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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontological issues relative to privacy.

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Steve Newcomb <srn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2014 15:30:29 -0500
Message-id: <52D84165.5090007@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
As Ali puts it, "the disproportionate power/information positions of
entities" is the deadly problem, here, not our late lamented privacy.
The *deadly* problem is that most of us live on the wrong side of a
one-way mirror.  We cannot see the watchers watching us, and they are
clearly behaving lawlessly, acting far beyond the reach of any
democratic process.  Liberty, like civilian oversight of the military,
cannot survive such a huge imbalance.    (01)

It's pleasantly distracting to lament the death of individual privacy,
but lamentations can't bring it back.  It's reasonable to conclude that
*nothing* can bring it back.  If so, we have no choice but to get over it.    (02)

In retrospect, as a bulwark for liberty, privacy wasn't working very
well anyway.  It's a matter of record that laws have applied far less to
those who can afford to hide than to those without the resources
required for hiding.  So, seen in the light of actual practice, our late
lamented privacy has undermined the rule of law, and, even worse, it has
incentivized lawmaking as a tool of oppression.  One recent example is
law requiring drug testing as a condition of receiving public
assistance.  Personally I think we desperately need to repeal a whole
lot of laws, and maybe even have a constitutional convention, but this
is the wrong forum for such discussions.    (03)

The good news is that, "Now is the time for all good ontologists to come
to the aid of their country."    (04)

Since both knowledge and the freedom to act on it are necessary for
adaptation, and since we can either adapt, or we can die, there's no
future without transparency.  Transparency depends on compelling and
accurate communications, which in turn depend on people who take
responsibility for making things clear to others, both within and among
universes of discourse, and in situations of stupefying complexity.    (05)

We all need ontologists to power-up the lights on the dark side of the
one-way glass that, with very rare and so-far-heroic exceptions, still
separates the powerful from the powerless.  "The powerless" here
includes every single one of us, because nobody can resist the will of
systems that act on knowledge that we cannot access.  As Henry Kissinger
once so candidly put it: "Knowledge plus access equals power."  Life
depends on access.    (06)

Steve Newcomb    (07)

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