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We need more Wikileaks websites - to force secrets out into the open, robbing govts of unnecessary confidentiality and officials and their assumed authority to hide their actions. Outside of war, some crime, and protecting the individual, there is no reason for public officials to hide what they know and do from their publics.
Ancient and authoritarian regimes told people what they must think and do; modern societies enable citizens to do what they want, alone and together.
In Germany, they get very excised at Google and Street View and what they see as intrusions into privacy. Yet they have no problem with communal spas where everyone is naked. Whereas in US you'd get arrested for obscene exposure.
In Finland, everyone's tax returns are online for anybody to inspect.
Customers, even retailers, get products after manufacturer has designed and made them. Little collaboration, yet that would demo demand and lower maker's risks.
The internet will facilitate the coming together of groups - clubs, companies and cults - as well as criminal syndicates and terrorist organisations.
Douglas Adams pointed out how all generations respond to new things:
1. Everything that was already in the world when you were born is just normal.
2. Everything invented between then and when you turn 30 is incredibly exciting and creative.
3. Anything invented after you turn 30 is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it until it's been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.
At least half of internet users (admit to) search for old friends or lovers.
Two-thirds (admit to) google themselves.
Half agree that it easier to get to know someone because you can research them online.
2010 someone publicized the fact that Lori Douglas, a senior judge in Manitoba, had pics of herself in acts of bondage and oral sex on a website for interracial couples, all before she rose to the bench. Critics called for her resignation "because she should have known better". But others asked "in 2010 are we really offended by interracial bondage sex? Should we be? The world is changing. Social mores are changing." (Could we imagine having such a debate 20 years ago?)
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