Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The keywords are...

If you don't mind me asking.... what are you wearing?

Now normally a conversation is private and unrecorded. A whisper in your ear.

Now that whisper is going through a microphone, over a network (cell or IP) and in to a speaker. Then in you our ear.

Which means the whisper is tracked. Bruce Schneier points out that the Mark Foley scandal in the US shows that our intimate conversations can be saved and made public later.

"Everyday conversation used to be ephemeral. Whether face-to-face or by phone, we could be reasonably sure that what we said disappeared as soon as we said it. Of course"..."phone taps and room bugs, but that was the exception. Privacy was the default assumption."

"This has changed. We now type our casual conversations. We chat in e-mail, with instant messages on our computer and SMS messages on our cellphones, and in comments on social networking Web sites like Friendster, LiveJournal, and MySpace. These conversations -- with friends, lovers, colleagues, fellow employees -- are not ephemeral; they leave their own electronic trails."

"We know this intellectually, but we haven't truly internalized it. We type on, engrossed in conversation, forgetting that we're being recorded."

This is where blogging is different. You are talking to the public, not to a private person. Some people expose their heart to the world in their blogs. But they do so knowing that, potentially, the world could be listening.

Maybe we can use that power for good.

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