Bullseye Network

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Open Your Bullseye

Over the next few months, businesses, other organizations and consumers in the US will have the chance to prove that we are capable of handling at least some of the issues surrounding individuals' control of personal data - or not.
If we do not do so, the US government will work up a set of laws designed to guarantee so-called "personal privacy." These laws are likely to be complex, inflexible, difficult to implement, and worst of all counterproductive when applied to the Internet, which operates outside the US as well as within it. Among other things, the US will need to coordinate its policy with other countries, most notably those of Europe, which are also lurching towards some common policy.
It's not that any government involvement at all is bad. Without government prodding and disclosure requirements, the transparent market for privacy might not emerge at all. Moreover, traditional governments themselves are part of the self-organizing market for governance systems we hope will emerge.
(We define a market as a place where people can make choices. In the long run, we hope people on the Net will be able to choose under which government's or other jurisdiction's rules to operate in each sphere to operate in each sphere of online activity.)
Meanwhile, governments maintain the necessary courts and recourse systems are still lacking in cyberspace. Banishment, the primary form of Net punishment, is hardly sufficient to deter serious malefactors. Thus, we foresee a market of coordinating, collaborating and competing jurisdictions rather than one without traditional governments. We also see a market where leading businesses vie to educate the public because they believe that gives them an advantage.


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