Scorning Privacy
by Rebecca Eisenberg
(original version)
published in Wired 5.2, February, 1997, page 124
copyright Wired, 1997

Who cares about Internet Privacy; try complete disclosure. After all, how can a marketplace -- especially one of "ideas" -- operate without some truth behind the assumption of complete knowledge? Confoundingly, the same folk who argue for a free-market capitalistic economy also argue for secrecy, privacy, and NDAs.

The exchange of information, which is a victim of corporate firewalls, is one of the best ways to foster progress. Many people keep things private against their will. They are usually obligated to another person to do so. And that other person often demands privacy because she would suffer social ridicule if the information got out, or -- possibly more often -- that other person's business would suffer because someone else would "steal ideas."

But if all ideas were shared, there could be no IP theft. And with such a strong incentive for honesty, then little could cause social scorn.

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Copyright 1997 Wired Magazine, reprinted by Rebecca L. Eisenberg. All rights belong to Wired Magazine, not to Rebecca L. Eisenberg.