August 10, 2006
I attended wikimania this past weekend, and was encouraged by the philosophers present take a critical stance towards the euphoria surrounding the 21st century agendas – Will Science, Technology, and Rationality necessarily make the world a better place? Didn’t we make the same mistake last century?
This led me to a scary thought regarding the One Laptop Per Child project, which I am generally very excited and optimistic about. The team seems to be asking all the right questions and taking all the right ideological positions with regards to the importance of viewing this project as an educational one (not a tech one), structuring the venture as a non-profit, and deeply understanding the value of free software and free culture.
But there is another freedom at stake here – one I have explored in the past (permanent records) – the freedom to remain anonymous, which is the keystone supporting personal privacy, which I am beginning to believe ought to be a basic human right.
I started thinking about how these laptops could easily become the instruments for an international id program, and for all the reasons that people are concerned about this, OLPC should seriously consider shipping with tools that support anonymous network activity. Tools like TOR, which regrettably the EFF has just had to cut funding for…
If you think this is important, perhaps you might want to chime in, and let laptop people know.