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January 28, 2007


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What are the implications for privacy, though? Maintaining social cohesion through "norm-policing" does have its advantages certainly, but how can we have -any- privacy if our threshold anonymity is effectively done away with?


This raises some truly fascinating possibilities. Human societies have always moderated individual behavior by operating in small groups in which one person's transgressions would quickly become known to everybody. Only in the last few hundred years have people begun interacting with each other anonymously. Is the anonymity of the modern world unhealthy for societies? Would society as a whole be happier if people truly were responsible for their actions in not just the legal sense but the social sense as well?

I think so. I have a different take on the notion of privacy: that it is the right to be left alone, not the right to keep one's social behavior a secret. Anything I do in public is public knowledge; if it could have been witnessed by a policeman, then I have no basis for regarding it as private information. And if computer technology makes it easier for this information to be passed around, so much the better.

There is of course the problem of malicious untruths being spread around. Lord knows, we all have faced problems in which a false statement about us was bandied about as truth. But the solution to falsehood is not to constrain the truth -- it is to open up all the truth. If somebody wants to spread false information about me, that act is itself a public act, for which the transgressor should be held accountable. In other words, if I want to report a truck driver as driving aggressively, I should have to sign my name to that report. Anonymous reporting is just as dangerous to society as anonymous driving.

I live in a small town; I have a distinctive car that is easily recognized. And guess what -- I drive more courteously there than when I am an anonymous stranger in a distant place. It's human nature.

So, you ask, why am I posting under a pseudonym? Hmm... I need to think about that.


I love the idea, though Human beings are a bit to spiteful and poor judges of driving to be asked to judge others. Not many can differentiated between good driving and bad driving. Look at all the idiots who have no idea how to use the left lane on a highway. Like 75% of the population.

How about just a driving test with some teeth? I would like to see about 25% of the drivers out there off the road, and a driving test with some difficulty might do the trick.


If you deny them a license, they'll just drive unlicensed. Driving is still considered a right, and is certainly a necessity for employment. Rather than try to get them off the road, let them stay, but pay higher insurance rates so that they feel the consequences of their bad behavior in terms that they can readily respond to.

I realized a flaw in my earlier post: while it is important that people be accountable for negative reports by denying them anonymity, it is equally important that they be shielded from retribution. I think, therefore, that their identities should be kept from the victim of their complaints, but accessible to the users of the information.

Joan A. Conway



This sounds good in theory, and would probably work for cases of clearly identifiable bad driving, but it would also be subject to the philosophy of personal exceptionalism that pervades driving:

"I'm a great driver and everyone else stinks." Or, this: "I have logical reasons for my sometimes erratic driving, but if another driver does something I don't like then it must be because they are a bad driver, or a jerk, or both."

Similar to how many people react in blogs' comment sections - questioning others' motives, calling them stupid, and other things you would never do if you actually knew the person.


Intriguing idea and I don't see any privacy concerns since the information offered would, I assume, be "facts" such as # of tickets or DUIs etc etc


I think you are assuming incorrectly, Man. I think the idea is no courts no facts, just internet-like ratings by other drivers rendered immediately.

The issue is in teh collective action. Often the collective judgment isn't the right one. Again, I reference the left lane which 75% of human beings have no idea how to use. I reference the fact that the vast majority fail to use their turn signal.

The fact is I would probably be written up for passing on the right or flashing my brights at a guy who is going 55 in the left lane.

Joan A. Conway

January 30, 2007, Redeye reports that Erick Estrada, LaToya Jackson and Jack Osbourne had to put down their guns and move away from the camera because they were crushed by "American Idol" in its ratings.

Joan A. Conway

I am routinely discriminated against in public service and accommodations, since I look administrative or educated or perhaps like a bright light bulb?

I know for a fact I get picked on unjustly.

I know I have reason to be effectively paranoid about the population, who either put politics first, or see me as arrogant, or just don't like me.

I am suffering from being unpopular in my old age, but when I was a younger person I was overwhelmingly popular, because I was very attractive and had a high TV IQ, or so the populace thought I did!

Don't believe I would get the benefit of the doubt with the population that was willing to speak up.



Nice talk. I have two somewhat-related questions.

1. Has the number of city and private survelliance cameras and web cams led to a descrease in crime - or increase in better public behavior?

2. Have you considered the effect that "Baby on Board" signs have on other drivers? Do these drivers, noticing the Baby on Board sign on the car in front of them (or next to them), drive more carefully or tailgate less?



I definitely think that all drivers, not just limited in one area, be given a "How's my driving?" program. I do believe in Strahilevitz's purpose of creating a win-win situation out of it. Drivers will be more careful, while passengers will be more vigilant. It goes both ways.

In the meantime, I hope you'll find time to check out my article in myspace phishing (http://www.profilepitstop.com/articles/myspace/identity-theft-and-myspace-phishing.php)
and let me know what you think. Thanks.

Joan A. Conway

Sounds a lot like East Germany to me! I respect authority and their control on our lives for the most part. To surrender their authority to citizens, most of whom do not vote, fail to read on a regular basis, and who would cheat on their tax returns whenever possible does not bode well for "How's My Driving?" program. I still am strongly against this idea.

truck rental

That is a GREAT idea, but what is frightening about it is that people can be taken "off the road" by ANYONE basically, even if the evaluation is wrong! How can you make sure that the feedback is real?

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