The fear isn't an Orwellian government deliberately creating the ultimate totalitarian state, although with the U.S.'s programs of phone-record surveillance, illegal wiretapping, massive data mining, a national ID card no one wants and Patriot Act abuses, one can make that case. It's that we're doing it ourselves, as a natural byproduct of the information society.We're building the computer infrastructure that makes it easy for governments, corporations, criminal organizations and even teenage hackers to record everything we do, and—yes—even change our votes. And we will continue to do so unless we pass laws regulating the creation, use, protection, resale and disposal of personal data. It's precisely the attitude that trivializes the problem that creates it.
We're not ready for it yet, but in ten years privacy will be the killer ap, and once again DARPA will fund the early research for the solution. Who has to electronically travel around the Internet anonymously? Intelligence agencies and militaries. They are going to come up with the prototype and it will move into the commercial world in much the same way the Internet did. We just aren't ready yet.