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January 30, 2004


Doug Kenline

Thank you very much Pierre. The new blog looks great.


I enjoy readong your blog. I try to learn something from it! never quit!

fiona berry

I have noticed the change in attitude to civil liberties in the UK as well. Our government is proposing special arrangements for suspected terrorists which will include non-jury hearings and a lowering of the requirement to prove beyond reasonable doubt....

It is in the small changes, though, that the frog-boiling analogy is most telling. Children in school were within the last couple of years all issued with a unique pupil identifier, which now follows them from class to class and school to school. Recently, a "Connexions" card was introduced for 13-19 year olds, a smart card which retains far more information than any adult would agree to have kept by government, along with the requirement to sign permission for any information to be "shared" between government and local departments.

Some home educating families in the UK have been threatened that their children's names will be put on the missing and "at risk" children's list, if they do not disclose their new address when moving house.

What frightens me more than anything else, is the fact that people aren't worried about the insidious way that changes have arisen, and don't notice them. Where civil liberties have disappeared, they either haven't been noticed, or involve sections of society who are not "us" - terrorists and criminals.

I had high hopes for a new sort of freedom,where boundaries do not matter, when I joined a beta test for an online game (Uru). Initially, I joined because I have always liked Cyan games like Myst and Riven, it is a non-violent game which actually encourages co-operation and civility between players, and it seemed an interesting thing to do.

But soon the power of an online community which recognises no barriers and can build connections between people from all walks of life really began to hit me. I met people from all over the world, and got to talk in detail to a lot of people I would never have met, except for the game. It seemed to me that in creating something beautiful and intriguing, as the game most definitely is, they had at the same time achieved something that could be ultimately very important, a sense of community that would also allow people to protect their real freedoms and enlarge their world view.

Alas! The beancounters have decreed that Uru is to die, because not enough people had signed up for the trial version before the online game was launched. Too few of them knew about it, or what wonderful things can be achieved when you can connect with people from all walks of life, all over the world.

Nevertheless, I am convinced that the future of all our freedoms must lie in this direction: the inability of our leaders to do anything in secret any more. And the ability to share information - as well as a good time - between virtual friends will become a reality.

If anyone has any ideas for saving Uru and its potential, please do feel free to email me, as I am running a "save Uru" campaign, and we need all the help (or publicity) we can get. I think it is worth fighting for, and could be a model for the future.

Thanks! I shall return here....

Pierre Omidyar

Thanks Fiona, great addition to the thread. Thanks for the UK perspective. Also, I think there is definite value in massively multiplayer online gaming, especially those environments that aren't geared uniquely towards violence.

The trend seems to be in favor of increasing transparency in public affairs, certainly in the corporate world in the US. But unfortunately, the Bush administration hasn't taken a clue from recent corporate scandals, and appears rather to have decided that the less the public knows, the better.

edward lee


How are you? This is your long lost 'idea man' from Palo Alto Table Tennis Club.

First, I like to thank you sincerely for your listening, trust and friendship back then.

Now start touching base with you & your forum as we always did sitting side by side on the chairs in the Pavilion or Mitchell Center to make the world better.


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