The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose between Privacy and Freedom?

By David Brin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
LESSONS IN
ACCOUNTABILITY

Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking.

ATTRIBUTED TO H. L. MENCKEN

Make up your minds that happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.

PERICLES OF ATHENS

For an open society to be flexible and error-resistant, it must deal with all kinds of messy or harsh problems that face people in daily life. And not just normal people, but those who are angry, alienated, or on the edge. Societies have always sought to reinforce those human traits they found worthwhile, and to diminish those deemed injurious. In a culture based on diversity and appreciation of eccentricity, there should be a lot of the former, and just a few of the latter. But we can still expect a need for law, and restraints applied upon those who would do harm.

In this book, we emphasize accountability as a tried-and-true technique for minimizing disaster in a complex society, and mutual transparency as a useful means to ensure accountability. This chapter will deal with a few examples, some of them taken from the new electronic world of video cameras, multimedia, and computerized communications. But the principles apply almost anywhere.

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The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose between Privacy and Freedom?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Part 1 - A New World 1
  • Chapter One - The Challenge of an Open Society 3
  • Chapter Two - The Age of Knowledge 32
  • Chapter Three - Privacy Under Siege 54
  • Chapter Four - Can We Own Information? 89
  • Part II - Minefields 115
  • Chapter Five - Human Nature and the Dilemma of Openness 117
  • Chapter Six - Lessons in Accountability 149
  • Chapter Seven - The War Over Secrecy 185
  • Part III - Road Maps 231
  • Chapter Eight - Pragmatism in an Uncertain World 233
  • Chapter Nine - Humility and Limits 278
  • Chapter Ten - Global Transparency 309
  • Chapter Eleven - The Road of Openness 325
  • Notes 336
  • Follow-Up 369
  • Acknowledgments 371
  • Index 372
  • About the Author 378
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