Dan Biddle| 12:54 UK time, Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Wired's Chris Anderson joined the Digital Revolution production at the Web at 20 launch event to share his views upon a topic central to programme three: the issues of privacy and safety that arise from our constant and seemingly open interactions with the web.
Chris Anderson on privacy and the value of trust:
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So, where do you set your privacy dial when you go online?
Transcript of Chris' speech on privacy:
In the exchange of information both explicit and implicit, everything we do on line leaves a trail, that could trail. When you shop, when you search, when you comment, when you tweet, when you blog - all that we're doing for our own reasons. And yet it's creating something of potential value to others. Not only that but it's creating something of potential misuse.
What this requires is that we need to understand what the implications are, what the consequences are of what we do. And we're training... We have a generation - the facebook generation - whose instinct is towards openness, whose instinct is towards transparency, not out of any sort of philosophical belief that transparency is good, they're doing it for their own reasons. They're doing it to establish social ties to their friends, they're doing it to establish who they are, they're doing it as a form of identity, and on some level a form of self-promotion, to establish their rank in the social order. The consequence of that is they're also leaving a record out there which can be potentially turned into money by companies who market to them, and could potentially be used against them by those who want to do so.
Laws unfortunately are too coarse-grained to be able to prevent this. You know you can have a privacy law but the problem is that each one of us turns our own privacy dial to a different level. I choose to live in public, my wife chooses to live in private. You can google me and find out everything about me. You can't google my wife. We set that dial ourselves, and I think what we're going to have to do is train and teach a generation as to the consequences of what they do, rather than assume that governments are going to be able to protect us from that. Likewise, we won't be able to stop governments, you know, some government somewhere, hopefully not our own, from misusing this, and it'll be hard to stop companies from doing this as well. All we have is the power of our actions to rail against it; to avoid it; to leave companies that misuse our trust; to require companies and governments to be open and transparent and honest about what they're doing, so that we can weigh the consequences of what we will do.
The Virtual Revolution looks at how the web is shaping our world. Previously known as Digital Revolution (working title), it has been an open and collaborative production, which asked the web audience to debate programme themes, suggest and send questions for interviewees, watch and comment on interview and graphics clips, and download clips for personal use and re-editing.
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