The value of memory and who posesses it! Podcast recomendation for Eben Moglen

Podcast this post is recommending:

I’ve seen Eben Moglen speek at the Sakai conference before (vs. Bb), and he is well worth the price of admission 😉  Though I would recommend to anyone who listens, that you come with your thinking hat on.  Eben transverse history, law, politics, business and ethics within a half hour talk.  And with a speaking style rarely used in this day and age.

The podcast this post is recommending, comes from the MySQL conference and touches on a small sin that each of us commits daily in this new digital world.  In short, we’ve become so obsessed with saving money, we are willing to give away something even more precious: our own personal information.  Gmail, Flickr, Delicious, MySpace, Facebook, et al are the new free (not open) services that store our personal data.  What will happen to this data in the future as company mergers occur and gov’t requires access to this data for “homeland security”.  Yes scary indeed when you let the imagination run free.  Though I think Eben’s real point in the talk is not to scare-monger us into not using these more open technologies, but rather to be aware of the very valuable things that these companies are holding for us (our memories).   Don’t take for granted that this personal information is trivial, but rather that this information is you yourself (“a picture takes a bit of your soul”).

On a personal note, I feel this goes back towards having a more structured approach to posessing your data (or rather keeping a watchful eye over those who do posesses your data).  It is about understanding your rights to information.  And more importantly, letting people who you know and trust to store your data.  Do you trust your company, your university, your family, yourself?  Who will be the bank of personal information in the future?

My brief notes from Eben’s talk (metadata):

History of the technology of memory:

  • epigraphy: almost everything written from the : list of cows, assets in the treasuries, what people owed.
  • 1086: memory book about English real estate
  • Public facts: substantial change for information to move to being about private facts
  • Early modern ”memory palaces” : early modern rooms that represented ideas, things they needed to retain their personal experiences <- same ideology as the photograph (“talk about the memory of the private”)
  • Photography: to retain a memory that can be possessed and shown
  • Photos hold more memory than our own biological-chemical-carbon based memories
  • There are more cameras than people now: 1.66 CCTV cameras per person in Britain, mobile phones
  • Flickr: the private photograph isn’t private anymore <-this is data about you kept by someone else (technology of memory scales in the digital universe)

Loss of privacy:

  • Identity theft (knowing four facts: Name, SS#, DOB, Mother’s Maiden Name)
  • Who will be the most powerful data agencies in the 21st century: data miners of private data
  • Bailment: object in your care, my goods in your safe keeping
  • Giving data away about your behavior will replace commercial broadcasting: personalized advertisements based on your personal data

Store it yourself vs. letting them store it:

  • doesn’t change availability of data; just who gets the right to data mine
  • law is not the solution, privacy and its ethics are a social decision
  • answer is in our hands.
  • collectively we make this technology
  • collectively we decide what this technology will do
  • collectively we decide on how the technology of memory will exist
  • this is not an intentional evil, but it could lead to the loss of privacy

~ by dfflanders on September 14, 2007.

One Response to “The value of memory and who posesses it! Podcast recomendation for Eben Moglen”

  1. […] What followed at this point was a wide- ranging discussion on whether Virtual Worlds may effect fundamental aspects of human neurology -“Is this an interface that grows the mind or shrinks the mind?” – and underlying issues and problems with privacy on the internet. Two key questions Moglen raises are: “Is store it yourself fundamental to freedom in the 20th Century?” and, “Who gets the logs?” I touched on these questions in an earlier post, “If The Metaverse Goes Wrong….” And there is an excellent podcast of Eben Moglen speaking on these issues at the MySQL conference. Also see David F. Flanders blog. […]

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