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Dan Gillmor on Ubiquitous Cameras

Dan Gillmor, in today's San Jose Mercury News, has an interesting essay on the growing availability of micro-camera enabled devices such as cameraphones. (We've covered this topic ourselves in our discussions of the "participatory panopticon.") Gillmor lays the issues out nicely, and talks about both the reduction in privacy and the civil liberty implications. He also addresses how the changing world of camera-enabled technology affects how businesses operate, and suggests that one effect could be more of a move towards what we at WC call "transcommercialism":

Businesses have trade secrets. They have private internal conversations. Digital-imaging technology inevitably lifts the corporate veil, too.

Where we need to force more transparency on government and do more to protect personal privacy, businesses should look at the technological trends and realize that the time has come for more voluntary transparency. Some things have to be kept secret, at least for a while, but I believe companies will find advantages in hanging out more, not less, of the corporate laundry.

The marketplace now includes a variety of constituents who need to know more about what a company is doing: employees, customers, suppliers, communities. If a company is doing its best for those constituencies, maybe that's a competitive advantage worth having.

Definitely a must-read for today.


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