Salon: Twilight of the crypto-geeks

“These two events — the programmers workshop and the passing of
a federal data-privacy law — are like the ends of a rope in a
heatedly fought game of tug-of-war, a game that has been battled at
CPF over the course of the conference’s 10-year existence.”

“In the past, the techno-believers ruled CFP. The programmers’
vision of creation — the lone geniuses — prevailed over the
data-privacy “bureaucrats” — so hard to listen to, after all, with
their thick foreign accents and their tedious, confusing laws.”

“But something different happened this year. The flag in the
middle of the tug-of-war rope moved. Two well-known technologists,
known for their belief in working code and skepticism about the
workings of law, stepped across the divide, moving, maybe despite
themselves, toward a recognition of social and political realities.
Two others, whose views have been more balanced, questioned
libertarianism — the limitations of a technocentric approach to
the complicated questions of privacy and freedom. It was as if
some tipping point had been reached, in which a critical mass of
people involved in technology had suddenly looked up and found
themselves to be older, grown-up, and in need of social supports —
grown-up like the Net itself.”

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