Rohit's Realm - June 2010

// / archive / 2010 / 06

June 03, 2010

Ramblings on Privacy and Limited Access

Ever since the latest (though very likely, not the last) Facebook privacy brouhaha broke out last month, I have been struggling to formulate my thoughts on the subject into a coherent position. It has not been easy. My initial reaction was both simple and simplistic: Want privacy? Don't put shit on the Internet you wouldn't be comfortable with the entire world knowing or seeing. And as a theoretical matter, that's probably exactly right: with most positions in people's respective relationship portfolio occupied by commodity and deadweight relationships, there is no telling when betrayal might next strike. Indeed, under generally accepted principles of the venerable Realm, namely that all personal interactions are better treated as corporate transactions, we might expect that a betrayal is likely as soon as the counterparty gets a better deal (somehow defined) elsewhere. So, when reputational costs and the like associated with betraying a friendship exceed the benefits derived therefrom, we should expect—and in fact, for the sake of all that is efficient holy, demand—that at least the commodities and deadweight relationships and maybe even the value-added ones sell us out. Efficient breach! Social utility! Fuck the poor! (Wait, what?)

But the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that both as a normative and practical matter, this sort of approach to living is neither desirable nor attainable. And it is precisely that notion that I will occupy myself with in this post.