The technologies of relationships will not ease...

...this fear or pain. They can strengthen and diversify relationships and trust, but not make them automatic, easy, or instant. At the forefront in the chore to cultivate trust--as a business imperative--stands the rugged hurdle of privacy. No other issue summarizes the unique opportunities and challenges of the network economy as much as privacy does.

Privacy concerns were once exclusively aimed at Big Brother government, but net residents quickly realized that commercial entities--the little brothers on the net--were more worrisome. James Gleick, a technology correspondent for the New York Times put it this way: "Whatever the Government may know about us, it seems that the network itself--that ever-growing complex of connections and computers--will know more. And no matter how much we bristle at the idea, we nevertheless seem to want services that the network can provide only if it knows."

An entire book could be written about the fundamental conversation between what we want to know about others and what we want others and the net itself to know about us. But I will make only a single point about privacy in space of an emerging new economy...



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This is a blog version of a book of mine first published in 1998. I am re-issuing it (two posts per week) unaltered on its 10th anniversary. Comments welcomed. More details here.
-- KK