My stats had a serious spike last week with trackback from The Accordion Guy at Kodefu.com. Who had been blind to the bad whuffie of his new squeeze.
The readers digest version for those who had not heard: Joey deVilla meets girl, Joey deVilla blogs of her wonderful attributes, blog visitor makes comment about her being a scam, Joey deVilla meets in person with comment maker for authentication, potential harm and grief was greatly avoided thanks to an open environment of information on the web. | full story |
I think the "blogosphere" picked this up because it shows the potential good of of the virtual community created by blogging. Blogging is better than the psychic network. I think this is a strong indicator of the potential for a whuffie system. I think the key for that system to be truly functional is an open opt in, adhoc environment, that is not simply a tool serving a corporate or government entity. (or serving political or financial intersts, either.) But a people's system, made by the people, for the people, and of the people.
The fulcrum question in an age where identity issues and ethics are in the spotlight, how can one continue a reasonable amount of confidentiality, and still participate in an open database like the Whuffie system?
I am still working on my postulates for such a system that I plan on publishing soon and it is a given that certain parts of ones Whuffie database would be entirely opt-in and either entirely private, or accessible to only certain users.
However, the issue of privacy could also be approached from an oncoming global transition to a "no privacy" social system. Meaning that everyone's records are available to everyone everywhere. While this is questionable if not reasonably distasteful to everyone, it has already happened. Big corporations often have more information about you and your habits, then even you or the government, who has also been trying to catch up from the rear of the information compilation process. Another shocking example is that Google can deliver anyone's listed street address by entering your phone number (area code first, separated by dashes.) It used to be you had to either be a recipient of a local phonebook directory mailing, or obtain one to get that info, but now anyone anywhere can know where you live anytime. While that seems invasive, and even frightening, it also can be comforting. That pushy car salesman, might not be so rude when he see's you Google his home address from his phone # on his business card. Caller ID has surely seriously deminished prank calls. (Although I got one from some total moron, who's home address I know, not too long ago.)
Don't get me wrong I am a big advocate of privacy. However, our world is being redefined by technology, and it up to us to create ethics that coincide with it.
While criminals will likely always hide in the shadows with false identities, publicly held, open information systems could actually serve to diminish criminal activity and identity theft, while at the same time, protecting your rights to privacy. Unfortunately the common man is down by ten, and "Big Brother" is heading towards the end zone.
Many think it is too late, and that it is a fate we have to accept. I do not. This kind of cowardice, apathy, and willingness to accept control, is what fuels dictatorships, cruel monarchies, and disfunctional democracies. We are the architects of our world. We must reason, act, and sacrifice for our future and our children's future.