It is too easy to rant about surveillance on the web (except when one is subject of a crime). I was fortunate that I met a number of FBI and police personnel who were getting into crime investigations on the web at the early Computers, Freedom and Privacy conferences and learned to see the problem from their perspective. Now there is a book on the subject. Here is an excerpt from the NYT review:
“Life is a messy business on the Internet,” Anderson writes, “and we’re never going to engineer the mess out of it.” He’s right. He’s also right when he concludes that “the cost of total order is totalitarianism; the real challenge is making prudential judgments about how we weigh risks and rewards, costs and benefits, order and chaos.” In other words, let the watchmen watch. But watch the watchmen, too.