Privacy vs. Power - Guess who wins?

As usual, Schneier hits the nail on the head, in a clear way, on a critically important topic:
I am regularly confronted with the mutual disclosure argument...: In a world of ubiquitous surveillance, you'll know all about me, but I will also know all about you. The government will be watching us, but we'll also be watching the government...

This ... could easily be mistaken for a way out of the problem of technology's continuing erosion of privacy. Except it doesn't work, because it ignores the crucial dissimilarity of power.

...this mechanism fails utterly if you and I have different power levels to begin with.

An example will make this clearer. You're stopped by a police officer, who demands to see identification. Divulging your identity will give the officer enormous power over you: He or she can search police databases using the information on your ID; he or she can create a police record attached to your name; he or she can put you on this or that secret terrorist watch list. Asking to see the officer's ID in return gives you no comparable power over him or her...

Another example: When your doctor says "take off your clothes," it makes no sense for you to say, "You first, doc." The two of you are not engaging in an interaction of equals...

Please read the whole thing - and at the bottom, click through to Brin's rebuttal, in which he does not address Schneier's central idea (power) and does write rather snarkily, degrading his own position.

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