Monday, December 20, 2004

He Likes Us...He Really Likes Us

The Fly Under the Bridge Academy's Self-Esteem Committee reports a large uptick on the SE-Meter, upon discovering that the Academy is now officially an adviser to a former adviser to the POTUS. As well as being delighted to read in more detail the Dartmouth economist's ideas on congestion, security, and privacy in the age of terror:

After 9/11, we would have to find ways to go about our business with less congestion and less anonymity. Not zero--but definitely less. To become less congested, we would need to spread out our people and assets more evenly in the country and add some redundancies in our networks. Managing this process would be a job primarily for planners and engineers. I don't follow the relevant sectors well enough to know whether there have been changes in residential and commercial planning since 9/11, nor do we yet have good information on whether there has been a change in migration from more to less densely settled parts of the country.

To become less anonymous, we would need to increase our collection of real-time data and develop stringent privacy standards for how it is handled. Managing this process would be a job primarily for those who manage the access points to networks--whether for electronics, communications, transportation, or finance. And, appropriately, many of the most contentious issues would be adjudicated in courts. The Patriot Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and the recently passed Intelligence Reform are all attempts, at least in part, to redefine the concept of anonymity.

Some of what we are discovering in this ongoing process is that people differ in how price sensitive they are to changes in the relative prices of congestion and anonymity.

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