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Thread: Space Colony : Transparency vs Privacy

  1. #1 Space Colony : Transparency vs Privacy 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Back to one of my pet topics, Space Colony, this time to gather thoughts about guidelines to draw what is public data from private data.

    The context: lets say you are part of a Space Colony that commonly agrees that open source development and open participation(like Wikipedia) should inspire the organization as much as possible,
    and that all want as much transparency as possible with everything related to public/common/group-organization administration and operations. As much as possible,
    you want all decisions in managing the colony to be based on data which is available to everyone on the colony's internet at any time.

    If we start from a position where all data, information, knowledge, is transparent and accessible, what should remain private?

    (Note that you could also have forms of anonymized data that provide instanced information without the identity)



    { We sometimes hear that if you have nothing to hide you should not fear invasion of privacy [~If you are not a criminal why wouldnt there be a camera in your living room, are you a terrorist?~ or, ~well if theres no cocaine bag in your rec#@l cavity then you shouldnt mind being probed at the airport since you have nothing to hide~], but on the other hand we sometime do want our privacy and imo lack of anonymity can sometimes suppress free expression with regards to views that are unpopular (ex: in Iran it could be said no one is gay, because if you say so you are arrested, so everyone claims to be straight. Its slightly similar with secret ballot voting which can often be more representative than open voting where theres more distortions due to the keeping PC image and peer pressure.) }


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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Back to one of my pet topics, Space Colony, this time to gather thoughts about guidelines to draw what is public data from private data.

    The context: lets say you are part of a Space Colony that commonly agrees that open source development and open participation(like Wikipedia) should inspire the organization as much as possible,
    and that all want as much transparency as possible with everything related to public/common/group-organization administration and operations. As much as possible,
    you want all decisions in managing the colony to be based on data which is available to everyone on the colony's internet at any time.

    If we start from a position where all data, information, knowledge, is transparent and accessible, what should remain private?

    (Note that you could also have forms of anonymized data that provide instanced information without the identity)



    { We sometimes hear that if you have nothing to hide you should not fear invasion of privacy [~If you are not a criminal why wouldnt there be a camera in your living room, are you a terrorist?~ or, ~well if theres no cocaine bag in your rec#@l cavity then you shouldnt mind being probed at the airport since you have nothing to hide~], but on the other hand we sometime do want our privacy and imo lack of anonymity can sometimes suppress free expression with regards to views that are unpopular (ex: in Iran it could be said no one is gay, because if you say so you are arrested, so everyone claims to be straight. Its slightly similar with secret ballot voting which can often be more representative than open voting where theres more distortions due to the keeping PC image and peer pressure.) }

    I would desire a government where (nothing) was private. As soon as leaders hide information, the general population loses touch with reality.


    My opinion on your last statements,

    Why no cameras in everyone's living room? Because sometimes people do things like, walk around with no clothes on, ex.ex.ex., and they don't want others to see that.

    I also believe we need the airport searches, to avoid terrorist attacks.

    But I do think people should be able to vote in private, to avoid that peer pressure you spoke of.


    When you spoke about cameras in everyone's living rooms, who is watching the footage from the cameras? Perhaps the people/governments who would be watching the cameras, are the ones who actually need the cameras in their own living rooms. When the watcher is the one, who actually needs to be watched.


    Last edited by chad; November 6th, 2012 at 04:06 PM.
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    I think privacy is a fundamental right and unless the government has a valid reason to suspect someone they shouldn't have access to any individual information unless it's vetted through an independent agent, like a judge, which a colony will need anyhow. That being said the colony will probably need access to consolidated information such as how many people are in certain parts of the colony, how many are training in a certain skill, received the right immunizations etc. But even in those cases the detailed should be masked unless approved by an independent agent to verify the requirement and level of risk to the colony is proportional to the level of privacy infringement.
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    Aggregate health information has to be anonymised, but. In a space colony vaccinations would have to be mandatory. So people who couldn't be vaccinated because of their own health/immune system issues would have to at least wear something like a MedicAlert bracelet. There'd need to be aggregate information about needed quantities of drugs and other medical supplies, but no individual information should be public about who has what procedure or medical condition without overwhelming reason.

    As for other privacy matters, my view is that privacy is the default position for individuals. You have to be identified as to the fact that you exist and where you live, beyond that .... very little. Seeing as this scenario requires that public activities be open and transparent so the sort of problems we're familiar with in the behaviour of corporations wouldn't arise unless that transparency was allowed to deteriorate, I see no reason why you wouldn't grant maximum privacy to individuals.

    Individual privacy does not mean that what happens behind closed doors stays there just because the events are nominally private or personal. Communities have a valid concern about child health, neglect or abuse. They also have valid concerns about violence within families and about the effects of one person's mental health problems on others within a household. You just have to make good rather than bad choices about how such matters are handled.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    So to recap,

    you could have public administration and working environments that were transparent, as far as data and method/procedure (along with accessible training/tutorial), with anonymized data pertaining to individuals, and have all other aspects of your life as an individual colonist be private or anonymized.



    Would it be possible to create an experimental town on earth, whose organization and management would serve as a simulation/prototype for a potential colony (similar to what has been described) in the future?
    What would make it possible and what would be the major challenges?
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    Personally I think the "right to privacy" is an idiotic right. Especially when people associate it with the Constitution of the USA. (There is no such right anywhere mentioned in the document. The closest you get is the right not to be subjected to "Unreasonable Searches and Siezures")

    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post


    { We sometimes hear that if you have nothing to hide you should not fear invasion of privacy [~If you are not a criminal why wouldnt there be a camera in your living room, are you a terrorist?~ or, ~well if theres no cocaine bag in your rec#@l cavity then you shouldnt mind being probed at the airport since you have nothing to hide~],

    So here's the first issue : convenience. To me, the biggest concern with the police showing up to search my home is they're probably going to make a big mess, break stuff, and then I'll have to clean it all up. Without search warrants, the police could simply harass me needlessly. The example you gave of an anal probe is pretty good too. I wouldn't want one of those done to me whether to find drugs or not.

    Which brings up another concern. We don't want peeping Toms, so people need to have the right to avoid being seen naked. If that right is granted, then a husband and wife, or pair of lovers could have private chats all the time alone in the bedroom, and so now we're allowing them to "conspire" are we not?

    but on the other hand we sometime do want our privacy and imo lack of anonymity can sometimes suppress free expression with regards to views that are unpopular (ex: in Iran it could be said no one is gay, because if you say so you are arrested, so everyone claims to be straight. Its slightly similar with secret ballot voting which can often be more representative than open voting where theres more distortions due to the keeping PC image and peer pressure.) }
    This is the other issue, and more pressing. The criminal element doesn't bring you into court and let a jury decide. They also don't respect your rights, such as your freedom of speech. If you want to say something about the leader of a local gang of thugs, you would do well to keep your identity a secret. If everything you do and say is public knowledge, then the local gang knows how much money you have, what kinds of weapons you keep in your home, what your routine is..... etc...

    Also, don't fool yourself: there are always going to be some criminals who become police officers, or vice versa: police officers who become criminals.
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    I guess a simpler way to look at it is to say the right to secrecy is an extension of the right to self defense. In most fights, control of information plays a huge role in deciding the outcome.

    Once a female friend of mine who lived is Portland and I were on the bus and I began discussion out loud where she planned to go afterward. She stopped me and pointed out the safety concern associated with letting every man on that bus know what her route was going to be. And then explained how she takes care to watch for suspicious people following her, or trying to find out where she lives or ... etc. It makes sense. In city, a woman who finds herself with few connections, and largely defenseless against attack, would do well to watch for stalkers of any kind. She should, because those stalkers are looking for women like her who might be susceptible. There are more sadists in the world than anyone wants to admit. Just look at how many Catholic priests got uncovered when that scandal broke loose. It's often the person you don't think it will be.

    So, in a sense, this is a lot like a discussion about gun control. Many people would be happier if the government owned all the guns. Probably the same people are happier if the government knows everybody's secrets.
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    Many people would be happier if the government owned all the guns. Probably the same people are happier if the government knows everybody's secrets.
    You'd be wrong about that. Australia and Canada are pretty strict about who can and can't have guns, what they do with them and how they do it. But you'd never accuse Canadians or Australians of being willing to let their governments know anything more than they absolutely have to do about them, let alone their private affairs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Many people would be happier if the government owned all the guns. Probably the same people are happier if the government knows everybody's secrets.
    You'd be wrong about that. Australia and Canada are pretty strict about who can and can't have guns, what they do with them and how they do it. But you'd never accuse Canadians or Australians of being willing to let their governments know anything more than they absolutely have to do about them, let alone their private affairs.
    I guess in that case they are pretty lucky, the UK is rapidly turning into George Orwell's vision for 1984, what with CCTV cameras watching peoples every move, Councils having the power to enter people's homes at will, government databases of people for alsorts of things. It got to a stage under the last Labour Government where councils were paying people to follow members of the public spy on them and report back their finding's, they also tried putting micro chips in people's bins to monitor usage. Even now we still have telephone lines where ordinary people are encouraged to ring up and shop their neighbours if they 'suspect' any misdeeds, talk about borrowing from the Stasi playbook.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    I sure as hell would not want people to have guns in a space colony in orbit, on the moon or on mars. (was each shuttle astronaut armed, for the purpose of starting to shoot another astronaut that would start shooting a someone in the shuttle?)

    Maybe some kind of less dangerous model of taser, or some form of net weapon, but I would be betting on prevention of incidents, and would give training to most citizens so they can act in an efficient way in case of an incident (citizen police, with communicator to call for help, judo and immobilization techniques and first aid training etc).

    "the UK is rapidly turning into George Orwell's vision for 1984"
    No kidding, I even heard the police wanted to/could take DNA samples of kids to be recorded in an Orwellian police-state DNA database. It appears the citizens of the UK, even if a majority do not want to sink into Orwell's 1984 are somewhat powerless to prevent it, because most organizations that make these decisions are hierarchies insulated from public will, they are closed opaque and non democratic hierarchies, usually not accountable to the people directly but to someone in another institution that is nominated by a mini Baron with a 4 year mandate, and who can be replaced by another Baron (but whose action on a given issue can be identical).


    Spying on neighbors and so on, is not in line with my view on Transparency (or public organizations or organizations in general), since it monitors people's private activities, as opposed to the activities of an organized group, or, that of people with decision making positions (where an official can get a bribe from a contractor to change zoning laws or allow unnecessary expenses/contracts with the briber's company, or diverting funds or resources for his personal benefit, or fails to inform the community that the organization's activities are detrimental to the public's interest or health).
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Spying on neighbors and so on, is not in line with my view on Transparency (or public organizations or organizations in general), since it monitors people's private activities, as opposed to the activities of an organized group, or, that of people with decision making positions (where an official can get a bribe from a contractor to change zoning laws or allow unnecessary expenses/contracts with the briber's company, or diverting funds or resources for his personal benefit, or fails to inform the community that the organization's activities are detrimental to the public's interest or health).
    How would you stop those things from happening? Are you just after basic transparency, like the government leaving open to the public view its expense accounts?

    I'm confortable with that. There really should be a database where every government expenditure is posted. It could be sorted into parts. Different categories, like in house expenses (paying government employees) and third party expenses (paying a contracting company). I think it's quite wrong that the public isn't allowed to see that stuff now that the technology exists to put it on the web.
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