Transparency vs. Privacy -- Where to draw the line

I really want transparency in government.  I do.  I think that understanding how much things costs help people understand why they are being taxed, why it is important to pay attention to who is making our laws and how they are being made.  Suffering from too much information to make decisions just means that more opportunities to generate metrics, to aggregate data. 

Google is a prime example of this.  Google pulls every bit of data it can from as many sources.  Google reads your e-mail.  And by that, I mean a computer analyzes the words in your e-mail to try to target ads that are more likely to be appropriate to you.  The sheer number of words that pass through a mail server the size of Google are too voluminous for a human to analyze, which is why a computer does it.

But can transparency go too far?

How about it fellow Leaguers?  Is that a good use of the public information act?  That's (theoretically) everyone's salary that works for the state of Texas.  From the lowest file clerk to the highest commissioner.  Available, by name, to anyone with an internet connection and the ability to type and click.


what is privacy?

I think the link you posted is quite RUDE for lack of a better term.

I shouldn't be searching on a person's name to see how much they make.  Instead, you know the person and title and you search on the title.  You see how much the title makes. 

Certain other "Rude" sites like PeopleSearch and others (that stalkers and private investigators pay to use) will aggregate that information on you.  Trust me they are already doing worse in regards to house and tax filings.  But they are known "Rude" sites. And they also charge a fee.

But societally speaking, we need context.  That site has poor context.

 I think this is a good example of the discussions we need to be having about privacy.  Hiding things is long gone.  But societal constructs need to be created.  And in extreme cases of safety, laws need to be created. 

Other thing I like to point out about google.  Your information and privacy was being taken from us over a decade ago.  The only difference is that it was for sale to the highest bidder.  Google simply makes it obvious to everyone the data that is available.   I think that is a good thing because it equalizes.  I used to tell people in the early 90's - Email is not private.  I can read it.  Employers can read it.  Anyone can print it and put it on the office bulletin board.

What are societies expectations of privacy?  How realistic are those expectations?

Thanks for the post Michelle!

Wow couldn't agree more.

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Sweden is an interesting case here, the tax forms (including income) of all citizens is available online: ---