLeaks Affair and vastly more important. Indeed, it could portend the start of a worldwide radical movement for transparency that I forecast (including - for dramatic effect - a world war on Switzerland) in my 1989 novel Earth.   

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David Brin: THE TRANSPARENT SOCIETY

David Brin: THE TRANSPARENT SOCIETY | The Transparent Society | Scoop.it

David Brin is worried, but not just about privacy. He fears that society will overreact to these technologies by restricting the flow of information, frantically enforcing a reign of secrecy. Such measures, he warns, won’t really preserve our privacy. Governments, the wealthy, criminals, and the techno-elite will still find ways to watch us. But we’ll have fewer ways to watch them. We’ll lose the key to a free society: accountability.The Transparent Society is a call for “reciprocal transparency.”

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