Saturday, December 06, 2008

The temptations of instant truth

"When publication was a clodhopping business and fact-gathering laborious, personal privacy was protected by a sort of de facto armour. We never had to confront an imagined world where anyone could find out anything about anyone and tell everyone within seconds.

"But today, not only have we the means to retrieve and transmit at breakneck speed the fruits of intrusions into privacy, but we're getting frighteningly clever at the intrusion too. Long-lens photography, easily trackable communications, instant mobile phone photography, the facility to record almost anything, anywhere, ease of storage of vast files of information… all this forces me to wonder whether in the past, when practical constraints clipped the wings of free speech, we could tell ourselves (in what we thought an argument of principle) that we recognised no limits to how far it should fly. We have not that luxury now." —Matthew Parris

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