I am privileged to work with many talented people, people who like thinking about what they are doing and why. As we began our circuitous route on to an internal blogosphere, two questions kept coming up.
One, should we start with an open approach to information and then close those bits and pieces that need closingâ€¦.or should it be the other way around?
Two, should we enforce declaration of identity or should we allow anonymity?
I think that both these questions are critical in the context of a number of debates about information, particularly those that touch on digital rights, identity, security, privacy, confidentiality and the like.
Iâ€™d love to know what you think about these two questions, and am looking forward to comments that I can learn from.
In the meantimeâ€¦. my gut feel is thatÂ DRM implementations that start with a â€œclosedâ€ approach to information are doomed to failure. I have always believed that knowledge management and information security are kindred spirits. You impute value to an information asset. You declare who can see it. You declare who canâ€™t. You must start with a view that information is an asset that increases in value with reproduction and enrichment and evolution and adaptation. Start with free for all. Only restrict access when there is good and clear reason. And there will be good and clear reasons: confidentiality, privacy, regulation, commercial value, whatever. But it is easier and simpler to close bits when really necessary, in comparison with trying to open bits that default to closed.
Iâ€™d be interested in knowing other views on this, whether mad or wise.
I approach the second question almost as if it is the first question. Open is better than closed. There may be reasons for stimulating or encouraging anonymous behaviour, but I donâ€™t find them easy to understand. [I am reminded of a 20s-30s book by Julius Henry Marx entitled â€œBedsâ€. Chapter One wasÂ headed Essay on the Advantages of Sleeping Alone. The page was blank. And in a footnote the Editor stated â€œThe Author refrained from making any contribution to this chapterâ€. Or words to that effectâ€¦forgive me, itâ€™s thirty years since I last read that book.
Looking forward to the wisdom and madness.