privacy and the global database
October 28, 1996

as good as reality

Commercial databases such as Lexis-Nexis, whose data sources include retailers and credit reporting agencies, sell access to their combined database, including searching capability, to "government, law enforcement, and the legal profession", however anyone with the cash can buy access.

Just as there is only one internet, there is only one database. The big databases will eventually converge, using datamatching. There is no escaping the evolution of a comprehensive global database that knows everything about everybody. It cannot be stopped - to outlaw it would simply force it underground, and make it more devious than ever.

It is not reasonable to expect removal from the database - that removal has been requested will simply become another statistic with which to profile, perhaps moving you to the "hidden" (and thus more violated) category.

privacy should be a choice

I am not a private person, as I think that the more secrets, the more stress. For me, it doesn't make sense to be private; the benefits of sharing outweigh the detriments. I choose to embrace honesty, encourage communication, facilitate understanding, and nurture trust and respect, by hiding nothing. Information should be free - remember? Yet, this is my choice, and I support the right of others to choose. Everyone has the right to share at a rate and to a degree that is of their own choosing.

Privacy and freedom are at opposite ends of a choice/prescription continuum. Trust is when people give away freedom or privacy by choice; vulnerability is when people's freedom or privacy is taken from them, by prescripted conduct such as rules and laws. Choice leads to responsibility; prescription leads to exploitation.

 a liberal conceptual framework

a liberal conceptual framework

Thus it is OK to be less private, or less free, as long as people choose to be so.

Indeed, the more they choose so, the more trust they bestow in others, the more responsibility is learned. Conversely, the more people are forced to surrender their privacy and freedom, the more vulnerable to exploitation they become.

privacy is a response to prohibitions

Individuals seek to preserve their privacy to insure themselves against control and exploitation by protectionist mechanisms (such as the law). This is not to judge their actions; it is natural to wish to avoid punishment. I don't support punishment - it is a protectionist mechanism in itself.

The need for privacy is created and maintained by protectionism. Privacy is a right, but only because others have given themselves the right to invade it; privacy is an attack by the free on the forces of protection, control and exploitation. Remove the protection, control and exploitation, and the need for privacy is eliminated; nothing is illegal, as there is no law, and thus nothing to hide, and nobody to hide from.


Privacy is impossible, given that people naturally share, and laws to discourage sharing will not be effective. And privacy is undesirable, given that more can be achieved with understanding and co-operation. The global database could be instrumental in the fortuitous evolution of the universe, if law was abolished. Until then, the global database will remain a tool of exploitation.