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The inevitability of transparency

As long as the internet (web) continues to grow in prominence, a corresponding increase in transparency will occur. In the future, we will share more information, have access to more information, and companies will begin to build revenue models around our behaviour. Currently, advertising is a fairly dumb/blind activity. What is the impact of a billboard? An ad in the paper? A radio commercial? Over time it contributes to recognition, but how do you measure the impact of that one particular ad spot, at Thursday at 5:56 pm? If Google and place-based social media have their way, advertising will be far more intelligent in the near future than it is today:

Ultimately, search is not just the web but literally all of your information – your email, the things you care about, with your permission – this is personal search, for you and only for you.
We can suggest what you should do next, what you care about. Imagine: We know where you are, we know what you like.
A near-term future in which you don’t forget anything, because the computer remembers. You’re never lost.

I don’t consider this a far off vision. Yes, it is unnerving. But, I make more of my information explicit (transparent) in some digital form than I did last year…and the year before that. What is going to change in the next year that will reduce the information I share? Nothing. In spite of valid concerns about the ethics of open data or concerns of privacy, transparency of information is inevitable. At least, as long as we have the internet…after all, it works best when it’s open. Concerns arise when others decide to jump in and leverage openness for financial gain without being an equal partner in openness. Is it much of a surprise that companies that most benefit from openness (Google/Facebook) are among the more secretive organizations?