New Civilization News: Transparency, Anonymity and Pseudonymity    
 Transparency, Anonymity and Pseudonymity17 comments
picture20 Mar 2006 @ 01:56, by Uncle Remus

In an essay titled, Thinking Outside the Box: Considering Transparency, Anonymity, and Pseudonymity as Overall Solutions to the Problems of Information Privacy in the Internet Society [pdf file], Tal Z. Zarsky* analyzes various aspects of transparency, anonymity, and pseudonymity and envisions societies where our personal information is, respectively, out in the open, hidden in its entirety, or somewhat blurred due to the use of multiple identities.

The author starts by discussing and analyzing transparency (a transparent society features constant and broad surveillance, but provides everyone with access to the outputs of such sureveillance), but mostly finds it unsuitable as a response to today’s privacy concerns, because the provision of vast amounts of personal information comes with incurable side effects----potential for abuse, misuse, error, discrimination, manipulation, and "the autonomy trap." The author also raises serious doubts as to the assumption that a “transparent society” would prove sufficient in leveling the playing field between the stronger and weaker players in the current information market.

From there, the author moves on to anonymity (by which, theoretically the above problems can be solved by disconnecting the information collected and the individuals to whom it pertains). The drawback, however, is that it also brings the flow of information to a halt and creates powerful side effects of its own----loss of accountability, distribution of false information, and loss of civility present in face-to-face encounters.

Ultimately, the author settles for an intermediate solution---pseudonymity*---that solves many of today’s privacy concerns without much of the drawbacks of raw anonymity. Such a mechanism allows the speaker to create ongoing accountability and goodwill for the specific alias (which takes on a personality of its own), without revealing its real source or the individual’s own identity. By allowing the individual to directly and discreetly receive messages intended for the alias, with two-way communications---what the author calls "traceable pseudonimity"----a pseudonymous society can even accommodate actual interactions or business transactions and can empower individuals in unique and surprising ways.

*Pseudonymity means 'pen name' and describes a state of disguised identity resulting from the use of a pseudonym (also called nym). link
The pseudonym identifies a holder, that is, one or more human beings who possess but do not disclose their true names (that is, legal identities).
For example, all of the Federalists Papers were signed by Publius, a pseudonym shared by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay.


As it is right now, humankind is a schizophrenic moron. Or manic-depressive, maybe. Sometimes brilliant and productive, mostly lethargic, largely criminally destructive. Despite that many members of the human race are well-meaning, knowledgeable and resourceful. We desperately need to be connected in a manner that is constructively complex, so as to awaken our collective intelligence. Maybe that is something we can do on the internet, maybe it is a different way of doing a few key things. It appears that none of us are smart enough to solve the puzzle. But we might be smart enough to discover patterns that allow something bigger to emerge. We might not be clever enough to know exactly how to do it, but we might know how to start something that triggers the emergence of a bigger level of intelligence.
----Ming TV - Key Concept


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20 Mar 2006 @ 17:49 by Hanae @ : Quote of the Day? Picture of the Day?
Really, Uncle Rem'!

Is this like an NCN academy award, now?  

20 Mar 2006 @ 18:12 by uncleremus : No, no awards here - are you kidding?

---not in NCN's name in any case.

I do not speak for NCN. I can only speak for myself.

Like you do. Like Ming does. Like anyone here, member and non-member alike, does.

I just like the quote, that's all. And I do like the picture, too. And, somehow, it all seemed to fit together, for some reason. It all came to me as I was putting this post together. I am not sure exactly how, or even why?

Do you believe in coincidences, Hanae?

"There are no coincidences, only the illusion of coincidence"
----V, V for Vendetta  

20 Mar 2006 @ 18:25 by Hanae @ : Synchronicity?
I don't think that Ming is about to blow up parliament or anuthing like that, you know, lol. Not really his style.

But, yes, I see it too, there is a resemblance somewhere. Can't quite put my finger onto it. Maybe it's the mustache, you think?  

20 Mar 2006 @ 18:42 by uncleremus : Hard to say

That quote though, it sounds just like something V could have said.  

20 Mar 2006 @ 19:32 by Hanae @ : Ming TV
I had predicted that if Ming moved to France he would grow soft. In retrospect, I feel pretty bad I said that actually. I was, you know, concerned that he would be losing his touch. "Creative Intelligence Through Synergetic Diversity" is a nice notion. Always nice to revisit what one's key concepts are - I like the quote. So, hey, maybe the old man still got it, eh?  

20 Mar 2006 @ 20:09 by uncleremus : I don't think Ming is losing his touch
And he is not an "old man," either---not in his heart, he isn't---come to think of it, I am not sure what his actual age is. It's just that...well...As I see it, and I believe he might have said something along the same lines...what he was hoping for is that the network would turn into something that would self-organize and transform itself along the way. And, well, what he found out...what most people found that some of the best results where actually achieved when a facilitator (mostly Ming) is around...because activists, explorers, visionaries, futurists, artists, inventors, leaders of organizations, etc. the kind of people Ming had hoped would make NCN their home...and self organize.... well, they didn't...and mostly they didn't know how to work together. I mean, sure, groups formed here and there (and that's one feature of NCN that's still active)...but nothing ever really fell into place on a grander scale, in a synergistic way, like the "collage of a diversity of currents that somehow got woven together," like Ming had hoped.

And, well, Ming could probably sink a huge amount of time in here, as a facilitator, and try and make things work better...and things would probably work better. But, Ming doesn't have that kind of time. Furthermore, the more he gets directly involved and try to influence things the more remote NCN becomes as a project from the original intention of "something that would self-organize and transform itself along the way."

Ming is very aware of all this. And spoke of it at various times, like {link:|here}

Some have suggested that some of the perceived weaknesses of the system be addressed mechanically, that is at the structure level:

The activists, explorers, visionaries, futurists, artists, inventors, leaders of organizations, of which Ming speaks, there are still there, out there on the web. They are out there "self organizing" working on their own project---only not on NCN. Why? Why do boats launch in some ports and not in some others? Is it the fault of the boats if they don't chose your port?

The "key concept," was to facilitate the emergence of a synergy, i.e. something greater than the sum of the parts. "Creative Intelligence Through Synergetic Diversity." That means communication. Communication on a grand scale. And, well, there are signs that some of those things that Ming had been looking for to happen on NCN, might just be slowly coalescing on their own, out there, on the World Wide Web (look at wikipedia for example.)

It doesn't make NCN irrelevant. The vision is still there...and what a beautiful vision it still is! I have faith in Ming, I wouldn't be here if I didn't. But that is irrelevant, isn't it? The whole thing is not about Ming---no more than it was about V, in the film "V for Vendetta"---it is about the future. Our faith that a better future is possible (and to begin with, that there is a future), our faith in ourselves, and our faith in others and in our ability to work together with other to build a better world.

NCN was an experiment. It still is.  

20 Mar 2006 @ 23:30 by jstarrs : Hey, that sounds great.
I like what I just read.  

20 Mar 2006 @ 23:37 by Hanae @ : : "Experiment" - ew!
I am not sure I care much for the word.

There is something clinical about it, that makes me feel like that mouse on your previous post, lol.

Anyway, 46. That's the answer to how old Ming is - that's what it says here {link:|link}.
I wonder what the NCN population median and average ages are?
I am only asking because I have been wondering whether there is a correlation between age and a deeper insight into existential questions of life associated with the human condition.  

20 Mar 2006 @ 23:45 by Hanae @ : Yeah, sounded great to me too
I especially like the part about faith in the future. I feel that it is a very important key concept.

I just listened to an interesting interview with an Australian woman who has just been hired to take over the King Drew Medical Center School, which, if you have heard anything at all about local news, you know is in deep doodoo. She was fascinating and on her behalf spoke of three other seemingly helpless projects which she turned around in her career. She was so confidence-inspiring, I felt like going down to south central and signing up myself. But she has an unwavering faith that she can do it. She knows it will take time and patience and communications and connection. Dr. Kelly is her name. I don't remember her first name. But anyway, I think it's important to hold on to that concept of "faith in the future."  

21 Mar 2006 @ 01:04 by uncleremus : GASP! Hanae!
Don't you know it is considered impolite to talk of a person's age like that?
Unless you are talking of someone who is pretty young. Well, 46 seems pretty young to me, so I guess those are mitigating circumstances then.

As for what the average age of the NCN population is---gasp, gasp, triple gasp---you are pulling my leg, right?

The short answer, of course, is that I don't know.

The long answer is: Why do you care? You know as I do, that studies already exist that suggest there is a significant correlation between spirituality and age.

I did read your thesis, remember?

I quote: "This relationship may imply that spirituality increases as a function of age, possibly as a way to cope with the realization of one's own mortality" [Hunglemann et al., 1996 - Reed, 1991]  

21 Mar 2006 @ 01:31 by Hanae @ : Not the same thing
My research was more about the interest of people (and older adults amongst other) in reaching beyond themselves, doing and caring for others, and disinterest in the material.

Anyway, yes I was pulling your leg Uncle Rem' - the whole Transparency/Anonymity premise and all. Just couldn't help myself :0)  

21 Mar 2006 @ 04:59 by i2i : LOL
Please, don't mind Hanae's manners, Remus. Sometimes she just gets a little too "smart" for her own good.  

21 Mar 2006 @ 06:10 by i2i : King/Drew Medical Center
I suspect most people here probably don't have any idea what Hanae was talking about. It's been a huge story in Southern California. I don't think it's that important in so far as its relevance to Uncle Remus's post is concerned, but since Hanae mentioned it, I thought I would just drop this link {link:|here} anyway, for those of us who might be wondering what the story is all about.  

21 Mar 2006 @ 06:59 by uncleremus : King/Drew
Thanks i2i. I had actually already heard about it. News travel fast, and news as big as this do not remain "local" very long.

My guess is that Hanae brought this up in the context of the role of Susan Kelly as a "facilitor." In an interview earlier this week, Dr. Kelly had said that she likes "to work with organizations that have powerful and honorable missions but for some reason are not fulfilling that."

She also said that the university's mission----to care for the underserved (the university was founded in 1966, to serve a community in need. King/Drew was founded several years later, in direct response to the Watts riots)----fits well with her values: "I come from a country where nobody is uninsured, and I really honestly believe that education, poverty, race and color should never come between you and getting medical care." (Dr. Kelly is from Australia.)  

21 Mar 2006 @ 17:35 by Hanae @ : Haha funny i2i
The moral of the story, I heard, is "one learns that children, especially young lasses, pretty, courteous and well-bred, do very wrong to listen to strangers, And it is not an unheard thing if the Wolf is thereby provided with his dinner," lol.

I am not sure who or what exactly the wolf under the covers is supposed to stand for, but the little red ridding hood looks nothing like me. So, there!  

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