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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

The Truth Will Set You Free

- Dr. Ann Cavoukian

There is great fear that the immediacy, reach and memory of the Internet is destroying anonymity.  The implication in this is that anonymity is desirable.

I can see why not everyone is interested in being under the microscope.  While an understandable concern, I don't think it's as much of a risk as we have convinced ourselves.  If everyone was on TV all the time, there wouldn't be anybody left to watch - the same applies here.

There's another side to this, though.  Anonymity is about the individual not having responsibility in a social context.  That approach has failed - now, people are demanding more.  The theme today is of the individual being accountable in a social context; the notion of responsibility is something that is gaining in resonance, globally

Personally, I see this level of transparency as a positive response to urban living.  When time was, you always had to mind your manners; smaller communities meant less anonymity and greater social accountability.  The Golden Rule has been repeated across time and cultures, for good reason.

This level of transparency is, ultimately, liberating.  When you aren't weighing the pros and cons of doing something you know is wrong, or of not thinking an action through, you're spending more time doing what you know to be right and making sure you've thought through the consequences.  That's better for the individual and better for society.

UPDATE: The FBI is apparently looking to develop an application that would allow for them to monitor social media. This is the kind of thing that makes people's spines shiver - government sneaking looks into your personal lives.  It's Big Brother McCarthyism meets Minority Report

There's a flip side to this coin, though - with the Internet and social media, the playing field is increasingly equal; information can and does find the means to go both ways.  Hence, WikiLeaks.

We're all going to be holding each other to account, which is how it should be.

UPDATER: Another story about how the content and context of a Twitter comment led to an unitended consequence.  We're all being forced, by public accountability, into thinking a bit harder before we open our mouths or strike our keys.  This is a good thing.

UPDATEST:  .  Need I say more?

Updated-ier: Robocalls.  Crime might pay in the short term, but there are fewer and fewer dark corners in society to hide in.  The light of transparency shines ever brighter.

And Rounding Out 2013:

The Tables Have Turned: Now We're Watching the NSA

And closing off 2014, courtesy of #ghomeshi:

I predict that, just as the accusations made by Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas ushered in a sensitivity to sexual harassment many years ago, the Ghomeshi saga will create a sea change in Canadian’s views toward abuse of power in the workplace and the responsibilities of everyone involved.

 UPDATE #elxn42, Fall of 2015:


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