November 12, 2002
Digital life and personal freedom

Previously I made a comment about the link between digital technologies, intellectual property and personal freedom. It still seems to me that the digitization of our personal space means that we will to a greater and greater extent extrovert our thoughts into some technological device (e.g. - when we do that we are suddenly publishers - and intellectual property rights owners think they have some rights on our expression. The conflict between the principles of the information economy and the principles of individual liberty become very important and visible. The grandfather of digital risks to personal freedom is of course the fear of the universal personal ID

It is very hard to have a reasonable and workable opinion about these issues. The digitization presents remarkable opportunities for prosperity and a good life, but making them mandatory (btw as a left leaning Scandinavian I have been happily centrally registered for ages) makes them dangerous.
Our notions of society simply don't cover the networked society, and our network does not really support any notions of society at all (except a naively open one). Using current technology the digital life is essentially a public life.
Clearly 'freedom of speech' must be augmented with a constitutional principle of 'fair use' - since we will be users of so many technical and semi-technical interfaces, and since text and other forms of 'speech' more and more become something we use, i.e. more and more active functionally as opposed to purely being expression, but I'm not sure that does really cover what the notion of Networked Man should be.

This btw. relates to the very way we build our technology. Only open adaptable technology makes it possible for the individual to choose NOT to join the collective.

Posted by Claus at November 12, 2002 04:30 PM
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