In 1998 I first heard about mp3’s and how awesome it was to be able to “share” music. Mp3’s weren’t popular enough at the time to remotely affect the life/income of any artist. So, sharing it was… justifiable. I added the further caveat that I wouldn’t share anything I could easily buy, which meant I listened to a lot of J-pop.
And then everyone else discovered it. And then Apple opened iTunes. And then the music industry collapsed. And now musicians don’t make money off of their pre-recorded music anymore.
The digitization of music changed the world.
But, before we digitized music, we digitized information, accounting tables, scientific papers, trajectories of ballistics. Now, I do my taxes online, in hours. Slowly, science is upgrading to the future, with strange hold-outs like “reputable” journals, which still must be hacked to be shared.
And ballistic trajectories? Those are called video games and each game tracks hundreds of trajectories at a time, while rendering realistic images of them in a 3D environment, including believable 5.1 surround sound audio.
How far will the information revolution go? How far will will we allow it to go? What about when it isn’t affecting the artists we claim to enjoy, but who’s lives we’ve made slightly more difficult. What about when it’s our stuff?
I’d reference the NSA and Edward Snowden here, but that’s a little too big for this post, and it will be dealt with later. Let’s keep it local for now.
Enter Cyrus Farivar who writes for Ars Technica and his article Spy Tech Goes Cheap. Read the first hauntingly playful paragraph to learn about the possibilities.
We are now in an age where information is abundant, and we are gluttons in our consumption of it. We want more information, on ourselves, on the government, on our friends, and on our enemies.
But, intrusion into what we used to call our “private lives” can help us or hurt us. The question isn’t if we can put privacy back into it’s bottle. That time is gone and it’s probably naive to think we’re getting it back, no matter how much we want it.
The question is, who is in charge of the information. The U.S. Government and the mega corporations of Silicon Valley aren’t the only ones. All information on everyone, like the propagation of digital music, is spreading.