While this has the makings for an Orwellian nightmare, Brin argues that we can choose to make the same scenario a setting for even greater freedom. The determining factor is whether the power of observation and surveillance is held only by the police and the powerful or is shared by us all. In the latter case, Brin argues that people will have nothing to fear from the watchers because everyone will be watching each other. The cameras would become a public resource to assure that no mugger is hiding around the corner, our children are playing safely in the park, and police will not abuse their power.
No simplistic Utopian, Brin also acknowledges the many dangers on the way. He discusses how open access to information can either threaten or enhance freedom. It is one thing, for example, to make the entire outdoors public and another thing to allow the cameras and microphones to snoop into our homes. He therefore spends a lot of pages examining what steps are required to assure that a transparent society evolves in a manner that enhances rather than restricts freedom. This is a challenging view of tomorrow and an exhilarating read for those who don't mind challenges to even the most well-entrenched cultural assumptions. --Elizabeth Lewis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Brin makes a good case that the technology will bring us to one of these two outcomes.
Overall this book remains a standard in providing a detailed revoew of the issues and the capabilities surrounding digitial information about individuals.
Brin shows a practical way to have both much greater security, and increased freedom, through transparency.
This is a must read for anyone period. Privacy or lack of it should matter to everyone.
Who watches the watchers? Read more
There's a kind of reflex reaction among many people to try to protect and preserve privacy. Brin digs into this from a variety of viewpoints and develops arguments which are even... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Some of the best science fiction I have ever read was penned by Dr. Brin. He knows how to write ... fiction. He also must beat least a passable academic to get a doctorate. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
Transparency vs a false sense of privacy. A compelling case for watching the watchers and not letting privacy be a concern. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Anthony J Guarino
I'm half way thorugh this book and am finding it refreshing.
The premise: ubiquitously available information makes for accountability - accountability minimizes bad acts. Read more
I have not seen this issue tackled in a comprehensive way before, especially one that actually looked at the reasons behind our rhetoric and why do we care about privacy, and why... Read morePublished on January 3, 2013 by Nolrai
The author reports that the "central thesis of this book [is] that transparency is beneficial to all levels of society. Read morePublished on January 1, 2013 by Don Morris
David Brin walks through the future of privacy and surveillance, and where things could lead us. 13 years on, and I've not seen anything to say he was wrong. Read morePublished on June 26, 2011 by Ronald P
I read this book when it first came out, and attended one of the lectures David gave as part of the associated book tour. Read morePublished on June 26, 2011 by P. F. Anderson