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The Private World of Sharing and Cooperation

We build lines in the sand, not walls, so we can see, hear and step across

Abstract Connectivity builds bridges between individuals’ private space and threatens notions of identity and privacy. While the notion of privacy as anonymity is relatively new from a historical point of view, the constitutional guarantees pertain to lines of control over what we share, when we share and with whom we share. Anonymity implies the absence of any form of identity so the requirement is not one of erasing identity but rather preserving that identity in a secure and undisturbed form. People don’t want to vanish into obscurity, they want to be known as obscure, private individuals. There is, however, the reality that DCT has swamped our ability to create privacy shields and that transparency may be the new normal.

Keywords Freedom speech • Choice of medium and message • Anonymity versus privacy • National security

Major technology policy issues fall under the First Amendment, freedom of speech, and the Fourth Amendment, the right to privacy. The First Amendment states:

© The Author(s) 2017 119

S. Bhatt, How Digital Communication Technology Shapes Markets,

Palgrave Advances in the Economics of Innovation and Technology,

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-47250-8_7

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Fourth Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In a heterogeneous society, are there any bounds of ethics, morality and law to free speech so that inflammatory words are circumscribed? What constitutes “search and seizure” and under what “probable cause”? In this chapter, I first consider how DCT is stretching, and perhaps changing, the substance behind these amendments. Then, the central questions of privacy, anonymity and identity are examined. Are there institutions, both business and state, capable of monitoring these new values to ensure the integrity of the law?

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