If Google's only taking a COPY of your personality, why worry?

Re: For once, an argument about theft of intangibles that I can agree with.

Having thought about it, my basic premise is that privacy is fundamental to being human. I doubt that there has ever been a human society in which there has been no respect at all for some level of private action/thought. The need for privacy is just about hardwired in us, and so it is fundamental. This puts it in a different category from protection of ideas/skills and their expression (so called "intellectual property").

Now, I am not necessarily saying that there should not be some means by which the expression of an idea should not have some sort of protection, but the protection should be very light, and it should be extremely limited. Once an idea is expressed, it cannot help but inform and contribute to new ideas, some of which my be expressed. That is to the benefit of society that this happens. There is actually no fundamental reason that the person who expressed the idea gets anything other than a pat on the back (if it is anything worthwhile): anything beyond that is a bonus that society can give or withhold as it chooses. It seems that society might while have got seriously fed up with (admittedly relatively few) idea-expressors making more money than most people can ever dream of (musicians, actors and authors really shouldn't become multi-millionaires), and the ridiculous extensions to copyright terms (just because I work now, my kids should be able to live on continuing wages from my employer decades hence - I don't think so).

Privacy and copyright are therefore philosophically and practically completely separate. The first needs greater protection in the current situation, and the latter need much less.


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