As an avid reader and a IT professional, I am often asked my opinion on digital books. Yes, I do have an opinion but it is sometimes complicated.
The idea of digital books on an electronic reader is great but the books are often encumbered and the electronic readers are not even close to the ideal. Will we ever get there? I think eventually the readers will approach the ideal but I am not as certain about the digital content.
In response to an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dated August 23, 2006, titled ‘Survellance isn’t such a bad thing’ by Jim Brown.
Mr Brown makes the analogy that surveillance cameras in public settings are the equivalent of living in a town where everyone knows who you are. Generally, I agree with the analogy except for one critical point.
That point relates to who holds the information of your activities. In a small town, no single person or entity has full knowledge; instead it is aggregated to the whole town. With surveillance cameras, full knowledge is limited to a few entities and there is no aggregate knowledge. This is a very significant difference.
I much prefer the approach taken by author David Brinn in his book The Transparent Society. Dr Brinn basically argues that (from Wikipedia):
True privacy will be lost in the “transparent society”; however, we have the choice between one that offers the illusion of privacy by restricting the power of surveillance to authorities, or one that destroys that illusion by offering everyone access (including the ability to watch the watchers).
He argues that it would be good for society if the surveillance is equal for all, and the public has the same access as those in power. He bases this argument upon the claim that the most dangerous and corrupt abuses of power go hand-in-hand with a lack of accountability and transparency.”
The approach taken by The Transparent Society matches Mr. Brown’s analogy much better than the current system. The current system gives camera access only to their owners and law enforcement.
Surveillance cameras will become ubiquitous. We might as well get used to that. Then we can calmly consider how we want our future society to function. Surely we will want access to information to be widespread and not limited to a few powerful entities.