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It is about formal identity and things like contact information, financial data, social media data.

Different than intimacy.

Framing the private vs public problem?

There are deep debates about online (or offline) privacy and anonymity. How do we frame the private vs public conundrum?

First, let's acknowledge that privacy and anonymity are not universally good or bad. There are processes that require disclosure, and processes that require privacy. In life, we need to balance these two positions in context.

Second, we need to understand people's predispositions and assumptions. Where do people that engage in these debates come from, what are their goals and also their fears, which condition how people view this issue?

In recent years, the Internet has turned into a tool for mass surveillance, for the state (to control public opinion, manufacture consent) and also for corporations (to sell you stuff, make you loyal). People are reacting defensively to this situation, pushing back on giving their data away to third parties. This is understandable, but we need to be on the lookout for a victim's standpoint, which may overshadow the benefits of acting publicly.
Related to the general sentiment of distrust created by State Surveillance and Corporate Surveillance, people's attitudes towards privacy are also heavenly influenced by the predominant competitive climate. We live in an overly competitive society, "being competitive" is seen as a vertu. Newcomers from the corporate world who first set foot into the world of p2p, who have evolved within a competitive environment and have not yet gotten accustomed with the collaborative culture, who have not yet understood the economic reason behind sharing and being open, tend to respond defensively to early and openly sharing. Their reflex to hid as much as possible, to keep their cards closed hinders their ability to benefit from collaboration, but they may not fully grasp that.

Third, we need to take into consideration the ecosystem in which people are evolving. Are there predatory actors that can harm people if they can access personal information? Are we, as an organization or as a society well structured to deal with these predatory actors in order to minimize their effect? Is there more to gain or to loose if we disclose more information about ourselves? An open collaborative environment, if well structured (ex. as an OVN), should provide more opportunities to people who collaborate openly, should discourage praying on individual vulnerabilities that may be exposed by operating transparently, or even punish predatory activity, and game-out competitive dynamics. An OVN must present itself as a safe environment to operate transparently. If the OVN is prefigurative of a future p2p society, the same pattern should emerge at global scale.

Holoptism vs Panoptism

Remixed from the p2p Foundation wiki

"holopticism" from the Greek "holos" (whole)

Panoptism is how knowledge is distributed in hierarchical organizations/society. Only the top of the pyramid has a full view of what is going on in the organization/society.

Peer groups are characterized by holoptism, i.e. the ability for any member to have horizontal knowledge of what the others are doing, but also the vertical knowledge related to the aims of the project.

Holoptism is the implied capacity and design of P2P processes that allows participants free access to all the information about the other participants; not in terms of privacy, but in terms of their existence and contributions (i.e. horizontal information) and access to the aims, metrics and documentation of the project as a whole (i.e. the vertical dimension). This can be contrasted to the panoptism which is characteristic of hierarchical projects: processes are designed to reserve 'total' knowledge for an elite, while participants only have access on a 'need to know' basis. However, with P2P projects, communication is not top-down and based on strictly defined reporting rules, but feedback is systemic, integrated in the protocol of the collaborative/cooperative system.

Therefore panoptism creates an informational asymmetry between groups of people, with a elite group having access to more information on the rest of the people, reinforcing their position of power or influence. Holoptism, on the other side, creates a plane level field for everyone, as no one can access more information than the rest. Thus the differentiator becomes ones ability to make sound decisions. This is coherent with the equipotentiality principle in p2p, i.e. considering that every peer has the same potential, which doesn't mean that every peer can fully develop and instantiate/realize that potential.

Holoptism is a necessary condition for stigmergy, which is the primary mode of coordination in p2p. As a corollary of this statement, self-organisation is also enabled by holoptism.

Another link between holoptism and the OVN is through the fundamental principles of transparency, defined as free access to information about all actions or processes within the OVN. This is further reinforced by the principle of openness, which means free access to participate in any process. In other words, p2p economics prescribes not only free access to information, but also free access to action, i.e. to do something with that information. The economic rationale is described on the economic model page, look for Ronals Coase and Yochay Benkler.


or Anopticism

Remixed from the p2p Foundation wiki

From the Greek "a" (without) and "optik?" (vision)

Olivier Auber:

Of course, the anopticon is the opposite of the panopticon. In a certain manner, the concept of anopticism also differs from the concept of holopticism, which "consists of a physical or virtual space whose architecture is intentionally designed to give its players the ability to see and perceive all that occurs there". If we consider the opposition of the Greek roots, we could even believe that there is a radical antagonism between anoptic and holoptic. It's not quite the case: if anopticism and holopticism, "are designed to give to each individual a modeled representation of space [...] in which he operates", the anopticism mourns for the idea that the "totality" of this space is the "objectivity" of its representation, it insists instead on the arbitrary and subjectivity of the points of view that govern the models and on the rules that determine them. For the anopticism, human relationships are not reducible to the establishment of a cybernetic feedback loop between the group and the individual: the essential is forever invisible to us. The mourning of objectivity is made bearable by the fact that everyone is potentially the author of the points of view and the actor of the implemented rules and codes. In this way, the anopticism intends to legitimate a "digital perspective" which may be applied within social systems." (p2p-foundation mailing list, Feb 2013)

more :

Olivier insists that there is also always an invisible architecture, that we cannot see, but nevertheless influences and determines our behavioural choices. This is why, especially in ‘untrue’ or ‘incomplete’ network systems, there is always anoptism, invisibility, and that it is an urgent technical and political task to achieve transparency in these social protocols as well." Source from the P2P Blog

Anoptism is deliberately created (as a feature) in anonymous organizations like the Anonymous, 4chan, forums on the Dark Web, etc. Anoptism is preferred over panoptism or holoptism in situations where privacy, autonomy, and individual freedom are prioritized. Anoptism emphasizes the importance of limiting surveillance and maintaining personal boundaries, allowing individuals to control their visibility and exposure to others.

Zero-knowledge proof

Remixed from Wikipedia

In cryptography, a zero-knowledge proof or zero-knowledge protocol is a method by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that a given statement is true, while avoiding conveying to the verifier any information beyond the mere fact of the statement's truth. In light of the fact that one should be able to generate a proof of some statement only when in possession of certain secret information connected to the statement, the verifier, even after having become convinced of the statement's truth, should nonetheless remain unable to prove the statement to third parties.
Research in zero-knowledge proofs has been motivated by authentication systems where one party wants to prove its identity to a second party via some secret information (such as a password) but doesn't want the second party to learn anything about this secret.
One of the uses of zero-knowledge proofs within cryptographic protocols is to enforce honest behavior while maintaining privacy. Roughly, the idea is to force a user to prove, using a zero-knowledge proof, that its behavior is correct according to the protocol. Because of soundness, we know that the user must really act honestly in order to be able to provide a valid proof. Because of zero knowledge, we know that the user does not compromise the privacy of its secrets in the process of providing the proof.

In other words, there is a 4th possibility to create an economic system of responsible agents where privacy is preserved. This can be possibly extended to economic processes, where predictability and trust can be established without seeing the whole picture. This is an intermediary position between holoptism and anoptism, where one can predict the outcome of actions in a process, and plan participation with respect to one's goals, without the need to access rich information about the other participants or the process as a whole.

This is preferable in situations where anoptism is preferred (see above), but it allows a more complex dynamic, ability to self-organize by supporting stigmergy. It would be interesting to compare holoptism with this situations, cons and pros...