Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Sivacracy on Privacy and Surveillance

Last week, Siva Vaidhyanathan, of Sivacracy [link to no longer works], released a new column in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Naked in the ‘Nonopticon’ [link to no longer works] has some refreshing thoughts on privacy and surveillance that I wish more of us on the security side understood better. His main themes are (in his own words):

1) Anyone who claims “young people don’t care about privacy” doesn’t understand that privacy is about control, not about whether we choose to reveal our sexual or consumer details in public forums.
2) We have at least four “privacy” interfaces” and try to govern our details and reputations differently in each one. For instance, we regulate information about ourselves one way among friends and family, and a different way with Amazon or Google.
3) The “Panopticon” model of surveillance is stale and inapplicable to the current situation. We don’t suffer from knowing we are being watched. We suffer more from the surveillance we are not supposed to see or understand — such as the illegal domestic wiretapping in the United States.

Additionally, his reviews of Daniel Solove’s [link to no longer works] and James Rule’s new books, makes me wish I had more time to read in the next few weeks.
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One comment on "Sivacracy on Privacy and Surveillance"

  • beri says:

    The comments about being watched reminded me about what I heard on NPR yesterday. People sued the government, saying that their communications had been monitored to find out if they were in communication with terrorists. the government denied the suit, saying taht the people suing had to prove they had been monitored. BUT that information is secret, so they cannot prove their case.

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