David Brin, author of the Transparent Society and advocate of democratic surveillance, debated Brad Templeton Chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation on the relatie merits of privacy vs transparency. They both seemed to assume that surveillance technologies were inevitably going to win out over privacy protecting technologies. The history of warfare should tell us that it is always an arms race.
What really surprised me here is that neither approached this issue from the perspective of the election we just had (perhaps because they were both in agreement on being rabidly anti-Bush). David Brin is arguing that we should be able to observe every little detail about our neighbors. Brad is arguing that we need privacy or this ability to see our neighbors will be abused by elites. But, neither addressed the question of whether we should have privacy in the voting booth. And, what technologies we can apply to protect voting booth privacy if we even should.
Perhaps Brin would argue that we will just learn “to avert our eyes.” But I find this argument shockingly weak. There is a reason why virtually every democratic society has tried to protect voter privacy. I am sending Brad and David a link to this post. Lets see what they say.