One of the biggest problems that will confront us in the years ahead is the increased ability for surveillance -- both covert and public -- that may be conducted by government agencies, corporate entities, and individuals, benign or otherwise. Molecular manufacturing technology will vastly and rapidly enhance that ability, and privacy will become a central issue in political and ethical debates.
It was refreshing today to read a new and potentially valuable perspective on this subject. Arnold Kling, in a piece on Tech Central Station called "The Constitution of Surveillance", offers an overview of the problem and suggests a solution. His article reflects exactly the kind of creative and rigorous thinking we believe is so important to prepare for the changes that emerging technologies will bring. Like CRN, he may not have all the answers, but at this point, the most important thing any of us can do is begin asking the right questions and proposing possible answers.
A question that comes up after reading his ideas is how they might apply outside the United States. The surveillance management structure he suggests may be useful in this country -- and could be used as a model for others -- but the same technologies it is designed to control also will make it easy for malevolent users to extend their reach across borders. A global solution may be called for.