(2009-12-31) Happy new ... decade!

In 1999, we had a golden opportunity to tell jokes like "see you next millennium" or "my promises for the next millennium will be...". The geeks pointed out that the next millennium actually would start on the 1st of January 2001, since there's no year 0.

For me, the new millennium truly started on the 11th of September 2001 as the World Trade Center towers fell. It was unthinkable, but it happened. The world has not been the same since.

Security consciousness became security paranoia, and we've slowly become accustomed to cameras in every corner, warrant less wiretapping and the overheated debate about terrorism. Bruce Schneier, IT-security guru, pointed out that those that died in the WTC attack were collateral damage. It might seem cynical, but I think he's right on spot. The rest of us in the "western world" was the true target.

Even though I live in Sweden, I can tell you the shock wave was felt here as well. Still, after all has been said and done, terrorism is not a very big threat. You're much more likely to be killed in a car accident or even drown in your bath tub, than being the killed by terrorists. But fear does not know reason. I hope that we acknowledge this and refuse to let fear tear us apart.

I rather attribute what's happening in EU today to incompetence than politicians being evil opportunists. But the result will be the same, too much knowledge about individuals will be gathered and what can be done with it will change as well. It's easier to store much more information than you have the processing power to analyze.

But processing power increases every year and new ways to sift through enormous amount of data are invented as we speak. The input will not have to change to allow the output to become more and more refined. Be careful what you say, post and store... It might come back to hunt you forever.

I hope for 2010s to be a decade where reason overcomes fear. It still has to happen, so why not now? Happy new decade, folks!

//Erik Zalitis

Tags: History, privacy
Posted: 2009-12-31 by Erik Zalitis
Changed: 2010-06-16 by Erik Zalitis

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